Sunday, April 3, 2011

April 3: Indians 7, White Sox 1

The WPA graph doesn't lie, Sunday's series finale can basically be summed up in two plays; in the top of the 4th, already leading 1-0 and with the first two batters of the inning on, Alexei Ramirez bunted into a 3-4-6 triple play worth nearly -.14 WPA and reopened the door for the Indians, who guided by Justin Masterson, kept the game close until John Danks finally made one key mistake, an 88 MPH fastball that was left dead over the heart of the plate that Orlando Cabrera crushed over the gigantic LF wall at Progressive Field. That play alone was worth .376 WPA for the Tribe, pushed their win probability north of 70% and they never looked back, bleeding 5 more runs out of Will Ohman and Matt Thornton as they salvaged the finale of this 3-game series.

White Sox MVP: Carlos Quentin is the MVP posting a .061 WPA for the day, though he owes a bit of that to Indians 3B Jack Hannahan whose throwing error on a slow, 75-foot roller off the bat of Quentin turned a tough, but not unrealistic out into essentially a double.

White Sox LVP: Alexei Ramirez, come on down! You can't bunt into a triple play without feeling the repercussions and his -.213 WPA was thanks primarily to the blunder worth -.138 on its own, but the Sox had plenty of chances to break this game open and, unlike Friday and Saturday, just could not convert. Ramirez had a few more key outs, in the 2nd and 6th innings, both times with runners in scoring position and both times inning-ending, but Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, and Alex Rios all had opportunities at various points of today's loss to drive in meaningful runs to no avail.

Mystery of John Danks' Run Support Continues: Last season, the Sox scored 4 or fewer runs for Danks in 17 of his 32 starts and 2011 was no different. Danks had a good game today, pitching 6 innings, allowing 6 hits, striking out 8 and only allowing 2 runs. 66 of his 104 pitches were strikes, but the only one that matters was the one he threw to Cabrera, that cost him 2 runs, 1 more than he could afford to allow.

Looking Ahead: The Sox are off Monday before opening a brief, 2-game series in Kansas City. Gavin Floyd makes his season debut against Luke Hochevar for the surprising 1st place Royals.


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