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Game Eighteen: Indians 8, Rangers 7 (11 Innings)

Box Score
Win Probability Graph @ Fangraphs

Highest WPA:

Fernando Cabrera .286
Shin-Soo Choo .255
Jhonny Peralta .212

Lowest WPA:

Jason Michaels -.204
Joe Borowski -.189
Aaron Fultz -.117

What an odd game. CC Sabathia cruised through five innings, then fell into a huge pothole in the sixth, coming a couple inches from surrendering a six-run lead. CC only lasted those six innings, which could have an effect for tomorrow's game, for all the primary relievers were used in trying to finish the game.

Eric Wedge has used his bench more in one month than all of last year, but in the bottom of the seventh, he made a move that on paper seemed the correct one, but given what was happening on the field, the wrong one. Left-hander Ron Mahay had walked the previous two hitters, and was having all kinds of trouble finding the strike zone. Wedge pinch-hit Jason Michaels for Trot Nixon, essentially making Ron Washington's next decision for him. The Texas manager brought in a right-hander to face Michaels, and got him to pop up. A Choo two-out hit saved the inning, fortunately. This was a situation where what was happening on the field should have trumped the matchup on paper.

Joe Borowski blew his first save of the season, allowing a two-out double to score former Indian Kenny Lofton. By this time, both teams had largely exhausted both their benches and their bullpens. Fernando Cabrera set the Rangers down quickly in the tenth and eleventh innings, leading to the fateful at-bat.

A previous defensive change resulted in Victor Martinez and Kelly Shoppach batting back-to-back in the lineup. I have no problem with the move, since it prevents teams from stealing a base late in the game, but in this rare case it again almost cost the team. Victor doubled to start the inning. Kelly Shoppach didn't bunt (a wise move, given Victor's speed), instead singling to center, but Victor wasn't able to score. After Jason Michaels struck out, Jhonny Peralta rapped a sharp single through the left side of the infield to drive in Martinez and win the game. If the ball was hit a foot to the left, perhaps a double play could have been turned, but that's baseball for you.

Next Up: A noon game, a quick turnaround for a team that arrived in Cleveland early Wednesday morning. Byrd vs. Loe.