- FanGraphs Baseball - http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs -

The Most Exciting Inning of the Night

The seventh inning of the Rockies/Phillies affair takes the crown even on a night with a normal schedule.

Joe Beimel opened the inning on the mound facing Placido Polanco with a 7-3 lead in hand. The sequence of events from there until Beimel’s exit included a Polanco double, Chase Utley scoring, and then Ryan Howard hitting a homer. Just like that, the lead was down to one. Jim Tracy turned to the newest toy in his bullpen collection. So entered the flame-slinging Manny Delcarmen just acquired from Boston. Most of Delcarmen’s issues in Boston this season came because of a sharp increase in gopherballs allowed. Given his walk rates, allowing homers is not a smart plan if he wants a lengthy career in the majors.

For his opening act, Delcarmen gave up a homer to Jayson Werth. He was not done, though, as the Phillies then went on a singles parade that saw Shane Victorino, Brian Schneider, and Ben Francisco sending baseballs across the field like beads. By now, Polanco stood in the on-deck circle with Jimmy Rollins due up. Tracy again came out and this time inserted Matt Reynolds.

An appropriate accompanying instrumental to a short ditty about Reynolds’ appearance would be the Jaws theme with slowly ascending volume. Rollins would single off Reynolds, loading the bases for Utley with two outs in a one run game. These are the moments situational lefties who love to flirt with danger love. If Reynolds were one of those who likes to cuddle with a Russian chick named Roulette then what Utley did to the baseball on his 3-1 pitch has probably scared him straight. To Reynolds’ credit, he did retire Howard quickly, keeping the damage at 7-12 and ending the nine run Phillies’ outburst.

Things were just getting started after the stretch ended and the Rockies’ reassumed their position as orchestrators. Seth Smith waved the wand and led things off with a double and scoring on a Jonathan Herrera single. Eric Young Jr. would then double, placing two runners in scoring position with one out. Dexter Fowler’s single plated both and the score would stand at 10-12 through seven.

All told, the seventh inning saw 11 runs score, three homers, 10 balls in play hits, and a swing from the Rockies holding a 89% win expectancy down to 4.7% and back up to 25.1% before dripping back down to 15.4%. The four pitchers who contributed to the inning each held negative Win Probability Added scores. Delcarmen (-.389), Beimel (-.254), and Reynolds (-.237) for Colorado and Philadelphia’s Chad Durbin (-.109). That adds up to -.989, or about an entire win from four of the 14 pitchers used last night.