The Morning After: Game Recaps for August 3rd

Red Sox 4, Indians 3

Moving the Needle: Jacoby Ellsbury walks off with a homer, +.461 WPA. It seemed as though they were tied all game. The Red Sox did have a 3-2 lead for a few innings, but in the seventh the Indians tied it up. They remained tied until the bottom of the ninth. With two outs Ellsbury got a hold of one and drove it out to deep center. Over the wall it went, and again he played the hero for the Sox.


Jason Kipnis: 1 for 2, 1 HR, 2 BB. He’s had a nice little start to his career: 8 for 33 with two doubles, four homers, and three walks.

Also in this issue: Twins 11, Angels 4 | Phillies 8, Rockies 6 | Astros 5, Reds 4 | Yankees 18, White Sox 7 | Brewers 10, Cardinals 5 | Tigers 5, Rangers 4 | Braves 6, Nationals 4 | Royals 6, Orioles 2 | Cubs 1, Pirates 0 | Mariners 7, A’s 4 | Padres 3, Dodgers 0 | Rays 9, Blue Jays 1 | Giants 8, Diamondbacks 1

Twins 11, Angels 4

Moving the Needle: Michael Cuddyer‘s grand slam breaks a 4-4 tie in the fifth, +.275 WPA. The Angels had a lead in this one after they put together four runs in the third. The Twins tied it up the next inning, and then in the fifth they took the lead for good. With one out they got a pair of singles and a walk before Cuddyer popped one over the center field wall. He’d add another homer, this one a solo shot, in the ninth.


Delmon Young: 2 for 4, 2 HR, 1 BB. He helped put some runs on the board early with his pair of homers, which is as many homers as he’d hit in his previous 279 AB.

Anthony Swarzak: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K. Starter Scott Baker lasted only three innings, so this was a serious boost for the Twins.

Phillies 8, Rockies 6

Moving the Needle: Ryan Howard keeps his hot streak going with a homer, +.209 WPA. The Phillies have looked pretty indestructible lately, and Howard is a big reason why. He’s had a ton of big hits, not least of which was his two-run blast in the sixth inning yesterday, which put the Phillies up by three and helped insure the victory. It completed Philly’s sweep of Colorado and extended their dominance over NL opponents. Howard also had a double in the game; he drove in four total.


Todd Helton: 2 for 4, 1 HR. He drove in three, but the rest of his team wasn’t really up to the task.

Chase Utley: 2 for 3, 1 BB. He scored twice, which is what happens these days when you’re hitting in front of Howard.

Astros 5, Reds 4

Moving the Needle: Dontrelle Willis breaks the tie with a solo homer in the seventh, +.241 WPA. It’s not often you see a pitcher hit for himself late in a game, when the manager could conceivably remove him. In fact, Dusty Baker did remove Willis for the seventh, but let him bat in the sixth. It paid off, as his solo homer broke the 2-2 tie. Of course, the actual replacing of him backfired, as the Astros took a lead before making an out, and went on to win the game.


J.D. Martinez: 3 for 4, 1 2B, 1 HR. He drove in four, including a pair in the seventh to take the lead.

Jason Michaels and Jimmy Paredes: 2 for 4, 1 2B each. There was a time, not too long ago, where Michaels would have been a valuable deadline commodity for the Astros.

Yankees 18, White Sox 7

Moving the Needle: Robinson Cano‘s three-run shot gets the scoring barrage started, +.141 WPA. The Yankees started off the game with a little small ball, bunting for a pair of base hits and then benefitting from a bloop single. A run did score before Cano’s homer, on a sac fly, but it was his bomb to right that put the Yanks up big in the first. They got another two in the second before rallying for seven in the third and four more in the seventh.


Curtis Granderson: 4 for 6, 1 2B, 1 3B. He drove in a season-high five runs.

Derek Jeter: 5 for 6, 1 2B.

Brewers 10, Cardinals 5

Moving the Needle: Casey McGehee hits his second homer, giving the Brewers a lead, +.221 WPA. Three times McGehee homered in this one, though the last one was simply for show. The first two made big differences in the game. In the first he hit a two-run shot to break a 1-1 tie. Then in the third he did it again, another two-run shot that turned a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 lead. His teammates came through with support in the fifth and sixth, leading to a big win.


Corey Hart: 2 for 6, 1 HR. Despite his power being down a bit, he’s still producing at a level comparable to last year.

