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Game Thirty-Two: Angels 8, Indians 0

Box Score
Win Probability Graph @ Fangraphs

Highest WPA:

Mike Rouse .031
Ryan Garko .024
Travis Hafner .003

Lowest WPA:

Jeremy Sowers -.264
Grady Sizemore -.113
Casey Blake -.045

It's amazing how quickly perceptions can change. Sowers has been the team's sixth-best starter this season, and if Jake Westbrook was healthy, he'd be the one who was heading to Buffalo, not Fausto Carmona.

Last season, Sowers had a very low strikeout rate (by AL standards), but was having phenomenal success as a starter. How was he doing it? Mostly through a low BABIP, but also very good location in the strike zone. It's not appropriate to blame Sowers' success entirely on luck, just as it is inappropriate to chalk up all his success to intelligence and guile. If a pitcher knows how to attack a hitter, but cannot execute his plan correctly, then his plan is worthless.

These graphs (courtesy of Fangraphs) shed some light on Sowers' problems. His line drive percentage has actually gone down, but ground balls and fly balls have converged:

However, his home run rate has actually dropped, although the league average home run rate has dropped at approximately the same rate.  

Sowers has also seen his BABIP go from below league-average to above.

What's most striking, though, is how much his LOB% has plummeted. This isn't just a regression to the mean, it's among the worst in the AL. By the way, Fausto Carmona's LOB% is 81.9%, among the best in the AL.

Finally, his K/BB ratio has dropped, fueled mostly by more walks:

Sowers has been unlucky, but his peripherals aren't encouraging.

Next Up: The Indians open a weekend series with Oakland. Sabathia vs. Blanton, 10:05 PM