One of the talking points during World Baseball Classic action has been Moises Alou and his winding career. Alou will reportedly retire after the tournament, but for now is the captain of the Dominican Republic team that his father, Felipe, manages. With over 7,900 career plate appearances coming with the Pirates, Expos, Marlins, Astros, Cubs, Giants, and Mets, Alou has quite the storied career. Let’s focus on his top five games (as ranked by WPA) since 2002.
Not often can a pitcher work nine innings while allowing only four hits and end up with a loss and negative win probability added, but that’s just what Livan Hernandez did on this September night and all thanks to Alou. Batting fifth behind Barry Bonds, Alou struck out swinging and grounded out in his first two at-bats. In the seventh inning with the Giants trailing 2-1, Alou would single to center, but then tagged out at second following a Ray Durham line out. Alou would get one more at-bat, this coming in the ninth inning. Omar Vizquel and Barry Bonds would both walk, bringing Alou up with the tying run on second and two men out. On Livan Hernandez’ 123rd pitch of the night, Moises would homer to left, giving the Giants the lead and after a shaky ninth from Armando Benitez, the win. The Giants lineup combined for .385 WPA that night, Alou had .819 himself, Bonds was second with .139, and then only Vizquel finished in the positive with .013.
The final score says it all about this game; 11-10. Alou would finish with five at-bats, four hits, two homeruns, and a .558 WPA. In what amounted to a shootout, the Cubs would trail the Reds entering the top of the 9th with closer Joe Borowski on the mound. Borowski would walk the leadoff hitter and record two consecutive outs before loading the bases with Ryan Freel up. A flyout to right later, the Cubs would have a chance to tie it with sluggers Sammy Sosa and Alou due up. Danny Graves would enter and get ahead of Sosa 1-2 before seeing three of the next four pitches hit foul. Another ball set the count full, and on the ninth pitch of the at-bat Sosa deposited a ball into the right field bleachers, tying the game. Alou would take a ball and then promptly hammer a pitch to left field, giving the Cubs the win in one of the more offensive games in recent memory.
Alou’s day started out ho hum. A first inning flyball to deep center, fourth inning groundout, and sixth inning flyball set the stage for Alou’s fourth plate appearance of the day, in which he walked on six pitches. Alou would get one more chance in the bottom of the 10th and would make the most of it. Jim Brower would enter with the intent of getting Alou out. Brower succeeded in having Alou go out, but unfortunately for the Giants Alou’s act involved the ball also landing in the seats, giving the Cubs yet another win in walk off fashion.
Randy Choate would replace Brandon Webb in the bottom of the 9th in a tied game and sit Omar Vizquel down and hit Todd Linden on six pitches. It would only take Brandon Lyon a third of that to end the game, as Moises Alou hit a homer to left field on Lyon’s second pitch of the game.
This is one of the rare games on this list where Alou’s team failed to win. Naturally, it wasn’t because of Alou. A 4-4 day with two homeruns resulted in only two runs as Fred McGriff and Sammy Sosa combined to reach base in only two of their nine plate appearances.
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