Trying something a little different today. I think I like this better for the weekends.
FridayIndians 5, Mariners 4. The Mariners had a 4-2 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth, but Brandon League blew it again. A pair of doubles cut the lead to 4-3, and then, with two outs, Travis Hafner channeled his inner Pronk and blasted a two-run homer to dead center.
The rest of this series got washed out, which is always a pain with a non-division opponent.
Also in this issue: Blue Jays over Twins | Braves over Phillies | Red Sox over Yankees | Reds over Cardinals | White Sox over A’s | Padres over Rockies | Orioles over Rays | Mets over Astros | Rangers over Angels | Diamondbacks over Dodgers | Brewers over Pirates | Marlins over Nationals | Giants and Cubs split a pair | Tigers over Royals
FridayPhillies 5, Braves 4. A Raul Ibanez double in the eighth broke a 4-4 tie and gave the Phillies the victory in the opener. After taking over for an injured Brandon Beachy, Cristhian Martinez not only pitched four perfect innings, but he also hit a two-run double that tied the game at three in the fifth.
Saturday: Braves 5, Phillies 3. Martin Prado and David Ross can duke it out for the WPA winner in this one, as both of their RBI hits added 10.2% to the Braves’ win expectancy. Prado led off the bottom of the first with a homer, while Ross added an RBI single in the sixth to put the Braves up by two. Of course, Prado wins the tiebreaker, because he drove in another two, including Ross, later that inning, giving the Braves a 5-1 lead. Jair Jurrjens continues his stellar pitching with 7.1 innings of two-run ball, including six strikeouts.
Sunday: Braves 3, Phillies 2. John Mayberry‘s sixth inning homer put the Phillies up 2-1, but the Braves fought back. A sac fly in the bottom of the inning tied the game, and Dan Uggla’s eighth inning homer put them over the top. Both Roy Halladay and Tim Hudson had starts that looked good for most starters, but were kinda meh for them.
Tigers over Royals, 2 games to 0
FridayTigers 3, Royals 1. Austin Jackson hit a leadoff home run, which moved the needle further than any other hit in the game. It was his third home run of the year, though he’s still sporting a .288 OBP and a matching wOBA. Justin Verlander pitched eight innings of two-hit ball, striking out seven and walking three.
Saturday: Tigers 3, Royals 0. There wasn’t much WPA movement in this, as the Tigers struck big in the first. They scored three runs, all on singles. Credit Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and Jhonny Peralta with the RBI, and further credit Brad Penny for holding the Royals scoreless in his eight innings of work (in which he struck out only two). Jeff Francis settled down and finished the game for the Royals.
Cubs and Giants split two games
FridayCubs 11, Giants 4. Aubrey Huff did his best for the Giants, singling home the first run and then doubling home another in the fifth. But by the seventh the Cubs had taken over. Darwin Barney’s RBI double that inning got the ball rolling for the Cubs. Ryan Dempster struck out 11 in his six innings.
Saturday: Giants 3, Cubs 0. This was a WPA swing of ineptitude, though the rain made it look worse ex post facto. Koyie Hill grounded out with a runner on first to end the sixth, leaving the score at 3-0 Giants. That was, as it turns out, the last out of the game — and of the series. Buster Posey provided the high WPA mark when he singled home a run in the first. Ryan Vogelsong pitched all six innings for the Giants, striking out seven. If you don’t think you’re reading about him today, you’re nuts.
Blue Jays over Twins, 3 games to 0
FridayBlue Jays 2, Twins 0. This one was scoreless through six, but the Blue Jays got right to work in the seventh. A single, stolen base, and walk set up Juan Rivera’s tie-breaking single. Jose Bautista was the one who walked there, and he added a homer in the ninth. Checklist complete. Ricky Romero pitched eight scoreless innings, striking out eight and walking three.
Saturday: Blue Jays 9, Twins 3. Hey, guess what! Jose Bautista homered again. His two-run shot in the 11th broke a 3-3 tie and left the Twins reeling. He also walked, so, again, checklist complete. Jo Jo Reyes extended his winless streak, while Nick Blackburn somehow struck out eight in 7.2 innings. Bautista was not one of them.
Sunday: Blue Jays 11, Twins 3. Aaron Hill’s two-run double in the first staked the Jays to the lead they needed. Of course, Jose Bautista stole the show with three homers, though he did not walk. I think the homers make up for it, though. Let’s consider this checklist complete on account of that thorough ass kicking.
Reds over Cardinals, 3 games to 0
FridayReds 6, Cardinals 5. Edgar Renteria went from goat to hero in this one. In the fifth he came up with the bases loaded and two outs, his team down 3-0, and struck out. It was 5-2 when he came up again in the seventh, but this time he doubled home a pair of runs to cut the Cardinals lead to 5-4. In the ninth he led off with a double and scored the tying run on a Brandon Phillips single. Then, in the 10th, he walked with two outs, which brought Joey Votto to the plate. He ended it right there.
