Breaking down Wil Myers’ cycle

San Diego Padres first baseman Wil Myers hit for the second cycle in franchise history Monday night in a 5-3 win over the Colorado Rockies. After watching all four of Myers’ hits again, there were a few things that stuck out to me. (You can see all four hits in the @MLB tweet.)

Myers’ first hit was a single to right field in the first inning. It was a fantastic piece of hitting, as he went with the outside pitch and drove a hard ground ball through the right side of the infield.

In the top of the third, Myers smoked a line drive down the left field line for a two-run double. The pitch was low and down the middle, but Myers was able to lift it just enough to get another solid hit onto the outfield grass. There was nothing special about his first two hits, and they didn’t strike me as anything that would lead to a special kind of night for Myers. The home run was different.

With an 0-2 count in the sixth inning, Myers lifted a high fly ball to right field. He knew it was well struck, but it was towering high enough that it was either barely leaving the yard or landing in the glove of Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez’s. The ball carried and Myers had his homer. As the @MLB tweet says, that ball shouldn’t have been a hit. I won’t go into the exit velocity and launch angle, because I didn’t do well in physics. But if this game had been played in San Diego, Gonzalez likely would have made a play on that ball. Let’s do some math. Rockies.com says balls travel “9 percent farther” at Coors Field than at sea level. Myers’ homer was measured at 393 feet, which means that it would have traveled about 360 feet at sea level. The part of Petco Park where Myers hit his homer would measure a distance somewhere between 382 and 391 feet, so there’s no chance that ball leaves the yard in San Diego. (Insert obligatory Anchorman reference of your choice.)

Myers registered his triple in the top of the eighth inning, and he wanted it from contact. On another two-strike count, Myers roped a line drive to the left-center field gap, busted out of the batter’s box and didn’t slow down until he reached third. After watching that replay a couple of times, an old voice came to mind. It was my high school baseball coach saying, “Extra-base hits are earned by your first two steps out of the box.” If Myers had busted out of the batter’s box on his second hit of the night the way he did on his fourth, he might have ended up with two triples. But who knows, he might have just trotted into second if he already had a triple in the eighth. I would have.

Feature photo by Brigham Berthold

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