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Game Thirty-Five: Indians 6, Blue Jays 1



Highest WPA Lowest WPA
CC Sabathia .264 Jhonny Peralta -.118
Travis Hafner .174 David Dellucci -.092
Casey Blake .138 Franklin Gutierrez -.086

What a fun game to watch, with two pitchers at the height of their powers dueling. CC Sabathia struck out nine but gave up a fifth inning run, meaning that he trailed exiting the field in the seventh. There was a good possibility that CC would lose his sixth game of the season, for Roy Halladay again had Indian hitters in his thrall. Jhonny Peralta especially looked clueless against him, striking out twice, both times on three pitches. Halladay also struck out nine, but the Indians made him work just enough so he was approaching his end of the night in the seventh inning. For baseball's best horse (4 CG already in 2008), this was an accomplishment.

The crucial seventh started with something unexpected: a Travis Hafner line drive single. The hit was the second of the night; he'd only had two multi-hit games in the past three weeks. Ryan Garko was next up; earlier in the game he wasn't able to go the other way with Hafner on second and nobody out. But this time he got Hafner over the Garko way - via a single. Now was an obvious bunt situation, and up came a good bunter in Asdrubal Cabrera. But Roy Halladay in an effort to prevent the bunt, missed with his first couple pitches, and then missed twice while trying to throw a strike. Now the bases were loaded, and Casey Blake, the clutchiest hitter on the team, came up. He gave the Indians the lead with a two-run double that probably would have been a grand slam on many other nights.

Now came a tactical error on the part of John Gibbons. He pulled Roy Halladay, which certainly looked like the right move, in favor of left-hander Jesse Carlson. Carlson took care of Grady Sizemore, getting him to pop out to third base. Gibbons then ordered Franklin Gutierrez to be walked, re-loading the bases. Eric Wedge countered by pulling David Dellucci in favor of Ben Francisco. Gibbons reacted by bringing in Jeremy Accardo, a right-hander to face Francisco, which would normally be the correct move. But Francisco has historically been much better against right-handed pitchers, and his short stint in the majors has shown the same trend. So why bring in Accardo when (a) Carlson looked very good against Sizemore, and (b) there's no matchup advantage to exploit. Francisco got on top of an Accardo fastball and hit a double off the wall in left-center, breaking the game open, and making sure that the Indians beat Roy Halladay for the first time in 10 starts.