Again, sorry for technical difficulties with the graphs.
Moving the Needle: Mark Trumbo‘s single puts the Angels ahead in extras, +.361 WPA. While Trumbo’s single deserves attention, it was really a sequence in the late innings that defined this game. Down 4-3 with runners on first and third with two outs in the seventh, Hanley Ramirez drove in the tying run. The Angels took the lead back a half inning later on a double and a single, and then the Marlins got a Mike Stanton triple and a DeWayne Wise single to tie it back up in the next half inning. The ninth went by without incident, which gave the Angels an opportunity to strike in the 10th. Bobby Abreu started off with a walk, and, after advancing on a groundout, scored on Trumbo’s single that snuck by Hanley.
Also in this issue: Padres 5, Red Sox 1 | Braves 5, Blue Jays 1 | White Sox 4, Cubs 3 | Yankees 4, Reds 2 | Reds 10, Yankees 2 | Indians 4, Rockies 3 | Diamondbacks 3, Royals 2 | Angels 6, Marlins 5 | Astros 5, Rangers 3 | Tigers 7, Dodgers 5 | Rays 6, Brewers 3 | Nationals 2, Mariners 1 | Mets 3, A’s 2 | Pirates 5, Orioles 4 | Phillies 4, Cardinals 0 | Giants 5, Twins 1
Moving the Needle: David Ortiz‘s double play again tops the charts, -.151 WPA. We’ve seen players top the WPA charts two days, and even three days, in a row. But I don’t believe we’ve ever seen it for two negative plays. On Tuesday Ortiz’s double play in the ninth hampered a Red Sox comeback attempt. Yesterday, surprisingly, it came in the first inning. WIth one out the Sox got three straight singles to load the bases, but Ortiz took them all off base with a grounder to short. Will Venable‘s homer to lead off the game got the high positive WPA mark.
Will Venable: 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 BB. He had the aforementioned leadoff homer, and drove in another for good measure.
Moving the Needle: Dan Uggla starts things in the second with a two-run homer, +.167 WPA. The Braves completed their series sweep yesterday by again holding the Blue Jays to few runs. The only runs scored in this game were on home runs, and three of them came from the Braves. Uggla went first, a shot way over the left-center field wall that made the score 2-0 Braves. Brian McCann would add one the next inning, and Brooks Conrad homered in the seventh. Jose Bautista had the Jays’ homer.
Brandon Beachy: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 11 K, 1 HR. The homer to Bautista is forgivable. This is one heckuva return from the DL, especially given the standard he set earlier in the year.
Moving the Needle: A.J. Pierzynski‘s two-run triple puts the Sox on the board, +.211 WPA. A good throw and it’s just a double, but that’s pretty much how he’s going to get his triples. The shot was lined into the right-center gap, and it easily scored the runners from first and second. Pierzynski certainly took a risk going to third, and it paid off when Brent Lillibridge scored him on a bunt. (It was ruled a hit, but Doug Davis has to make that play.)
Carlos Pena: 1 for 5, 1 HR. That’s his 14th of the year. It seems as though he’s added a lot lately.
Alex Rios: 2 for 4. He needs a lot more games like this if he’s going to regain some respectability for his numbers.
Moving the Needle: Jorge Posada breaks the tie with a homer, +.260 WPA. While Posada has struggled this year, he can still make pitchers pay for mistakes. Mike Leake hung one up there for Posada, and he blasted it over the right field wall for a two-run homer to put the Yanks up 4-2. That was his first home run since April 23rd, and his seventh of the season.
Freddy Garcia: 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K. He has his stinkers, but he’s had a number of high quality starts for the Yanks.
Moving the Needle: Chris Heisey hits his second homer and puts the Reds up by three, +.174 WPA. After dropping the first half of the doubleheader, the Reds got off to a quality start in the second half. Heisey hit a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the first, and then Jonny Gomes added a solo blast in the second. WIth the score 2-1 in the fifth, Heisey came up again and blasted one over the wall to give the Reds a sizable lead. He’d add another later in the game, giving him his 6th, 7th, and 8th homers of the year.
Johnny Cueto: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 6 K. He ran into some trouble in the seventh, which included his own error, but he worked out of it and set up the Reds for a win.
Scott Rolen: 2 for 2, 1 2B. He pinch-hit for Cueto in the seventh and hit a big RBI double that opened up the score.
Moving the Needle: Ty Wigginton gets the Rockies closer with a two-run homer, +.153 WPA. If not for Wigginton the score might not have looked as close. The Indians jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but a Wigginton solo shot made it 2-1. In the sixth the Indians picked up another pair, but Wigginton answered them in the top of the seventh with a two-run homer of his own. Cookies don’t come more delicious than the one Josh Tomlin served up there. The Rockies picked up only one hit from that point on, though, and could not make up that last run.
Travis Hafner: 1 for 4, 1 HR. His two-run shot was the difference.
Moving the Needle: Eric Hosmer flies out with the tying run on third base in the ninth, -.205 WPA. Down 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, the Royals started off with two straight outs. But a single, two stolen bases, and a walk put runners on first and third for Hosmer. He had the high positive WPA swing two innings earlier when he tripled home a run. This time, though, he managed only a pop up to shortstop on the first pitch, ending the game.
Ian Kennedy: 6 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K. It took him 110 pitches, so it wasn’t the easiest of starts for Kennedy. But he allowed just one extra base hit among those eight, which helped limit the damage.
