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Game Forty-Three: Royals 4, Indians 3

Box Score
Win Probability Added @ Fangraphs

Highest WPA:

Rafael Betancourt .097
Jason Michaels .055
Travis Hafner .052

Lowest WPA:

Aaron Fultz -.179
Jhonny Peralta -.173
Grady Sizemore -.148

The Indians, all things considered, were rather lucky to lose by just one run. Fauston Carmona got his share of ground balls, but like any ball-in-play pitcher, he's often at the mercy of positioning and defense. And although the Indians turned four double plays behind him, Carmona allowed 10 base-runners in his six innings of work, a rate which rarely is conducive to pitching a quality start. He may have gotten too predictable, as Mike Sweeney sat on a fastball on the inside corner and jerked it out of the park to tie the game in the sixth. The pitch had good location, but Sweeney was expecting it:

"Every time he'd get two strikes on a big right-hander, he'd pound a fastball in," Sweeney said. "I was just hoping he'd stay true to form -- and it was still a good pitch."

The seventh inning decided the game. In the top of the inning, Trot Nixon doubled to lead off, but Josh Barfield struck out, ensuring that only a hit would give the Indians the lead. Eric Wedge then hit Casey Blake for Andy Marte, something I didn't think was necessary. Blake walked, and Buddy Bell brought in Jimmy Gobble to match up against Grady Sizemore. Gobble struck out Sizemore, then was relieved by Zach Greinke, a right-hander and the fourth pitcher of the inning. David Dellucci was called upon to hit for Jason Michaels, and he grounded out to first base.

With one out in the bottom of the seventh, John Buck singled, then Tony Pena, Jr doubled off Tom Mastny. David DeJesus was intentionally walked, and Mastny got Mark Grudzielanek to pop out. The bases were still loaded, but now there were two outs. All that remained was for Aaron Fultz to retire Mark Teahen, and the Indians would get out of the inning. It didn't happen thanks to the most frustrating of outcomes with the bases loaded: the four-pitch walk. Rafael Betancourt cleaned up  the mess, but the damage was done. It's one thing to give up a key hit, because at least the chance is there for a fielder to make a play. Walking a guy with the bases loaded seems much worse a fate, because the onus is on the hitter to make contact. Fultz agreed:

"I got out there and my mechanics were bad," Fultz said. "I was jerking the ball and I didn't make the adjustment to throw strikes. In that situation, you've got to throw strikes and make them hit it to beat you. I'd rather him get a hit than a walk."

Next Up: The Indians face an old friend. Lee vs. Elarton, 8:10 PM.