Mitch Talbot pitched his best game in months, giving up an unearned run on five hits in 6.2 innings. He was in control of at-bats, throwing quality fastball strikes early in the count and then going to his changeup (which looked really good) and slider after he got ahead in the count. I'm sure it didn't hurt that he was facing a lineup with LGFT Josh Bard hitting sixth, but his pitches looked livelier than in recent starts.
The key at-bat came in the sixth inning. Ichiro and Chone Figgins reached with two soft-hit singles, bringing up Russell Branyan with nobody out. Talbot got Branyan to swing and miss with a fastball up in the strike zone, and then retired Jose Lopez and Casey Kotchman to end the threat. Branyan would hit a home run later in the game, but it came with no one on.
Rafael Perez relieved Talbot in the seventh and allowed a run to score on an Ichiro single, and after getting out of the inning, allowed Branyan's homer and two more singles. Acta pulled him, bringing in Tony Sipp to face Kotchman and Bard. After Sipp got those two, he brought Chris Perez in to get a four-out save. I suppose with the Indians not leading much, he can use Perez for multiple-inning saves more often; had the Indians had a better record, and Perez more appearances, Acta wouldn't be doing this. Of course, had the Indians a better setup group, in either case, Perez would be strictly a one-inning guy.
|Highest WPA||Lowest WPA|
|Mitch Talbot||.245||Rafael Perez||-.274|
|PURE RAGE||.196||Matt LaPorta||-.055|
|Tony Sipp||.159||Trevor Crowe||-.031|