Clayton Kershaw had never given up a grand slam before Monday. The Phillies had allowed only three inside-the-park home runs before Monday.
The boxscore of Monday's Dodgers-Phillies game will tell you that Philadelphia won, 4-3, and that Chris Taylor, Justin Turner, Aaron Altherr and Curtis Granderson all hit home runs. But it won't come close to explaining the oddities behind what Taylor and Altherr accomplished in their trips around the bases.
Starting with Taylor, he clubbed the second pitch of the game to deep left-centerfield. The ball ricocheted off a short metal fence above the outfield wall and landed far, far away from the nearest Phillie. The speedy Taylor circled the bases for a leadoff inside-the-park homer.
There are a couple remarkable angles to this:
Update: It is hard to do. The last team to allow four inside-the-park HRs in one *season* was 1997 Pirates. Phillies last did it in 1961.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) September 18, 2017
Inside-the-park home runs aren't always self-inflicted by the defensive team, but perhaps no stat better encapsulates the Phillies' season than four inside-the-park homers allowed in 30 days. Seems almost impossible. As for the Dave Roberts bit?
The second notable home run of the night cost the Dodgers' the lead and eventually the game. Clayton Kershaw made his 228th career start on Monday. Previously he had faced 103 batters with the bases loaded. Never before had this happened.
Naturally, there were a few interesting tidbits to extract.
The Dodgers began the night with a leadoff inside-the-park HR, then got a real HR from next batter. Last time that happened was July 1911.— Joe Trezza (@JoeTrezz) September 19, 2017
The takeaways: Kershaw is a generational talent and the Phillies are weird.
Even during an inconsequential September game between two teams whose playoff fates are decided, a future Hall of Famer might slip up in a way he never has. Or a last-place team might do something a last-place team would do. Baseball cannot be scripted.