20 June 2009

Six battles: Game 68 Unfair Loss Shares

There are many individual battles in a baseball game. Some are predictable and resolve with the expected result. Some come out of nowhere and change the course of the game. Some are surprising in the moment they happen, but ultimately inconsequential. And some are regrettable even before they happen, and then after, when the feared result has come to pass? It is a Greek tragedy, with fate, hubris, and wasted opportunity.

Here are six battles that mattered.

Blake v. Aybar, bottom of the second inning

With the bases loaded Aybar hits a foul bloop down the third base line. Blake makes a diving catch. Blake wins, and the Dodgers stay tied.

Statement of the loser:

That's not even fair. My battle wasn't with him. It was with Billingsley, and I was winning. He came out of nowhere, man. That was just a little foul off. That shouldn't be an out. That was like a sucker-punch. Yeah. Blake sucker-caught me.

Statement of the winner:

Yep, I sucker-caught him. That'll teach him wander into the Blake zone with that weak $&^%.

Furcal v. Saunders, top of the fifth inning

Furcal smashes a Saunders pitch into the seats for a two-run home run. Furcal wins, and puts the Dodgers into commanding position.

Statement of the loser:

What's Furcal doing hitting a home run? Our scouting report said he had been injected with Juan Pierre DNA and was now weak as a kitten. I want a do-over.

Statement of the winner:

I sure hit that ball far, didn't I? It was going like a Boeing.

Billingsley v. Izturis, bottom of the sixth inning

Little Maicer Izturis singles in two runs off of Billingsley with the bases loaded. Billingsley loses and the Dodgers are nearly caught by the Angels.

Statement of the loser:

I wasn't beat by Izturis. I was beat by all the damn walks I gave up in that inning. I was beat by our sudden lack of bullpen depth that started with something as small as a dinged toe and turned into most of our good relievers being unavailable last night. I wasn't just running on fumes; I was being pushed up the hill. But there was no one to bring in.

Statement of the winner:

Were too beat by me. I am the greatest hitter in the world!

Pierre v. Speier, top of the eighth inning

Pierre slaps a foul ball down the left field line to where a perfectly placed fielder has an easy catch. Pierre loses, and the Dodgers open the door for the Angels to take the game.

Statement of the winner:

It was great, getting a battle with Pierre in that situation. Even though the bases were loaded I wasn't worried. He's a slap hitter. Rivera was perfectly placed to catch the pathetic slap the other way. I just had to make the pitch and let it happen. I wish all the batters I faced were that easy.

Statement of the loser:

I just did my thing and the fielder happened to get there to make the play. I'll get them next time.

Mota v. Rivera, bottom of the eighth inning

Rivera clubs a line drive home run off of Mota to give the Angels a 5-4 lead. The Angels walk through the door that Pierre opened. As if by fate.

Statement of the winner:

It was just a matter of time. One of us was going to hit Mota.

Statement of the loser:

It was just one bad pitch.

Hudson v. Fuentes, top of the ninth inning

With the tying run at first and no outs, Hudson purposely grounds out weakly to the pitcher. Fuentes wins the battle that was never really even contested, and the Angels go on to win the game.

Statement of the loser:

I thought I could bunt perfectly. It didn't happen.

Statement of the winner:

Man on first, no one out, some good hitters coming up, that's tough, man. It's always nice to get the easy out. It's even nicer to get the guaranteed easy out. I might have been facing a tough battle there and instead I got a walkover. I'll take it every time.

Unfair Loss Shares ( Dodgers )

Billingsley -- 1
Pierre -- 1
Mota -- 1

Unfair Win Shares ( Angels )

Fuentes -- 1
Izturis -- 1
Rivera -- 1

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