The Morning After: Game Recaps for July 25th by Joe Pawlikowski July 26, 2011 Indians 3, Angels 2 Moving the Needle: Bobby Abreu homers to give the Angels a lead in the eighth, +.484 WPA. The Indians’ run in the first held up through seven, but then the game got interesting. With a man on first and one out in the eighth, Vinny Pestano served Abreu a spicy meatball. He might have had only three homers coming into the game, but he knew exactly what to do with that one. Into the seats it went, giving the Angels a 2-1 lead. But in the ninth Jordan Walden blew the save, and Hisanori Takahashi, who inherited a bases loaded, one out situation, allowed the winning hit to the greenhorn Jason Kipnis, the first of his career. Notables Fausto Carmona: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K. It’s never great when you allow seven base runners in six innings. But Fausto spread them out and didn’t even get the help of a double play to get him out of it. Dan Haren: 7.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 10 K. He and Scott Downs took care of the first eight, but the Angels just couldn’t hold on for the win. Also in this issue: Royals 3, Red Sox 1 | Pirates 3, Braves 1 | White Sox 6, Tigers 3 | Mets 4, Reds 2 | Dodgers 8, Rockies 5 | Yankees 10, Mariners 3 | Padres 5, Phillies 4 | A’s 7, Rays 5 | Cardinals 10, Astros 5 | Rangers 20, Twins 6 Royals 3, Red Sox 1 Moving the Needle: Josh Reddick gets picked off third with one out in the 12th, -.294 WPA. Earlier in the game Reddick had come through, doubling home the Red Sox only run in regulation, but in extra innings he cost his team big time. With the game tied at one in the 12th he led off with a single, and then made it all the way to third when a pickoff throw went off Eric Hosmer‘s glove. But later in the same at-bat he got caught about halfway down the third base line. I can only guess that he thought the pitch had gotten by Brayan Pena. It hurt all the worse when Marco Scutaro ended up singling. The Royals finally took the lead on the ugliest squeeze bunt I have ever seen — Mike Aviles actually popped it over Adrian Gonzalez’s head at first. Notables Eric Hosmer: 3 for 5, 1 2B, 1 BB. He’s 13 for his last 25 with three doubles. Josh Reddick: 3 for 6, 2 2B. He had the only two extra base hits for the Red Sox, which I’m sure brings some mixed emotions to go along with his getting picked off. Kyle Davies: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K. That brings his ERA down to 6.75. Yikes. Pirates 3, Braves 1 Moving the Needle: Jason Heyward lines into a double play to kill the momentum, -.143 WPA. The Pirates put together a pair of runs in the second, which laid the foundation for their win last night. But the Braves certainly had their chance. The biggest one came in the third, when the Braves got a pair of singles to start the inning. That brought up Heyward, who hit one fairly hard, but right at the second baseman. He flipped to short, completing the quick, neat double play. This one hurt more than most double plays, because it eliminated the lead runner. That hurt big time, as Chipper Jones singled immediately thereafter. The Braves did get a run later, but it wasn’t nearly enough. Notables James McDonald: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K. That’s a career high in strikeouts, which is slightly more impressive because of the short span in which he accomplished it. Of course, hew as removed from the game with just one out in the sixth, because he had loaded up the bases. Credit Chris Resop for getting the final two outs in the inning. Andrew McCutchen: 1 for 2, 2 BB, 1 SB. He scored one and drove in another. White Sox 6, Tigers 3 Moving the Needle: Carlos Quentin’s double caps the rally and gives the White Sox a lead, +.218 WPA. In the fifth the White Sox put together the rally that would end up winning them the game. Alexei Ramirez tied things up with an RBI single, himself taking second on an error. An intentional walk and an earned one brought Quentin to the plate with the bases loaded, and he lined one into the left field corner and eventually into the stands for a ground rule double. Three solo homers followed, two by the Sox and one by the Tigers. Notables Mark Buehrle: 6 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K. If GM Ken Williams really does want to blow up the team, I’m sure he could fetch a bounty for Buehrle, who has a $12 million option for 2012 that automatically vests if he’s traded. Paul Konerko: 1 for 2, 1 HR. He drove in two and also scored twice himself. Mets 4, Reds 2 Moving the Needle: Daniel Murphy’s two-run double breaks the tie in the seventh, +.318 WPA. After five and a half scoreless innings the Reds finally got on the board in the sixth. They threatened for more, but the Mets got a double play to get out of the inning. Then they went to work themselves. Carlos Beltran tied the game with a sac fly, and then two batters later Murphy lined one hard to right. It went all the way to the wall, allowing both base runners to score. That gave the Mets a 3-1 lead, and they’d get another when Jason Bay — Jason Bay! — doubled. Things got scary in the ninth, as Jason Isringhausen loaded the bases, but he got a strikeout to end it and give the Mets the W. Notables R.A. Dickey: 6.