The first few innings of the Cubs-Nationals NLDS Game 2 showdown served as another reminder of just how freakin' weird the game of baseball is.
In the first inning, Jon Lester got two quick outs before Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon drove a line shot down the right field line, just over the fence.
The crazy thing about it: Rendon hit the ball 96.4 mph, a solid line drive, but based on the launch angle, similarly-struck balls are hits only 33 percent of the time, according to Statcast. That's all HITS, not just homers.
Willson Contreras promptly answered to lead off the top of the next inning, crushing Gio Gonzalez's pitch into the left-field bleachers. Contreras' drive was clocked at 105.5 mph off the bat, but he hit it so high, similar balls are only hits 27 percent of the time.
Yet in the first inning, Albert Almora Jr. led the game off with a lineout to Bryce Harper in right field, a ball that has a hit probability of 66 percent.
So you got two balls that are outs more than 2/3 of the time leaving the yard. And a ball that is a HIT 2/3 of the time winds up an out.
Another interesting note: Rendon's homer was the 10th first-inning longball of the MLB playoffs already this October, in only the ninth game. Last fall, there were 35 postseason games played and only 7 first-inning homers:
The October 1st-inning HR epidemic continues.— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) October 7, 2017
1st-inning postseason HR this year: 10 already - in just 9 games.
Last year: 7 - in 35 games!
The Cubs only had two of those first-inning homers, but they both came in the final two games of the fall: Kris Bryant homered in Game 6 of the World Series and everybody remembers that Dexter Fowler shot to lead off that epic Game 7.
NBC Sports Chicago's Chris Kamka is a legendary chronicler of the oddities of baseball and found another head-scratching stat following the Cubs' 3-0 victory in Game 1 Friday night.
The last three times a pitcher had at least 10 strikeouts and 3 or fewer hits in a postseason game all faced the Cubs...and the Cubs went 3-0 in those games: