Saturday, June 25, 2011

6/25/11 Chicago Cubs 2, Kansas City Royals 3

Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Game 2 of 3

Chris Getz: from “Toad” to “Hero” in less than 24 hours…

In Game 2 of the “yin-yang series” (my post of Game 1 sheds more light on this) the ‘toad’ of Game 1, Chris Getz, becomes the ‘hero’ of Game 2…or is Jeff Samardzija really the ‘toad’ of Game 2?

Danny Duffy (who will later become better known as #PulledPork) faces Carlos Zambrano in the highest-attendance game at Kauffman Stadium since Opening Day 2011. Duffy stays in the game past the 6th inning for the first time in 9 career starts, but leaves the game in a no-decision deadlock with Zambrano, each allowing 2 runs apiece after 7 innings of work.

Alex Gordon makes a Gold Glove worthy outfield assist in the 3rd inning, allowing Matt Treanor to catch Reed Johnson at home plate…Johnson’s run would have been the first of the game, and probably would have been the difference for the Cubs later on.

The Royals get on the board first, with RBI singles by Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler in the 5th inning. Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto respond by touching Duffy for 2 back-to-back HR in the 6th; Soto’s blast will be important in later innings.

With the score tied at 2 apiece in the 8th, lefty John Grabow starts the inning in relief of Zambrano; Grabow only faces Gordon, with a one-pitch flyout to RF, and is lifted in favor of the Shark. Enter Jeff Samardzija, who offers bases-on-balls to Jeff Francoeur (pinch-hitting for Mitch Maier) and Mike Moustakas (Francoeur steals second during Moustakas’ PA)…with only one out in the inning, Jeff is unable to end it here, and faces Wilson Betemit (pinch-hitting for Matt Treanor). With the count 2-2, Samardzija lobs an 86-mph high and outside pitch to Soto that gets away; the doofus pitch is scored as a passed ball that allows Francoeur to advance to 3rd and suddenly, this game is on the line for the Cubs.

I still question the PB scoring, and only do so because of how high and how outside this potato was; Soto covered a great deal of ground to receive the pitch, therefore, one might disagree and have a valid basis for disagreement…however, let’s just stick with the PB ruling for now…

Soto’s passed ball might have been the move that cost the Cubs the game, but with Gordon’s earlier assist and Soto’s own solo HR to erase this run, the error (by no fault of its own) cancels that HR out and Soto’s game account is even. Technically, Baseball-Reference’s Box Score
credits Soto with a WPA of 0.073, higher than any other Cub in the lineup (even higher than Ramirez’ WPA of 0.052); despite the PB it’s hard to make a claim that Soto blew the game.

Let’s get back to the game…Betemit is still at the plate, and Samardzija strikes him out. 2 down, 2 on, and 2 in scoring position. Chris “The Toad” Getz works a 2-2 count from the Shark before hitting a dribbler that banks off Samardzija’s glove, allowing Francoeur to score. Getz’ WPA is 0.177, that of a “Hero,” not a “Toad,” and Joakim Soria strikes out the side in the top of the 9th, bringing the Royals a well-earned win and tying the “yin-yang” series 1-1.

Incidentally, Francoeur’s timely BB after working a full count, SB, and winning run scored yielded in the Royals’ highest player WPA for the game, 0.199.

Alex Gordon continues his consecutive hit streak at 12 games, Starlin Castro continues his at 9 games.

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