Jeff Francis: 7 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 2 K. The three runs don’t look pretty, but he, too, allowed just one extra base hit. It just hurt that two of the five hits he allowed came with men in scoring position.
Moving the Needle: Matt Downs caps the rally with a two-run homer in the ninth, +.357 WPA. The Astros picked up a run in the eighth to finally get on the board and make it a 2-1 game, but the Rangers got a run of their own in the bottom half to re-take the two-run lead. Neftali Feliz came in to pitch the ninth, but nothing went right in the inning. Carlos Lee led off with a double, and then scored on a Chris Johnson double. After a single put runners on first and third, Yorvit Torrealba couldn’t catch an outside pitch, and it went to the backstop, allowing the tying run to score. The man at the plate at the time, Matt Downs, then homered on the next pitch.
Colby Lewis: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K. That’s one of his better starts on the year. I hope Feliz bough him a nice dinner to make up for it.
Nelson Cruz: 2 for 4, 1 HR. It seems as though he’s getting back into the swing of things following his return from the DL a few weeks ago.
Moving the Needle: Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez hit two-run homers, +.184 WPA each. The first few innings in this one were the most interesting, as the Tigers and Dodgers traded leads. The Tigers got their runs by blasting homers off Ted Lilly. Casper Wells led off the game with one, but the Dodgers rode Matt Kemp‘s triple to two runs in the bottom half. But in the top of the second, after a leadoff walk, Ordonez cracked one over the wall in left to give the Tigers their lead back. An inning later Cabrera extended the lead with an opposite-field, two-run homer. The Dodgers battled back and kept it close, and even had the bases loaded with one out in the ninth.
Moving the Needle: Kelly Shoppach ties the game in the second with a two-run shot, +.179 WPA. Shoppach is not exactly known for his opposite field power, or his power at all, but in the second inning he flashed it. A two-run homer answered the Brewers’ two runs in the bottom of the first, deadlocking the game. It remained that way until the sixth, when the Rays took the lead on a B.J. Upton single. Elliot Johnson‘s three-run shot in the seventh provided the insurance.
David Price: 8 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 10 K. My Rays friends tell me he was throwing mid-90s in the seventh, so good on him. He’s not replicating his Cy Young bid from 2010, but he still has dominant starts in him.
Moving the Needle: Jerry Hariston’s single puts the Nationals ahead, +.121 WPA. This one was really set up by Erik Bedard and Miguel Olivo. After Danny Espinosa singled with one out, Bedard threw Wilson Ramos a ball in the dirt. Olivo blocked it, but it got away, allowing Espinosa to take third. Ramos struck out for the second out, but Hairston hit one between short and third. Brendan Ryan fielded it deep and made a good throw to first, but Hairston was just about there. Espinosa scored the go-ahead run, the last one of the game.
Erik Bedard: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 10 K. Neither of the runs was earned. The M’s patience with Bedard is paying off this year. He’s a big reason why they’re staying in the thick of the AL West race.
Moving the Needle: Brad Ziegler plunks in the winning run, -.349 WPA. The A’s worked so hard in this one. The Mets took the lead twice, but both times the A’s answered. That put the game into extra innings, where Ziegler ran into trouble in the 12th. He loaded the bases with two outs, but got a groundout to end the threat. Bob Melvin sent him back out for the 13th, and again he loaded the bases with two outs. His first pitch to Justin Turner apparently grazed the jersey, because it wasn’t an obvious hit by pitch. All Ziegler could do was throw up his arms. All the rest of us could do was facepalm.
Jose Reyes, 2 for 6, 1 3B. Just keep hitting, kid.
R.A. Dickey: 8 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 9 K. He’s been much better lately after a rough start to the season, which is good because Mets fans seem so much happier when he’s doing well, even if the team is not.
Gio Gonzalez: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 8 K. Will the A’s make him available or make him part of the long-term plan?
Moving the Needle: Blake Davis‘s error costs the Orioles the lead, -.250 WPA. After some back-and-forth in the first four innings, the Orioles entered the fifth with a 4-3 lead. All it took was a routine play for them to lose it. With runners on second and third with two outs in the fifth Josh Harrison hit an inning-ending grounder to Davis at second. But the ball went right between the wickets, allowing both runners to score. That was the last of the scoring on the day, as Zach Britton continued his fine pitching and the Orioles bullpen did its job.
Andrew McCutchen: 2 for 4, 1 2B.
Nick Markakis: 3 for 5, 1 2B.
Moving the Needle: Ryan Howard‘s homer opens up a lead, +.183 WPA. Kyle Lohse faced only the minimum in the first three innings, but that changed immediately in the fourth. Jimmy Rollins led off with a homer to make it 1-0, and then, following a Chase Utley single, Howard drilled an opposite field shot to make it 3-0 Phillies. They’d tack on one more later, but it wasn’t necessary. Cliff Lee had it all under control.
Cliff Lee: 9 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K. It’s odd to see so few strikeouts from him, but it was enough for his second straight shutout. Be afraid of the Phillies.
Moving the Needle: Eli Whiteside triples home a pair, +.213 WPA. That’s not only two catchers with triples in the game, but two catchers with needle-moving triples. Whiteside’s came in the second, with runners on first and third with one out. The liner went into that cavernous gap in right-center, which allowed for the triple. Whiteside also picked up the Giants’ third RBI with a single in the sixth, which made the score 3-0.
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