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Game One Hundred Twnety-Nine: Indians 5, Royals 3 (11 Innings)

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Recap
Box Score
Win Probability Added @ Fangraphs

Highest WPA:

Rafael Betancourt .295
Asdrubal Cabrera .146
Grady Sizemore .119

Lowest WPA:

Kenny Lofton -.167
Fausto Carmona -.104
Franklin Gutierrez -.089

The no-doubles defense gave the Indians one more chance to tie the game in the ninth, and Asdrubal Cabrera capitalized on it, singling in Grady Sizemore and sending the game into extra innings. Prior to Sizemore's double, the narrative was remarkably similar to many other Indian losses in the month of August: a good pitching performance goes for naught because offense couldn't manage league-average run-production. I'm tired of talking about it, and I'm sure you're tired of reading about it. So the ninth-inning heroics make for a welcome change in perspective, even if the same old problems are hidden beneath the sunny glow of a win.

As you can see above, Rafael Betancourt's two-inning stint was incredibly important, even though his contrubution doesn't happen if the Indians don't score a run in the ninth. Rafael Right, coming off a welcome two day rest, was at the top of his game, throwing fastballs with even more accuracy than usual. But because both Rafaels had pitched two innings apiece (Fausto Carmona had a short outing by his standards), the Indians really needed to score in the eleventh. Kansas City finally ran out of good relievers, or perhaps Buddy Bell made one too many moves by removing Joel Peralta in favor of a matchup lefty to face Travis Hafner, who's actually hitting better against southpaws this season.

Asdrubal Cabrera has made Josh Barfield into an afterthought (at least for this season) in the span of two weeks. There's no justifcation for sitting him now, even if the inevitable pitching adjustment is forthcoming. For a 21-year-old who's playing out of position, he's been remarkably fearless, opting for the risky play in the field and hitting like a polished major-leaguer at the plate. He seems a nicer fit between Sizemore and Hafner than Blake, who seems to have gravitated into that spot in the lineup only by default.

Next Up: Another AL Central showdown. Byrd vs. Silva, 7:05 PM