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Free baseball! MLB on pace for record-setting number of extra-inning games in 2013

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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(AP)

If it seems like we’re experiencing an extraordinary number of extra-innings games early in 2013 season, it's because we actually are experiencing an extraordinary number of extra-inning games. In fact, a record-setting pace has been established that should it continue throughout the end of the 2013 season, would blow away the previous mark for extra-inning games in a single season.

According to Jason Lukehart of Ground Ball With Eyes, we entered play on Friday with 110 out of a possible 983 games having entered extra innings. That figures out to a little more than one game out of every ten, which means we're seeing at least one on a nearly daily basis so far. And when extrapolated over the full season of 2,430 games, we're on pace for 272 extra-inning games, which would be 35 more than the current record.

Here's the current top 5 via Lukehart:

2011: 237
1986: 220
1991: 220
2007: 220
2010: 220

Obviously the list is dominated by more recent seasons because of the increase to 162 games in 1962 and the many number of expansion teams that have come along since that same year. Still, it's interesting to note how high the number jumped in 2011 and the pace we're on this season. I'm not sure there's a real solid explanation for that, but it's interesting nonetheless.

Speaking of interesting, another piece of information from Lukehart's piece tells us that we're not only seeing more extra-inning games, we're also seeing more that fall under the marathon category. With three 18-inning or longer games over the past seven days, we're now on pace for ten of those this season. The current record is nine in 1967. But going even further, the number of innings played beyond the ninth is also up with 245 so far. That puts us on a pace for 606 extra frames.

Here's the current top 5:

1980: 531 extra-innings
1976: 519
1982: 518
1992: 515
2011: 504

Lukehart provides a lot more interesting extra-inning information in his blog so I encourage to check it out. The bottom line, though, if you love free baseball — and who doesn't, especially in this social media driven world where everything is turned into an event — then this has been a dream season so far. Whether or not the pace can continue is still to be determined, but early signs all point to some records falling.

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