Moving the Needle: Bobby Abreu homers to break the tie in the ninth, +.422 WPA. Last night Abreu accounted for 33% of his season’s home run total. He twice punished the Yanks with the long ball, the first to tie the game at one, and the second to put the Angels ahead against Mariano Rivera. That’s two straight blown games for Rivera.
Derek Jeter: 1 for 4, 1 BB. He hit a two-RBI, game-tying single in the seventh, and then walked in the ninth.
Jeff Mathis: 1 for 2, 1 2B. He had two RBI with the double
Also in this issue: White Sox 4, Orioles 3 | Diamondbacks 11, Astros 9 | Indians 3, Tigers 2 | Nationals 3, Cubs 1 | Red Sox 4, Twins 3 | Rockies 3, Reds 2 | Braves 4, Marlins 3 | Rays 4, Royals 0 | Phillies 2, Dodgers 1 | Rangers 7, Mariners 6 | Mets 5, Padres 4 | A’s 4, Blue Jays 1 | Brewers 5, Cardinals 3 | Giants 6, Pirates 0
Moving the Needle: Felix Pie doubles with none out in the seventh, +.132 WPA. The White Sox jumped out to a 4-0 lead after four, but in the fifth the Orioles put together three runs of their own to make it a game. In the seventh Pie led off with a double, giving the Orioles three chances to get a hit and bring home the tying run. They wasted one with a sacrifice, and then they made two easy outs to end the threat. So while Pie’s double was the biggest WPA swing of the game, J.J. Hardy’s ground out, the second out of the inning, was the second biggest.
Brent Morel: 2 for 4, 1 HR. He drove in two, though the homer was a solo shot.
Gavin Floyd: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 4 K. The final run was unearned thanks to an Alexei Ramirez error. But hey, what’s the difference between that and a guy who didn’t touch the ball in the first place?
Moving the Needle: Justin Upton breaks the tie with a two-run homer, +.253 WPA. It really was Upton’s day. The Brand New Astros put seven on the board in the first four innings, leading 7-1 in the fifth. That’s when the Diamondbacks got something going, riding three straight singles to a bases loaded, one out situation. Upton doubled there to bring home a pair, and by inning’s end they were within two. The next inning they put runners on second and third and then Willie Bloomquist tied the game with a single. That’s when Upton came up big, crushing a homer off the Chase sign in left-center.
Miguel Montero: 3 for 4, 1 2B. He came up big, too, driving in three runs.
Brian Bogusevic: 3 for 5, 1 2B, 1 HR. At age 25 he hit his first major league home run. It seems as though we’ve seen a lot of those in the past week.
Moving the Needle: Squeeze play goes awry, -.215 WPA. The graph above represents a game that stayed tied for a long time. The Indians did get on the board early, scoring a pair in the first. But in the top of the second the Tigers put together a pair of runs as well. There they stayed all the way to the fourteenth, when David Pauley loaded the bases and then hit Kosuke Fukudome. But the big WPA swing came in the eighth, when Jason Donald doubled to lead off the inning. He moved to third on a grounder, and then came flying home as Michael Brantley tried to lay down the squeeze bunt. But Daniel Schlereth’s slider dove way down and out of the strike zone, leaving Donald hanging. Credit Brantley, though, for doing everything he could to get a piece of that one.
Asdrubal Cabrera: 2 for 4, 2 BB. He drove in one during the first inning rally. One of the walks was intentional.
Moving the Needle: Jonny Gomes homers to open up a 3-0 lead, +.189 WPA. Through the first five innings the teams combined for six base runners. In fact, all game they didn’t have many, just 11 total. That is, if you count the three home runs. The Nationals hit theirs first, getting a pair in the sixth. Gomes hit the second one, his with a man on, giving the Nats a 3-0 lead. Michael Morse took care of the first, while Starlin Castro hit the one for the Cubs.
Chien-Ming Wang: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K. That’s his first strong start since sometime in 2008. Vintage CMW, right down to the 11 ground balls.
Matt Garza: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 9 K. The line would have looked a lot better if he’d gone another inning, but when you walk two and strike out nine the pitch count jumps up.
Moving the Needle: Darnell McDonald and Tsuyoshi Nishioka both tie the game, +.207 WPA each. McDonald’s big hit came first, a two-run homer in the fifth that tied the game at two. The Red Sox then took a lead the next inning, but the Twins responded when Nishioka knocked in one with a double. The Red Sox won the game on a David Ortiz swinging bunt with the bases loaded in the seventh. Phil Dumatriat, coming off the mound to field the ball, tripped over his own two feet.
Adrian Gonzalez: 2 for 4, 1 2B. He has yet to homer in August, though that was his third double.
Moving the Needle: Troy Tulowitzki homers to give the Rockies a lead in the fourth, +.240 WPA. Dontrelle Willis tripled home a run in the second, and apparently Tulo couldn’t let that stand. He came up with a man on and two out sin the fourth, and send a Willis offering skyward, giving the Rockies a 2-1 lead. The Reds did come back to tie it, but the Rockies picked up another run in the fifth. That ended the scoring for the evening.
