17 April 2009

Broxton Brings Serenity, Excitement: Game 11 Unfair Win Shares

I never got frustrated by all the runners the Dodgers left in scoring position through the first six innings. Normally I would. But the Dodgers entered on a five game winning streak, and more importantly, I know this is a good team. This is a deep team with a varied and unpredictable offensive attack. That is the difference that brings serenity. You can't count them out when they are down only three.

I think De La Rosa made a lot of good pitches when he had to. I don't think the Dodger hitters who failed with runners in scoring position had a whole lot to work with. Sometimes a guy just beats you. Sometimes a guy makes the most ridiculous overthrow I've ever seen in my life and then still beats you. It would have served him right to give up some runs after that sailing, complacent throw on Wolf's weak comebacker, but baseball is a game where things often get served wrong instead. Bloopers are hits, liners are outs. Pierre makes 10 million, Ethier makes 3 million. It happens.

Wolf was better than De La Rosa. Wolf pitched like a guy who means it when he claims to be the Dodgers second starter. ( Probably he doesn't claim this, but that's technically the position in the rotation he's in. ) There was that first inning, and then there were 5 frames of Kershaw-ball. That's a great recovery. Wolf got the win last time around and doesn't this time, but this was the better pitched game. I say that, and yet last start I awarded him 2 unfair win shares and this time he's not getting a single one. Well, they are unfair. And the first inning does count. And there is the matter of the man whose name they whisper in fear: Broxton.

But first, a diversion, so that Broxton gets the final word. Furcal will get the only spare unfair win share, for his stellar defensive play and for starting the seventh inning rally. Defense and rally starting win ballgames. Those are two of the three things that baseball is all about. The third is clutch pitching.

The Rockies didn't have clutch pitching. That's why Embree and Belisle will get some unfair loss shares. And Iannetta too, who struck out three times, the last time with the bases loaded, when his teammates needed him to do better. But the man whose name they only whisper in fear stood in his way: Broxton.

I have very little to say about what Broxton did. If you saw it, you know. Even the umpire seemed intimidated: his tiny strike zone for Kuo inexplicably seemed to expand for Broxton, especially on strike two to Tulowitzki. If you saw it, and were rooting for the Dodgers, it was the best part of the night. It should have been. The tying run was at third, and the go-ahead run, the heartbreaking run, was at second, 127 feet from home. It might as well have been a thousand feet. Broxton stood in his way.

Kuo brought the frustration that I had avoided all night, through every aborted Dodger rally. Broxton brought back serenity, and also excitement, all at once. That's an amazing feat. He gets one unfair win share for each.

Unfair Win Shares ( Dodgers )

Broxton -- 2
Furcal -- 1

Unfair Loss Shares ( Rockies )

Belisle -- 1
Embry -- 1
Iannetta -- 1

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