Thursday, July 3, 2014

Game of the Day (7/2/14)

Indians 5, Dodgers 4. Cleveland's Trevor Bauer came up through the Arizona farm system as a much-hyped prospect, but has struggled to stick in the majors over parts of three seasons. LA's Hyun-jin Ryu, meanwhile, was a mildly-discussed import from Korea before the 2013 season, and has pitched a year and a half of excellent ball for the Dodgers.

Ryu worked around an Asdrubal Cabrera double and an error by Carlos Triunfel that put Michael Brantley on in the first inning; Bauer allowed a hit to AJ Ellis, but nothing else. Lonnie Chisenhall singled in the top of the second, and after that, nobody on either team reached until Ryu's hit in the bottom of the third.

Cleveland opened the scoring in the fourth on a Yan Gomes single and a Ryan Raburn homer. Bauer was perfect in the bottom of the inning, and the Indians had a chance to extend their lead in the fifth when Cabrera doubled and Carlos Santana singled, but Cabrera was thrown out at home on the single to end the inning. The missed opportunity allowed the Dodgers to claim the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Miguel Rojas singled, Ryu doubled him home, Dee Gordon and Ellis both walked to load the bases, and Andre Ethier hit a go-ahead two-run single.

Gomes reached on an error in the top of the sixth, and Rojas singled to chase Bauer in the bottom of the inning, but both runners were left on. Ryu threw a perfect seventh, while Bryan Shaw allowed a Yasiel Puig pinch single and walked Ethier in the bottom of the inning before stranding both men.

Brian Wilson took the mound in the eighth and quickly walked Brantley and Santana. Gomes struck out, but pinch hitter David Murphy singled in the tying run, and a Matt Kemp error on the play allowed Santana and Murphy to move to third and second, respectively. Chisenhall was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Mike Aviles proceeded to single in two runs to put the Indians in front 5-3. JP Howell replaced Wilson and retired the next two hitters, and the Dodgers drew closer in the bottom of the inning when Scott Van Slyke homered against Scott Atchison. Chris Perez threw a 1-2-3 ninth, and Cody Allen walked Hanley Ramirez and allowed an Ethier double that put the tying run at third before Kemp flied out to end the game.

Of the nine runs that were scored in this game, eight of them were driven in by players with OBPs of .320 or lower (incidentally, I would not have predicted Scott Van Slyke to have a .415 OBP); five of them were from bats at .286 or worse. Most notable, of course, was Hyun-jin Ryu's RBI with a .194 mark - which is actually not bad for a pitcher; Ryu already has 18 hits, five doubles, seven RBI, and nine runs scored in a year and a half in the majors, all entirely respectable totals for a moundsman at the plate.

The good day for bad players was just enough to make this the best game of the day; it's also just enough to push the Indians over the top as the most exciting team of 2014 to date (they currently lead the Pirates by 1.06 WPL and the Marlins by 1.89, with all three teams having played the same number of games, so the lead could change hands again today easily enough).

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