04 June 2009

Game 55 Unfair Win Shares

The Troncuilizer

Take a moment to appreciate Troncoso, the Troncuilizer. He faced adversity in the eighth inning last night, after Upton hit a rolling glue ball to Castro that he couldn't release from his glove. Hit, they called it, but I still wanted to see the throw, see Upton beat the throw, see the call of safe, if that was to be. It was a good pitch, and from it came the ground ball that the Troncuilizer works for. But still, that fast man was at first base, and they said it was Troncoso's fault, and I guess they had to. Base hit, and an earned run at first base, a blown save at first base, the beginning of a loss at first base, and he's fast. Upton is fast and strong and everything else you want a ballplayer to be. He's the Snakes' redemption for all the failed prospects before him, Young and Drew who can't hit, Quentin who was given up on, Jackson who has tumbled. Upton trumps them all. And he was at first, the ace of trumps standing at first, ready to steal second. At least he couldn't hit another grand slam from first base.

And so Troncoso had a two front battle against Upton at first and Drew at the plate. Troncoso must have paid at least as much attention to Upton as to Drew. When Drew struck out Upton was still at first. Maybe it wasn't just Troncoso, maybe they held Upton back. Maybe they told him not to go until there's at least one out. It was a mistake, if they did, because the Reynolds the next hitter singled, and Upton would have scored from second. Instead he galloped to third. And so then, in that moment, was the time of the Snakes redemption, with their best player at third and just one out, their best chance to make a stand, tie the game, then go on to win, take two of three from the mighty Dodgers. Maybe turn their season around, if you believe in that sort of thing, and I don't know that I do, but it makes a good story. That was the Snakes chance to come out of hiding and declare themselves. Some have suggested that the Dodgers are threatening to run away and hide in the NL West. But this is wrong, this metaphor is all wrong. The Dodgers don't hide. They are ferocious, huge and fanged, and they have made every other team run away and hide. The Giants are cowering in a closet corner. The Padres are under the bed. The Rockies have flushed themselves down the toilet. But the Snakes in this series against the Dodgers, they came out into the light, they came out fighting and snarling and bristling, and they gave the Dodgers their best shot with three great pitching starts, combining for just two runs allowed in 19 innings.

With Upton at third, Reynolds at first, one out, and Troncoso not yet defeated on the mound, Montero was the batter. The count went to 2-1. Then Troncoso got a swinging strike, something that broke down, hard, something that would have been a grounder if hit, I'm sure. And right then I knew Troncoso had him. That pitch would have to linger in the back of the hitter's mind, poison his reflexes just enough on the fastball. Two foul-offs followed, and then a simple, off-balance grounder right to Furcal. Easy play. Step on second, throw --- high! --- but Loney stretched up and had it, and the double play was secure. The inning was done, and the Snakes were done. Put to sleep by the Troncuilizer. Broxton would destroy the Snakes 1-2-3 an inning later for the save, but Troncoso faced the heart of the lineup and faced adversity on Upton's glue ball single and still came through, and that was the harder and more crucial task.

Loney's Triple

Should Parra have pulled up on Loney's opposite field bloopy liner down the left field line and kept it in front of himself? Concede the single but guard against the triple? I think he should have. Garland was going strong, no reason to be so desperate for the out. That's why Parra gets a second unfair loss share on top of the first for his terrible batting. If you're going to turn a play into do-or-die, and then you die, you will be punished for it later. At the other end of the play I loved Loney's hustle in getting down to third. And hey, he's not as slow as you think, if you think he's exceptionally slow. That was a triple! ( Do you think Pierre would have hit an in-play home run if he had been the batter on that play? I say yes. )

Unfair Win Shares ( Dodgers )

Loney -- 1
Billingsley -- 1
Troncoso -- 1

Unfair Loss Shares ( Snakes )

Parra -- 2
Young -- 1

Facial Hair Share ( Snakes )

Zavada -- 1

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