|Highest WPA||Lowest WPA|
|Rafael Perez||.364||Masa Kobayashi||-.329|
|Cliff Lee||.236||Ryan Garko||-.036|
|Kelly Shoppach||.072||Ben Francisco||-.033|
I'm glad the Indians won the game, but this one shouldn't have been that close.
Livan Hernandez was like a reinforced pinata tonight, doling out juicy singles and doubles with each whack, but never entirely disintegrating. Several times it would have taken one key hit to blow the whole outing apart, but instead the Indians missed the knockout blow. Give him credit for somehow sticking together for eight innings, but also point to several wasted opportunities.
Cliff Lee was awesome yet again. It's been a surreal season for Cliff, from just making the team to having the best pitching month I've ever seen from an Indians pitcher, to starting the All-Star Game, and now a, if not the, frontrunner for the AL Cy Young. Prior to tonight's game, Lee trailed Roy Halladay by one PRC (Halladay has a considerable lead in innings pitched). But his record (14-2) will resonate more with the voters than any accurate measure of a pitcher's worth.
But even with Lee's strong eight innings, it took a stellar escape from Rafael Perez to preserve a win for him. Masa Kobayashi, who's been very inconsistent in save opportunities, gave up three straight hits to open the ninth, including a two-run homer and a double. After the double, Eric Wedge pulled Kobayashi (who hasn't yet earned the total confidence that being a Proven Closer entails) and brought in his best reliever, Rafael Perez. The Indians, thanks to positioning, a little range, and some luck, got through the inning without letting Delmon Young score.
An update on Carlos Gomez, who had to be carted off the field on a stretcher after making a fine catch in left center:
Gomez returned to Progressive Field about 10 minutes after the Twins lost 5-4. He felt fortunate to be back.
"I never had so much pain in my life," said Gomez, who walked gingerly into the clubhouse. "When it happened, I was scared. I didn't know what I did, but I thought I broke something. I ran into it full speed."
He said an MRI exam was negative.