Saturday: Reds 7, Cardinals 3. Brandon Phillips provided the single high WPA mark with his second-inning homer that started the scoring. But Ramon Hernandez hit solo homers in the third and fifth, so he gets a mention, too. Johnny Cueto threw some quality innings, allowing three runs through 7.2. And no, I do not care that they’re unearned. It’s a silly distinction anyway.
Sunday: Reds 9, Cardinals 7. Scott Rolen was the man in this one, singling home the tying run — though with a little help from an error — and then tripling to bring home another. Lance Berkman did his part by hitting his 11th homer, though he did strike out to end the game. The tying run was on first. Then again, he only had a shot because Aroldis Chapman recorded only one out while walking four during his appearance.
FridayRed Sox 5, Yankees 4. A pair of homers defined this one. Russell Martin‘s two-run blast in the fifth tied the game at two, but then, in the seventh, Kevin Youkilis’s three-run homer put the Red Sox ahead for good. The Yanks mounted a rally in the eighth, but couldn’t come through. They also had the winning run at the plate in the ninth, but the game ended on a pop out.
Saturday: Red Sox 6, Yankees 0. Jacoby Ellsbury’s bases loaded double did the trick in this one. It’s not as though the Yankees were going to score a run anyway. Adrian Gonzalez did add a three-run homer for good measure, though. Josh Beckett continued his dominance of the Yankees, striking out nine in six innings. He’d have gone longer, but those strikeouts upped his pitch total. Plus, I mean, they were up 6-0 at the time.
Sunday: Red Sox 7, Yankees 5. The Yankees actually took a lead, but Youkilis answered with a game-tying three-run shot in the third. David Ortiz homered to put them ahead, and the Yanks just couldn’t make up the difference.
Padres over Rockies, 2 games to 1
FridayRockies 12, Padres 7. Carlos Gonzalez’s triple, on which he scored due to an error, proved the high WPA mark in this one, though the Rockies on offense pretty much dominated anyway. Cameron Maybin hit two homers for the Padres, while Troy Tulowitzki added one for the Rox.
Saturday: Padres 9, Rockies 7. Brad Hawpe’s not quite dead. His ninth-inning, two-run homer broke a 7-7 tie and capped a two-inning rally that had the Padres coming back from a 7-6 deficit. Hawpe’s still not out of the woods, but his wOBA is up to .285, which is a considerable improvement.
Sunday: Padres 8, Rockies 2. In the fourth, Ryan Ludwick took Jason Hammel deep to bring home three, putting the Padres on top. They wouldn’t lose the lead the rest of the way. Mat Latos was decent, throwing 5.2 innings of one-run ball, striking out five and walking three. He hasn’t pitched past the sixth since April 16.
White Sox over A’s, 2 games to 1
FridayWhite Sox 4, A’s 3. The A’s had the high WPA mark when David DeJesus singled home a run to make it a two-run game in the seventh. That set them up with first and third with none out, and they got another on a sac fly. Unfortunately, DeJesus then got picked off, ending the threat.
Saturday: A’s 6, White Sox 2. Despite the 6-2 loss the White Sox had both the high and low WPA marks. The low came in the fourth, when the Sox were set up with runners on second and third with one out. But Paul Konerko lined one right at Daric Barton, who fired to third and doubled off Alexei Ramirez. The high came earlier that inning, when Adam Dunn doubled to set up that second and third situation. The A’s, meanwhile, built their lead in the second and fifth. Konerko got some redemption in the sixth with a two-run shot.
Sunday: White Sox 4, A’s 3. Josh Willingham came to the plate with the tying run on third and two outs in the ninth, but could only put the ball on the ground. That ended the game for the A’s. They also had the high WPA mark on Coco Crisp’s game-tying homer in the fifth. Singles and sac flies and errors told most of the stories for the ChiSox. Trevor Cahill struck out only one in his seven innings while allowing four to score.
Mets over Astros, 2 games to 1
Saturday: Astros 7, Mets 3. The Astros got things started early, picking up four in the first. Brett Wallace drove home the second one with a double, which represented the high WPA mark in the game. The Mets got as close as 4-2, but that was about as exciting as this one got.
Sunday: Mets 7, Astros 4. Justin Turner came through with a two-run double in the fifth, tying the game at two. Jason Pridie then came through with the go-ahead hit in the same inning. He scored on a double steal. Chris Capuano again turned in a solid performance, though he lasted only five innings.
