There were a ton of close games yesterday so there were many events that made a difference in determining a team's win expectancy. Nobody was as vital as Paul Goldschmidt and his 76% WPA but there were a handful of clutch performances that you have to hear about!
The Smallest Sample Size -- Game Results for 8/13/13
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Last night, CC Sabathia (-1% WPA) gave up a two run homer in the first to Mark Trumbo but was able to keep Anaheim's bats in check thereafter. But he couldn't hit the strike zone. Overall, he was able to throw six innings but gave up three runs (two earned) and six walks alongside three hits and seven strikeouts. Jason Vargas (-29% WPA), making his return from the disabled list, but couldn't miss any bats. He survived through four and a third but allowed four runs on eight hits and a walk. Michael Kohn (-15%) gave up two more runs in the sixth that basically put the game away. To make things worse, Joe Blanton (-1% WPA) came in afterwards and proceeded to give up six more runs in just two innings while allowing nine (!!) baserunners. Alfonso Soriano went three-for-six with two homers and a 30% WPA.
Despite only getting four innings from their starter due to a rain delay, the Nationals were able to win last night. Gio Gonzalez (21% WPA) only allowed six baserunners while recording just twelve outs but the Washington bullpen was able to string together five more innings while only allowing two runs (one earned). Tyler Clippard was able to navigate an intense situation (3.29 pLI) but still recorded a Shutdown. Meanwhile, the Giants couldn't get the same production from their relievers. Madison Bumgarner (6% WPA) threw four innings with four strikeouts and one run allowed via six baserunners. Guillermo Moscoso (-20% WPA) relieved him and melted down in his two innings with four base runners and two earned runs. Adam LaRoche smacked a two run homer that proved to be the difference which contributed to his 29% WPA.
Todd Redmond (28% WPA) watched the lead that he preserved dissipate once the ball was handed over to the Toronto bullpen. He tossed five and a third shutout innings while only giving up three hits. Ryan Dempster (29% WPA) pitched seven solid innings, only giving up one run and six baserunners, and left with the lead thanks to a series of clutch hits from Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia. Junichi Tazawa melted down (-16% WPA) thanks to giving up a solo shot to J.P. Arencibia. The Blue Jays had a couple other opportunities to put the game away but just couldn't capitalize. In extra innings, Shane Victorino smacked a two-run scoring single that shifted the win expectancy by 40.5% and Koji Uehara (13% WPA) was able to pitch a perfect inning to win the game for Boston.
Kris Medlen provided a clutch double (12% WPA) to give the Braves a 1-0 lead and was able to throw seven innings of one-run ball, with his only mistake being a Domonic Brown single in the top of the sixth. As a pitcher, Medlen (22% WPA) provided a 22% WPA, only giving up five hits and one walk while striking out five. Meanwhile, Ethan Martin (-14% WPA) lasted just five innings and pitched decently, but was done in by a Chris Johnson two-run homer eventually sealed the game.
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Ben Zobrist (25% WPA) and Brad Miller (14% WPA) both smacked two homers in last night's game but the Rays couldn't muster any other kind of offense whereas the Mariners were put over the top with a clutch Dustin Ackley triple. Chris Archer (-36% WPA) has started to regress and gave up five runs on nine hits and a walk in just five innings. Erasmo Ramirez (-32% WPA) wasn't much better as he allowed four runs on seven hits and a walk in five and a third. Yoervis Medina, Oliver Perez and Danny Farquhar were all able to preserve the one-run lead with Shutdowns and kept the Rays from getting back into the game.
Jeff Samardzija's command has failed him over a couple of his previous starts and especially in this one. Shark (-16% WPA) allowed four runs, one of which on a wild pitch, along with four walks and six hits in six innings. Homer Bailey (-25% WPA) also had some trouble as he allowed four runs on six hits (three homers) and three walks over six and a third. This game ended up being a battle of bullpens and the Reds were able to get four straight Shutdowns while Eduardo Sanchez lost his control at the worst time and melted down (-41% WPA), leading to a Cubs loss.
Should Alexi Ogando (-10% WPA) remain in the rotation? Or would he be better suited for the bullpen? Last night, he gave up three homers and three other hits for a total of four runs in six and a third. Scooter Gennett, batting in the nine hole, clubbed two of the three homers and provided a 31% WPA for the Brewers. Marco Estrada pitched well as he only allowed one run on four hits in his six innings. The Milwaukee bullpen breezed into the eighth before running into some trouble but got out of it and kept the Rangers off the board.
Josh Willingham was able to get the Twins on the board early with a solo homer to lead off the second but from there on out, the Indians just poured on the offense as the Twins struggled to get anyone on base. Samuel Deduno (-21% WPA) struck out the side in the first, pitched a perfect second and then crumbled. Overall, he made it through six innings but gave up four runs on eight baserunners while only recording one strikeout after he sat down the first three batters he faced via the 'K.' Zach McAllister (18% WPA) was great, giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk while striking out seven. Ryan Raburn's two run homer (19% WPA) in the sixth added some vital insurance to their 3-1 lead.
