I got the five runs I wanted, in the end. Those are five of the most frustrating and delirious runs I've ever seen the Dodgers score. I mean, they could have had five way before they did, but in the end, would I really want it any other way?
Game 109 Unfair Win Shares ( Dodgers )
Ethier -- 3
After the seventh inning, I considered giving Ethier an unfair loss share if the Dodgers went on to lose. Manny made the last out in that inning to strand two runners, but Ethier's failure in that inning was just as damaging. In the end I decided against giving Ethier an unfair loss share for his meek flyout in the seventh, pending further developments. The triple and run scored had to count for something, even if the triple was kind of lucky. Now if Ethier had hit into a double play in the seventh inning, he would have put himself in peril.
It's strange, but though I worried about the double play in the seventh inning when Ethier came up, I didn't even think about it in the ninth inning. It just seemed like destiny that he would hit his home run. More than any other of Ethier's walk off hits this year, I expected the one last night. It was just such a perfect, fitting ending, to leave Manny happily stranded in the on-deck circle, not even needed, as Ethier circled the bases. It was the perfect moment to pass the torch of best Dodger hitter, and it happened. Now maybe Manny is still the best, but I think it's clear now that it's not by much. You can't say it's Manny and the rest of the Dodgers anymore. No sir.
Game 109 Unfair Loss Shares ( Braves )
Soriano -- 3
I look at the Braves, and think, wow, this is a good team. They have good hitters up and down the lineup, and a solid starting staff. But they're only one game above 0.500. How can that be?
Maybe it's the bullpen, which blew the game last night. But that's not it, not really. In spite of last night's meltdown Soriano has been pretty good this year. And the Braves 'pen has a whole has been about league average.
I think the explanation is that the offense used to have plenty of holes in it, most of which they've now patched up with all of their recent acquisitions. Maybe if they had started the year with this team they would have a shot at the division, but now, they are fairly well hopelessly buried, too far back of the Phillies, too far back of the wild card, unless they really go on a tear.
Is it right to give Soriano all three unfair loss shares? Probably not. Both Prado and McCann were 0-5, and maybe if either of those hitters had done something the Braves would have entered the ninth with a much more secure lead. But the feeling of that game to me is that the Braves had held off the Dodgers through eight innings, and they had the win, they really had it. Think of all the hard work and all the escapes the Braves had through eight innings, and then it was gone just like that on one pitch. Soriano lost it all by himself on one pitch. Or maybe Ethier took it away from Soriano all by himself, but in the end it amounts to the same thing.