Rafael Furcal: 2 for 3, 1 HR, 1 BB. He drove in four of the Cardinals’ five runs. He’s now 4 for 14 with a homer and two walks in his new digs.

Tigers 5, Rangers 4

Moving the Needle: Alex Avila breaks the tie with a solo homer in the sixth, +.187 WPA. In the middle innings the Tigers watched a 3-0 lead fade away, but they gained it back later on. Avila homered in the sixth to give the Tigers a 4-3 lead, and then Ryan Raburn hit one in the eighth, which turned out to be quite useful, as the Rangers picked up one of their own in the ninth. But it still gave the Tigers the W and a further extension of their lead in the Central.


Miguel Cabrera: 2 for 4, 1 2B.

Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz: both 2 for 4, 1 2B. They each drove in one and scored one as well.

Braves 6, Nationals 4

Moving the Needle: Dan Uggla continues his hot streak with a homer, +.118 WPA. The Braves jumped out to an early lead, scoring two in the first. In the fifth they rallied for four, which Uggla capped with a three-run shot. It extended his hit streak to 25 games, during which he’s done quite a bit more than the minimum at the plate: .354/.421/.750.


Freddie Freeman: 2 for 4. Uggla had the Braves’ only extra base hit, but Freeman did drive in a pair with his singles.

Royals 6, Orioles 2

Moving the Needle: Alcides Escobar plates a pair with a triple, +.190 WPA. Early leads are good. The Orioles took one in the first when Vlad Guerrero knocked one in with a single, but the Royals got it right back in the bottom half. In the second they got another pair on Escobar’s triple, making it 3-1. They took control for good in the seventh, though, when a three-run homer busted open the game.


Billy Butler: 1 for 3, 1 HR. He hit the big three-run homer in the seventh. Along with a sac fly, he drove in four on the day.

Luke Hochevar: 7.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 K. He’s gone at least seven and has allowed two or fewer runs in three of his last four starts. It might not sound like much, but it’s definitely something, considering some of the poor starts he’s had this year. Last time he faced Baltimore he allowed eight runs in seven innings.

Cubs 1, Pirates 0

Moving the Needle: Starlin Castro homers for the only run of the game, +.244 WPA. For seven innings both pitchers worked on shutouts. In the eighth, when the bullpens came in, the Cubs struck. That is, Castro struck with his fourth homer of the year. That was it for the scoring, as the Cubs bullpen did a fine job of holding the lead.


Matt Garza: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K. He bounced back nicely after getting shellacked by St. Louis last time out.

Charlie Morton: 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K. He bounced back nicely after getting shellacked by Philadelphia last time out.

Mariners 7, A’s 4

Moving the Needle: Adam Rosales ends the potential seventh-inning rally with a double play, -.156 WPA. In the top of the seventh the Mariners still had only a modest 4-1 lead, which gave the A’s a chance. Oakland loaded the bases up with one out, on a pair of walks and a single. That brought up Rosales, but he went 6-4-3, ending the threat and putting the game back in the Mariners’ hands. They responded by adding another pair, which helped fend off the A’s mini rally in the ninth.


Mike Carp: 3 for 5. The M’s had no extra base hits, and so the man with three hits, two runs, and two RBI is the most notable in the game.

Charlie Furbush: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K. He retired the first 13 A’s he faced. He threw only five, I guess, because he hadn’t started a game since July 14th, and that at AAA.

Padres 3, Dodgers 0

Moving the Needle: Jason Bartlett breaks the scoreless tie with a homer in the sixth, +.194 WPA. The description pretty much says it. The starters dueled it out yesterday, with only a few mistakes on each side. Lilly’s only problem came on Bartlett’s homer in the sixth, while Stauffer exited before he could cause any more trouble in the seventh. Still, in a 3-0 game you’d think the starter’s lines would look a bit stronger.


Tim Stauffer: 6.1 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K. The walk was intentional. He ran into some trouble in the seventh, putting men on second and third with one out.

Ted Lilly: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K. He didn’t even come out for the seventh. That’s strong on account of the Ks, though.

Rays 9, Blue Jays 1

Moving the Needle: Ben Zobrist homers in the second, +.115 WPA. Is there any doubt that Zobrist has been the Rays MVP this season? He got them started yesterday with a solo homer in the second, which started the Rays on their way to a big win against Toronto. Surprisingly, the two teams were separated by just half a game heading into yesterday.