Should of kept Avisail Garcia!! With two important hits, one of which was a triple that turned into an three-run inside-the-park homer because of an error, and a walk that eventually became the winning run, Garcia provided a whopping 42% WPA for the White Sox. In fact, it seemed that he was the only one to really provide any help in win expectancy from the Chicago offense. Max Scherzer (-5% WPA) pitched decently through six innings but was tagged for two runs on seven baserunners. Hector Santiago (12% WPA) had some bouts with his control and was chased after five, giving up one run, four walks and six hits. Jim Leyland inexplicably removed Jeremy Bonderman for Phil Coke and not Detroit's best reliever, Joaquin Benoit, with the bases loaded. Coke (-16% WPA) faltered and gave up the walk-off hit to Alejandro De Aza.
Yesterday featured a pitching duel between Bruce Chen and Jose Fernandez. Yes, that Bruce Chen, who now sports the lowest ERA of pitchers with 70+ innings thrown. Then again, he was facing the Marlins offense which may have helped his seven shutout innings become possible. Chen (44% WPA) struck out six, walked three and allowed three hits while Fernandez (44% WPA) matched his shutout innings but with two less walks. Neither offense could get a run across home until the tenth when Kelvin Herrera (-30% WPA) hit Jake Marisnick with a pitch, who then stole second and scored on Christian Yelich's (38% WPA) third hit of the night.
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As you can see, last night's matchup between the NL Central favorites was all over the place. The Pirates were expected to win with a 3-2 lead going into the ninth until Mark Melancon (-39% WPA) melted down and gave up a poorly timed RBI single to Allen Craig that swayed the Cardinals' win expectancy from 16.6% to an even 50%. Seth Maness (38% WPA) and Jeanmar Gomez (40% WPA) duked it out in extras and both were able to keep the opposing offense off the board. With Gomez removed from the game before the 14th inning, Jared Hughes (-37% WPA) came in and quickly lost the game by giving up two hits while only getting one out. Both offenses had their opportunities throughout the game but Adron Chambers' sole hit (31% WPA) of the night sent the Cardinals home with a win.
Not many teams win when their starter allows eleven hits, three walks and five runs in just four and two thirds but the Padres found a way to last night. Jeff Manship (-22% WPA) was worse than Eric Stults (-13% WPA) as he gave up two homers and six runs in five innings. The Rockies had comforted him with a 4-1 lead after the first but it was quickly blown in the second as Manship gave up a homer to Nick Hundley, a triple to Will Venable and RBI single to Alexi Amarista. Colorado had a win expectancy of 70.5% to start the second but it shrank to 47% once the Padres rallied and took the lead. The Rockies threatened to get back into the game during the third with the bases loaded and nobody out but Charlie Blackmon flew out to center and Manship, who wasn't pinch-hit for, proceeded to ground into a double play. After that, the Padres had it in the bag.
Orioles 3, Diamondbacks 4
Have yourself a day, Paul Goldschmidt (77% WPA). There aren't many games that are carried by just one player but Goldschmidt did just that for the Diamondbacks last night. Down 2-3 in the ninth, Goldie, leading off, stepped to the plate and launched a game-tying homer off of Jim Johnson which eventually sent the game into extra innings. Neither team could get any runs across until Goldschmidt's turn to bat came up again. This time, leading off in the eleventh, he jacked another dinger to win the game. Absolutely incredible. Goldschmidt singlehandedly put the team on his back and evidently had a tremendous impact on the game as the core factor behind Arizona's win.
Bartolo Colon, it's been fun. But yesterday proved to be another game of regression for the wily ol' vet. Lasting just four innings, Colon (-31% WPA) gave up five runs on seven hits and a walk; all that Houston needed to win the game. Jordan Lyles stifled Oakland through seven innings with one earned run on seven baserunners. The Athletics were only able to score one run until the eighth inning when Josh Reddick singled Jed Lowrie home and Yoenis Cespedes smacked a two-run homer. Even after the comeback and the score now at 5-4, the Athletics only had a 17.1% win expectancy. Chia-Jen Lo was able to settle everything down in the eighth and close out the game for a Shutdown (24% WPA).
The ace-off between Matt Harvey and Hyun-Jin Ryu turned out to be more one-sided than expected. Harvey (-26% WPA) labored through six innings and gave up four runs, eight hits and two walks while only striking out three. Ryu (20% WPA) only made one mistake, a first inning homer to Juan Lagares, and sailed through seven innings. Kenley Jansen's new attempt at a perfect nine innings was RUINED as he gave up a hit, walk and run in his inning of work.
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All statistics courtesy of Fangraphs.
Mike Mulvenna is a writer at Beyond The Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter at @mkmulv.
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