Dontrelle Willis: 8 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 10 K. That’s quite a game, three runs or not. Plus, his triple makes his appearance even more valuable. The last time he struck out 10 in a game was August 14th, 2007.
Esmil Rogers: 6 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 6 K. That’ll help bring down that 6+ ERA.
Moving the Needle: John Bucks’ three-run shot ties the game in the seventh, +.400 WPA. Down 3-0 in the seventh, the Marlins walked twice amid their two outs. That brought up Buck, who demolished a pitch all the way to the back of the seats in left. The Marlins had a chance to go ahead in the next inning, as they loaded up the bases with one out. But two strikeouts ended that threat. The Braves finally got back on the board in the 11th before handing the ball to Craig Kimbrel in the bottom half.
Martin Prado: 4 for 6, 1 HR. He drove in three runs, including the winning one.
Mike Stanton: 1 for 2, 3 BB. The intentional walk was big. It came in the eighth, after a double steal. That took the bat out of his hands, obviously, and then the next two hitters struck out.
Moving the Needle: Alex Gordon grounds into a double play to end the third, -.096 WPA. The Rays took a 2-0 lead before recording an out, and held that lead throughout the game. In the third the Royals did make some noise, putting the first two runners on. But a botched bunt and then Gordon’s double play killed their chances. They again put men on in the fourth, but had their rally squelched.
James Shields: 9 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K. He squeaked out of some trouble early on, and then cruised, retiring 13 of the final 14 batters he faced (with a double play to kill the one base runner).
Evan Longoria: 2 for 3, 1 HR. He drove in all four runs for the Rays.
Moving the Needle: Ruben Tejada draws a bases loaded walk to give the Mets the lead, +.260 WPA. Down 4-2 heading into the eighth, the Mets got started right when Angel Pagan led off with a homer. Two singles, a sacrifice, and an intentional walk loaded the bases, and then Nick Evans tied up the game with a sac fly. Another walk followed, re-loading the bases, and then Tejada worked the count full before working his own free pass to put the Mets on top.
Jesus Guzman: 2 for 4, 2 2B. That’s a 10 game hit streak, seven of which comprised multiple hits.
Moving the Needle: Yorvit Torrealba’s double ties the game in the eighth, +.312 WPA. A flurry of runs scored in the first three innings, and the Mariners emerged with a 6-3 lead. The Rangers picked up a pair on a homer in the seventh, and then in the eighth a walk and stolen base set up Torrealba, whose opposite field double brought around the tying run. They walked off an inning later, scoring before recording an out.
Ian Kinsler: 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 BB. The homer was huge, a two-run shot that got the Rangers to within one. The walk led off the ninth. He eventually scored the winning run.
Adam Kennedy: 2 for 4, 1 3B. He drove in three. What’s also notable is how greatly his production has dropped. On June 10th he was hitting .289/.331/.453. Since then he’s hit .199/.247/.295.
Moving the Needle: Casey McGehee doubles to break the tie, +.217 WPA. The game was tied after nine, but it wouldn’t stay that way much longer. In the 10th the Brewers got a pair of singles ahead of McGeehee, whose double brought home the first run. Yuniesky Betancourt followed up with a sac fly to give the Brewers some insurance on their way to a win in what is now a less tight NL Central race.
Nyjer Morgan: 2 for 4, 1 3B. The single was the bigger hit, though, as it led to the go-ahead run in the 11th.
Corey Hart: 1 for 4, 1 HR. He drove in a pair earlier in the game.
Moving the Needle: Josh Willingham’s two-run homer gives the A’s a lead, +.283 WPA. An Edwin Encarnacion homer gave the Jays an early lead, but in the sixth Willingham returned the favor and then some. His two-run shot put the A’s ahead. Kurt Suzuki followed up with one of his home in the seventh, giving the A’s some insurance.
Rich Harden: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 8 K. His medicals might never look good, but boy can that guy throw a gem when he’s on.
Moving the Needle: Trent Oeltjen grounds into a double play to clear the bases in the eighth, -.142 WPA. Down 2-0 in the eighth, the Dodgers had a reason for optimism when Eugenio Velez walked to open the inning. But after a failed bunt attempt Oeltjen grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, completely deflating the Dodgers. They did score in the 9th, however, though they didn’t get quite close enough.
Cliff Lee: 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K. He also hit a homer.
Ted Lilly: 8 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K. That’s a good looking line. You know, except the part about allowing a homer to the opposing pitcher.
Moving the Needle: Chris Stewart homers to extend the Giants lead, +.109 WPA. The Giants chipped away at the Pirates, scoring a run in the fourth, then the fifth, and then the sixth before breaking out for another three in the eighth. Stewart was in the middle of things, homering to lead off the fifth, giving the Giants a 2-0 lead. Not that they’d need it; the Pirates got little accomplished at the plate.
Madison Bumgarner: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K.
Aubrey Huff: 3 for 4, 1 2B, 1 HR. That’s one helluva bounce, dead cat. That’s his second double digit strikeout game of the year. He’s struck out 19 in his last two starts (15 IP).
Joe also writes about the Yankees at River Ave. Blues.