Desmond Jennings: 2 for 5, 1 3B. The man is simply unstoppable. Maybe the Rays could have used him earlier in the season; but maybe management picked the precise time in his development when he’d be most ripe for a call-up. OK, it’s probably the former.

Robinson Chirinos 2 for 2, 1 HR, 2 BB. He quietly drove in four from the bottom of the lineup.

Giants 8, Diamondbacks 1

Moving the Needle: Jeff Keppinger sets up a big third inning, +.108 WPA. After losing sole possession of first place on Tuesday, the Giants got back to work Wednesday. Their big move came in the third, when a pair of singles opened the inning. Keppinger’s was apparently the biggest, as it moved runners to the corners with none out. That allowed another two singles to score a pair of runs. An RBI ground out, an error, and a fielder’s choice later, and the Giants had a 4-0 lead.


Carlos Beltran: 3 for 5, 1 3B. He has two extra base hits since joining San Francisco, both of them triples.

Ryan Vogelsong: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 7 K. He added two hit batsmen to that ledger, which means nine base runners in six innings. Not ideal, but it worked for him in this one.

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Joe also writes about the Yankees at River Ave. Blues.

20 Responses to “The Morning After: Game Recaps for August 3rd”

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  1. Cliff Lee's Changeup says:

    Jeter was 5 for 6, his second 5 hit game of the season.

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  2. Pat says:

    Utley had a HBP too.

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  3. Jerome S. says:

    Ryan Howard isn’t even that good of a hitter. I mean, he’s good, but he’s been getting worse for years now and while he is certainly a plus value with the bat he’s nowhere near the top of the leaderboard.

    But those fucking RBI’s.
    He keeps getting hits where it counts and I guess that would give him a bit of value. But he’s going to place very well in the MVP voting this year, undeservedly, as I foresee he won’t crack 2.0 WAR.

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    • domingoes says:

      He’s no worse of a hitter than he was in aught 8 when he was an important part of a world championship team. Dunno what he ever did to deserve your scorn, maybe cause he’s black.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      I mean, he’s good, but he’s been getting worse for years now

      You mean he’s not maintaining a .300+ ISO? Shocking.

      That’s really the only difference in Howard’s performance. Granted, it’s a HUGE difference to go from a ~.325 ISO to ~.240 ISO. 15 homers is a big seasonal change.

      But those fucking RBI’s.

      Discussion on the research on Howard and RBIs revealed that [1] He gets to hit with men on base quite a bit, and [2] he performs very well (compared to his career numbers and his peers numbers in similar situations) in those situations.

      At this point in his career, there has to be a “reason”. It could be [1] no “dead pull” shift, [2] fewer breaking balls with men on base, [3] with guys on, he tries to make good contact to all fields, [4] something else.

      [1] I doubt the shift really takes away a bunch of hits per season
      [2] This is possible
      [3] When Howard is really “stroking it” (Har Har), he’s driving the ball deep to left-center. When he’s not, he’s pull heavy, and on the ground. [4] He may concentrate more or change his approach with guys on base.

      But, it’s no longer ajust a case of “anyone could rack up RBIs like him in the Phillies lineup”, although that sentiment is hanging around quite a bit.

      So, his WAR isn’t outstanding (I don;t think we really know how to measure 1B defense), but he’s 8th in the NL in WPA.

      Early in the season, Howard hit big homers (with guys on, of course) in consecutive games and the Phillies won. I stated here, at that time, “and so the Howard MVP season begins”. He may actually have a great chance because of his WPA/RBI, the Phillies W-L record, the lack of a really dominant MVP candidate, Pujols having another “down” year, Berkamn getting hurt, etc.

      However, if Juston Upton doesn;t get strong consideration, even be the favorite for MVP, given his performance and DBacks rise, I’ll be pissed.

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      • Richard says:

        Why do you doubt the shift takes away a bunch of hits? It sure seems to, according to my memory of the games themselves, and his BABIP is lower then, too, as are his overall numbers.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        I think it takes away some hits (<10), I just don't think it takes away a bunch (20-30, in my mind).

        I could be convinced, with data, to accept that the "pull shift" robs Howard of a bunch of hits if that's what the data showed.

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      • Muggi says:

        Interesting article from ’09 at BP, the shift and Howard’s BABIP change is part of it:

        Some highlights:

        “(in 2006) his .363 BABIP, which although lower than his minor league BABIP (.370), is extremely high for the major leagues. Yet, in late June 2006, teams started employing the shift against Howard, and his BABIP has never been the same.”

