Detroit Tigers: Austin Romine and the Game-Winning At-Bat

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Breaking down an Austin Romine at-bat in excruciating detail.

Everyone loves a walk-off hit. There’s an exciting, almost mythical feel when batters smite the opposition with a single swing, like Perseus delivering the coup de grâce to the vile Gorgon Medusa. And winning is fun, too.

But baseball games are never actually won or lost on a single play. It takes a whole team working in concert to record 27 outs and score at least one run. And last night it seemed the Detroit Tigers needed every one of their 18 hits to eke out a 7-6 win over the Chicago Cubs.

So it is that Austin Romine’s 9-pitch RBI double in the bottom of the 6th didn’t actually win the game for the Tigers.

It only felt like it did.

Yes, we’re kind of in the narrative-building business around here, and yes, Romine’s hit was just the 4th most important knock of the game based on win probability added…

Top 5 Plays Table
Inn Score Batter Pitcher wWPA Play Description
b6 3-3 Jeimer Candelario Ryan Tepera 17% Single to RF (Line Drive to Deep RF)
b6 4-3 Niko Goodrum Ryan Tepera 16% Double to RF (Line Drive to Deep CF-RF)
b6 2-3 Jonathan Schoop Ryan Tepera 15% Single to CF (Ground Ball thru SS-2B)
b6 1-3 Austin Romine Rowan Wick 15% Double to RF (Line Drive to Deep RF Line)

…but the hit itself was just the final act in a nine-part play. So let’s dig a bit deeper into that fateful plate appearance.

Romine’s opponent in the duel was Rowan Wick, who is absolutely NOT a British candlemaker, but rather a 27-year-old Canadian who was originally drafted by the Cardinals, claimed off waivers by the Padres in 2018, and then traded to the Cubs. Wick seems like a standard-issue middle reliever, with a mid-90s fastball, a high-spin breaking ball, and iffy command.

Austin Romine Pitch 1

Wick tried to steal a strike with a first-pitch curveball here. That’s usually a great idea, but this one just fluttered above the zone and it was an easy take for Romine, who is one of the most aggressive hitters on the team.

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