Orioles over Rays, 2 games to 1
FridayRays 3, Orioles 0. Matt Joyce knocked a two-run shot in the second, which was all the Rays needed. Johnny Damon added one for good measure in the eighth, his sixth of the season. He hit only eight in 539 PA last season. Both pitchers went the distance, with Jeremy Hellickson picking up the complete game shutout, striking out only three, while Jeremy Guthrie struck out five in his eight innings.
Saturday: Orioles 6, Rays 0. Mark Reynolds went deep in the fifth to give the O’s a 2-0 lead, though Vladimir Guerrero’s first inning double provided all the runs they would need. Credit Brad Bergesen with the complete game shutout, which included five strikeouts and 13 ground balls.
Sunday: Orioles 9, Rays 3. The O’s crushed the Rays like bugs in this one. They got a big boost in the fifth when Nick Markakis extended their lead with a solo homer, but really put the game on ice when J.J. Hardy hit a grand slam in the sixth. That’s Hardy’s second homer of the year in just 45 PA. Jake Arrieta struck out seven in six innings of work.
Diamondbacks over Dodgers, 2 games to 1
FridayDodgers 4, Diamondbacks 3. As I like to say in these situations, Rod Barajas did the only thing he really knows how to do well. His fifth inning solo homer broke a scoreless tie. Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier would also add RBI hits, while Clayton Kershaw struck out 11 in seven scoreless innings.
Saturday: Diamondbacks 1, Dodgers 0. Matt Kemp’s game-ending double play was far and away the low WPA mark here, as the Dodgers had runners on first and second at the time. The only run of the game scored on a sac fly. Chad Billingsley went eight, striking out as many, while the Diamondbacks got six two-hit innings out of Josh Collmenter. Writing this feature every day gives me a good idea of each team’s roster, but even now I’m asking, who?
Sunday: Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 1. The second inning proved definitive for the Diamondbacks, as they picked up three runs on a pair of homers. Xavier Nady knocked a two-run blast, his first of the season. Later in the inning Ryan Roberts clubbed his seventh of the year. The dude’s wOBA is still over .400, at .413. Ian Kennedy provided the ammo on the hill, allowing one run and striking out eight through six innings.
Rangers over Angels, 2 games to 1
FridayRangers 4, Angels 1. The teams combined for three solo homers, but the biggest WPA swing came when Peter Bourjos grounded into a double play in the fifth while the score was still 2-1. They’d squander two on, one out situations in both the sixth and seventh. Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre homered for the Rangers, while Alexi Ogando struck out five in 6.1 IP.
Saturday: Angels 3, Rangers 2. Maicer Izturis came through with an RBI single to break a 2-2 tie in the ninth, sending the Angels to their only victory of the series. Alberto Callaspo did his part, too, twice doubling home a run. Dan Haren was his normal awesome self, pitching 7.2 innings and allowing just two runs while walking none and striking out five.
Sunday: Rangers 5, Angels 4. Adrian Beltre’s three-run knock in the third gave the Rangers a lead, and while Erick Aybar did all he could to bring the Angels back — his homer and then two-RBI single tied the gam at 4 — the Angels just couldn’t fend off the Rangers.
Brewers over Pirates, 3 games to 0
FridayBrewers 5, Pirates 2. Ronny Cedeno actually did something! His two-run shot in the fourth tied the game at two. Of course, the Brewers came back in the bottom half and pummeled James McDonald, so that was the end of that. The homer was the only damage Yovani Gallardo surrendered through six.
Saturday: Brewers 8, Pirates 2. Prince Fielder’s fourth-inning homer was the biggest positive WPA swing of the game, but both Neil Walker and Jonathan Lucroy grounded into hurtful double plays for the Pirates. Those were really their only chances, as both came while the score was still 2-1.
Sunday: Brewers 9, Pirates 6. There were plenty of runs to choose from in this one, but it was Lucroy’s two-run blast that gave the Brewers the lead they needed. Ryan Braun added a triple and a homer. Zack Greinke allowed five runs in five innings while striking out five. He’ll come around soon enough.
Marlins over Nationals, 2 games to 1
FridayMarlins 6, Nationals 5. Laynce Nix tied the game for the Nats in the bottom of the eight, but they couldn’t get another in extras. Greg Dobbs provided the definitive hit in the 11th, doubling home a run. Logan Morrison homered in his return from the DL.
Saturday: Marlins 1, Nationals 0. Mike Stanton hit a long home run that proved the difference — and the entire offense — in this one. Anibal Sanchez gave the Marlins another high quality outing, lasting eight innings and striking out nine while allowing three hits.
Sunday: Nationals 8, Marlins 4. Laynce Nix got things started with an RBI single in the first, which started a six-run inning that would ultimately bury the Marlins. How many more starts are they going to give Javier Vazquez? In any case, Jason Marquis got the job done considering the circumstances, allowing four runs through 6.2.
Joe also writes about the Yankees at River Ave. Blues.