Friday, April 1, 2011

April 1: White Sox 15, Indians 10

I know everyone is going to piss a fit about the Sox bullpen allowing a 14-run lead melt to 5 over the course of the final 4 innings, but a quick look at the game WPA graph shows the truth, the Tribe were never in this game. Their WPA was under 1% from the 4th inning on, and only hit 0.5% for one at bat, Shin Soo-Choo's inning-ending strikeout in the 8th inning.

Needless to say, the Sox offense looked phenomenal today, mercilessly pounding Fausto Carmona and Justin Germano. While the stats look ugly for the bullpen; 0.2 IP, 3 R for Will Ohman, for example, here's the one that sticks out to me: 1 walk. That's how you pitch when you have a big lead. You throw strikes, you don't mess around the corners, and you force the other team to make a comeback. Give the Indians credit, they made things a lot more interesting than I expected, and the fact that Matt Thornton had to get up and start warming maybe is a moral victory, but in the end, it would have taken a monumental comeback at basically any point in this game after the 4th inning.

White Sox MVP: Adam Dunn may be the traditional storyline today, it was his White Sox debut, and he was classic Adam Dunn; striking out with 2 on in the 1st and hitting a towering home run in his next at bat, but Carlos Quentin quietly had a huge day at the plate, posting a .166 WPA fueled by two of the biggest hits today for the Sox, his 2-out RBI single in the 1st was huge and then his 2-run homer in the 3rd turned this game into a blow-out.

White Sox LVP: Not hard to pinpoint this one, when your team pounds out 18 hits and you account for 0? Sorry, Alex Rios (-.075)

Indians MVP & LVP: Carlos Santana was the diamond in the rough for the Tribe, who went 3-5 with a HR, 3 RBI, and 2 R. How did they get this guy for Casey Blake? Shin-Soo Choo is your losing side LVP, posting a -.056 WPA, almost all thanks to one at-bat, his inning-ending double play in the 1st (-.051). By the time he stepped to the plate again, the Sox had opened up a 14-run lead and anything he did would have been essentially meaningless.

Looking Ahead: The 2nd game of the series is tomorrow afternoon at 12 o'clock Chicago time. Edwin Jackson, who was identified as a break-out candidate by MLB Rumor's Tim Dierkes, totes the rubber for the first time in 2011 against 24-year-old Carlos Carrasco, who will be making his 13th career start.


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