Five Years Ago the Tigers Scored in Every Inning. Why Is That So Rare?

Five years ago today the Tigers scored at least one run in every inning for the only time in franchise history. Why had it never happened before, and why is it so unlikely to happen again anytime soon? I crunched some numbers last year for Detroit Athletic (now Vintage Detroit):

The Detroit Tigers were riding high in 2014 as the calendar turned to August. They held a five-game lead in the AL Central, and baseball was buzzing about their blockbuster acquisition of David Price at the trading deadline, presumably the last piece of their championship puzzle. All eyes were on Price the night of Saturday, August 2, and he wasn’t even playing–it was just his debut in the dugout in a Tigers uniform.

Lost in the shuffle that Saturday night was a notable historical footnote. Facing the Colorado Rockies at Comerica Park, the Tigers accomplished something they never had before in over a century of existence, and may not again for another century. They scored at least one run in each inning in which they batted.

I stumbled across this bit of trivia a couple years ago, and instantly questioned it. How could it be that this had never happened before, in thousands of games over more than a century of Tigers baseball? Scoring a run in an inning isn’t that rare or unusual. Is it that hard to do it eight or nine times in a row?

The short answer, after a little back-of-the-napkin math, is yes.

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