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 K. He has a 2.92 ERA in 83.1 innings since May 20th, including a 7.13 K/9. Mike Leake: 6.1 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K. He has a 3.18 ERA since coming back following a mid-May demotion, including a 2.93 K/BB. Dodgers 8, Rockies 5 Moving the Needle: Andre Ethier homers to complete a three-run third, +.188 WPA. After falling behind early, the Dodgers got some big extra base hits in the third to take the lead. It started with a Rafael Furcal double and continued when Aaron Miles hit one. Ethier came up next, and be lasted one out to right to put the Dodgers ahead. they’d pick up another pair in the sixth and then threaten with the bases loaded in the seventh before breaking the game further open in the eighth. The Rockies, for their part, did put four on the board in the ninth, and had the tying run on base before Javy Guerra came in to bail out the Dodgers. Notables Aaron Miles and Rafael Furcal: both 2 for 5, 1 2B. Combined they scored three and drove in three as well, making for a fine top of the order. Rubby De La Rosa: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 5 K. Despite the 27 walks in 57.2 innings, he still has a 3.43 FIP and 3.44 xFIP. You don’t often see that from high-walk guys. Yankees 10, Mariners 3 Moving the Needle: Mark Teixeira gets the Yankees started right with a homer, +.152 WPA. If you’re on a 15-game losing streak, what’s the last thing you want to see? I’m sure there are dozens of answers here, and I’m equally sure that “opponent hits two-run homer in the first” is somewhere among them. Teixeira’s monster blast only got the Yankees started. They took advantage of sloppy play by the Mariners and some poor umpiring and put up a 10-spot, extending the Mariners’ woes by another day. Notables Derek Jeter: 2 for 5, 1 3B, 1 HR. He’s 21 for 66 with six doubles and a homer since coming off the DL (.318/.384/.455). Brett Gardner and Eduardo Nunez: both 2 for 4, 1 2B. They both scored two and drove in one, as well. Yet, surprisingly enough, they didn’t steal any bases. Padres 5, Phillies 4 Moving the Needle: Jimmy Rollins flies out ot end the game, -.140 WPA. The big inning came early, in the second, when the Padres scored four, including Chris Denorfia’s steal of home, to take a three-run lead. The highest leverage inning, though, was the ninth, when the Phillies found themselves down 5-4. Domonic Brown led off with a walk, which was the highest positive WPA swing of the game. But the next three plays took the Phillies’ WE from 32.8% all the way to zero. Carlos Ruiz sacrificed, Ross Gload struck out, and then Rollins flied out to end the game, leaving Brown stranded at second. Notables Chase Headley: 3 for 5, 1 2B. Still think they could do well by trading him. Orlando Hudson and Rob Johnson: both 2 for 4, 1 2B. Johnson came through with his, driving in a run and scoring one of his own. A’s 7, Rays 5 Moving the Needle: Conor Jackson turns the deficit into a lead with a two-run double, +.329 WPA. The Rays were up 5-2 earlier in this one, but the A’s staged a late-inning come back. Having closed it to 5-3 by the seventh, they got to within one with a walk and a pair of singles. That brought up Jackson, who whaled one deep to left-center. It made it all the way to the wall, allowing both base runners to score. That gave the A’s a lead, which they expanded on the next inning on their way to victory. Notables Cliff Pennington: 2 for 2, 1 HR, 2 BB. That’s his second homer in four games. Ben Zobrist: 3 for 4, 2 2B, 1 HR, 1 BB. He’s not so far behind Dustin Pedroia for the MLB lead for wOBA among second basemen. Cardinals 10, Astros 5 Moving the Needle: Yadier Molina‘s double sets up a big second for the Cards, +.123 WPA. After falling behind in the top of the inning, the Cardinals got their offense going in the bottom of the second. It started with a single, and then came Yadier Molina’s double to left, which set up second and third with none out. The Cards got two ground outs and a triple, resulting in three runs and a lead they would not surrender. A Carlos Lee grand slam actually got the Astros back into it later, but they wouldn’t get too close. Notables Colby Rasmus: 1 for 3, 1 HR, 1 BB. He drove in three and scored twice. He, Molina, and Nick Punto combined to score seven runs and drive in six. Kyle McClellan: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K. Someone doesn’t want to lose his rotation spot later this week. Rangers 20, Twins 6 Moving the Needle: Michael Young starts early with a two-run homer, +.130 WPA. What’s more interesting then the high WPA mark in this game is that it got to 100% in the seventh. It actually hit 99% in the fourth inning, which might be even more remarkable. But yes, they played the final two innings with the WE at 100% for the Rangers. If there were ever criteria for a mercy rule in MLB, I think that would work fine enough. Notables Ian Kinsler: 4 for 6, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 BB. He drove in four, which led the team. Nelson Cruz: 4 for 6, 2 2B. Mike Napoli, Mitch Moreland, and Endy Chavez: combined 10 for 16, 2 2B, 2 BB. They also scored eight times and drove in five. They were the bottom three in the order, and they really came through.