        “Facing more of the defensive shifts that started appearing in mid-2006, Howard’s BABIP dropped to .336. Even more dramatically, his BABIP on groundballs fell from .250 to .187.”

        For poops I rammed numbers together and applied that .250->.187 BABIP on ground balls to his 2010 numbers (yes I know this is meaningless and bad form). It’d add about 10 hits, and some basic changes would be:

        BA goes from .276 to .294
        OBP from .353 to .369
        SLG from .505 to .523

        So an .892 OPS, up from .858. From 17th in the league for the season to 9th.

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      • Richard says:

        Ok. Fair enough, except just 10 more hits this year would raise Howard’s avg from .255 to .279, five more bumps it to .291, five more to .303.

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      • Pat says:

        I know the dangers of assuming and outcome and basing data on perception, but I’ve seen every Phillies game this year and Howard has easily had 10 hits taken away from him so far.

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    • Richard says:

      Howard’s wRC+ for his career: 130, 162, 135, 120, 140, 125, 124

      yep: “getting worse for years now”

      Look, Howard’s RBI totals do result in him being overrated by the MSM, and he’s not one of the more valuable first basemen in the game, and his contract is all guaranteed to be a big overpayment for his services (though, really, in context, less and less likely to actually kill the Phillies); we all know this; it’s not worth saying over and over again. But remarks like this are exactly the kind of crap that make people tune out sabr-followers.

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    • Dave S says:

      “isn’t even that good of a hitter”

      Could we PLEASE stop with the Ryan Howard hate?

      Among qualified NL batters, his wOBA is ~ #20 in the league and his wRC+ is ~ #30.

      I get it… he’s (currently) tied for #4 in HRs, and #1 in RBI.
      His value is over-rated by those old-school numbers.
      He is soon going to be wildly overpaid. (after being wildly UNDERPAID for years)
      He is a mid-pack hitter among NL firstbasemen.

      But all that is FAR different from saying he isn’t that good of a hitter.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        The FG community seemingly has no respect/value for 2-3 WAR players … across the board. We need to understand just how rare mauer, Pujols, bautista, and Utley are. They are NOT the standard. They break the system.

        A 2-3 WAR 1B with no glove is a GOOD hitter. Seriously, that 3 WAR guy is hitting 3rd or 4th for almost every team in the league. Being 8th in the NL for 1B batting runs is not a disgrace. For a lot of teams, their best hitter plays 1B. A mid-pack 1B is going to be a good hitter.

        We should all understand that howard’s extension was an unnecessary bad move. But, man, taking it out on Ryan Howard is ridiculous. He’s still a pretty good power hitter.

        Ryan Howard will be vastly overpaid when looking at it through our WAR-based system (or perhaps any system). That does not mean that Ryan Howard is not good. It’s rather childish of us, as a community, to sort of take that stance and act like we do towards Howard.

        He run a pyramid sceme and rob money from elderly ladies nor did he get that money from selling kiddie porn. His boss asked him to sign a 25M/y contract extension and he said “yes”.

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    • Muggi says:

      C’mon man how many times do we need to hear this, especially addressing THIS crowd?

      Joe P. noted Howard has been hot…and he has.

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  4. gdc says:

    Funny that the link for JD Martinez went to Nats pitcher JD Martin, I was expecting this old Met

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  5. Barkey Walker says:

    It might be worth changing “[F. Last] Home Run” to “[F. Last] Grand Slam” on the graphs (when appropriate). I realize it is anti-situation dependent, but then again, so is WPA.

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  6. Jay Buhner says:

    Something I’ve always wondered (and apologies if this has been addressed before)… how does a pitcher’s hitting factor into his WAR? Is it even a part of the equation? Because with Mr. Willis hitting like he is, it would seem that he definitely has more value than another hypothetical NL pitcher with the exact same pitching stats but a .023/.023/.023 line or something like that.

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    • domingoes says:

      You can look up batting WAR for pitchers here. A pretty poor hitter can rack up some value as a pitcher.

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      • domingoes says:

        For example, Cliff Lee has 54 plate appearances and a wOBA of only .254, but he’s been worth 0.5 WAR.

        Don’t think many pitchers are gonna be 1 WAR batters but it doesn’t take any sort of Ruthian numbers to look good thanks to (what I assume is) a generous positional adjustment.

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