Joe Borowski WPA: -.742
This Manny Ramirez quote pretty much says all you need to know about how Joe Borowski pitched last night:
"[It was] like a fastball," Ramirez said. "It was something like 80 [mph]. Or a changeup. It was right there."
If what Joe Borowski threw to Ramirez was a fastball, then there's something wrong with him physically. If that's the case, at least there's reason to hope that Joe can regain those mphs that he's lost. If he's healthy, then he can't be the closer any longer.
"The ball just wasn't coming out of his hand like you typically see with him," manager Eric Wedge said, "and he didn't have the location he normally has."
Such concerns reek of potential arm or shoulder trouble, and Borowski did not deny that a postgame MRI exam was a possibility.
All of which points Joe not entering the game the next time a save situation presents itself. It stinks that it had to come down to this, for Borowski's velocity has been down all season - it wasn't like he was throwing faster in his first few appearances. And what if Casey Blake had been playing his normal position to start the ninth? Would all this soul-searching have occurred even if Joe had gotten the save? I would hope so.
Of course, the reason Borowski entered the game in the first place shouldn't be forgotten. Jake Westbrook, after a high-stress first, pitched very well again, getting the Indians into the seventh inning. And the offense, while still not firing on all cylinders, showed some resemblence to the patient, pitcher-devouring approach employed last year. The only problem is that they were one hit from putting the game away in the fifth; Ryan Garko and Franklin Gutierrez struck out with the bases loaded against Julian Tavarez, who to be fair had great stuff. But the opportunity was there, and they couldn't take advantage of it.