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Game Sixty-Six: Braves 5, Indians 4

Box Score
Win Probability Added @ Fangraphs

Highest WPA:

Josh Barfield .100
Casey Blake .092
Victor Martinez .091

Lowest WPA:

CC Sabathia -.478
Trot Nixon -.110
Grady Sizemore -.093

Should CC Sabathia have gone out for the ninth?

Before I answer that, consider that neither Joe Borowski nor Rafael Betancourt was available, since the duo had each pitched the past two days. Borowski pitched in three straight games only once this year (the Detroit sweep), and Betancourt hadn't pitched in three straight games all season.

With that background, the decision was defensible. If Borowski or Betancourt were available, you better believe that they were going into the game at the point. As it is, the choice was probably Sabathia or a Mastny/Fultz tag team. Either decision would be an unconventional one. Sabathia had thrown just over 100 pitches, but had worked fairly hard to get to that point. Mastny has had control problems of late, and had his own problems after relieving CC. Either way, Wedge was getting second guessed if the Indians gave up the lead. The closer system is so ingrained into our psyche that any deviation from it is seen as unnatural.

But the big problem in the ninth was defense. At worst, the Indians should have escaped with a tie. If Jhonny Peralta makes the play on McCann's grounder, Woodward isn't bunting, and I liked CC's chances in that at-bat. And David Dellucci needed to catch Yunel Escobar's flyball, though perhaps the camera angle was playing tricks on me.

It was weird being on the other end of a Wickman save, but you knew that somehow he was going to get it done. It was a classic Wicky adventure, complete with an unintentional (or was it?) balk, multiple stolen base attempts, and eventually, a save.

Next Up: Byrd vs. Smoltz, 3:55 PM (WTAM suggested*).

*The game is part of FOX™ regional coverage, and even if you live in the right part of the country to get the game, you'll be subjected to Thom Brennaman and Mark Grace. If you watch it on TV, don't say I didn't warn you.