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Game One Hundred Fifty-Eight: Mariners 3, Indians 2 (10 Innings)

Box Score
Win Probability Added @ Fangraphs

Highest WPA:

Jeremy Sowers .306
Jensen Lewis .167
Grady Sizemore .082

Lowest WPA:

Aaron Fultz -.352
Joe Borowski -.282
Franklin Gutierrez -.174

This game wasn't really supposed to matter: the Indians were throwing out a lineup full of reserves, and they were starting a pitcher who isn't going to make the postseason roster. If they had gotten beat by 5 runs, it wouldn't really cause any concern, not as long as everyone stayed healthy.

But this game mattered because Joe Borowski blew his second save in as many days. Borowski, for all his statistical flaws (and there are many), was saving games at a very good rate, and currently leads the AL in saves. Borowski hadn't allowed a run in September until the Indians hit Seattle. So why get concerned?

Because his peripherals have been bad all season. He's allowed 75 hits in 63.2 innings, and including last night, 9 home runs. For comparison's sake, Rafael Betancourt has allowed 51 hits and 4 HR in 78.2 IP. The only arena Borowski outshines Betancourt in is that of experience. Betancourt has but 12 career saves, and while that shouldn't matter, it does in today's environment. As I said previously, Borowski is going to stay in the closer role the rest of this season because he's done the job previously, because the conventional wisdom says that's enough. There's also the minefield of confidence and pride to tiptoe through, something that would test the psychology skills of the most cunning manager.

Hopefully Borowksi gets several more chances to pitch before the season ends, if nothing more than to convince management one way or the other whether he can continue to close games. If he doesn't throw another pitch between now and Game 1 of the ALDS, I'd make sure there's a viable option warming up behind him when he comes into the game.  

Next Up: Byrd vs. Baek, 10:05 PM (STO)