|Highest WPA||Lowest WPA|
|Aaron Laffey||.230||Kelly Shoppach||-.229|
|Casey Blake||.118||Jamey Carroll||-.168|
|Jhonny Peralta||.085||Ben Francisco||-.121|
Last season, the Indians had a league-average offense (6th in runs scored). It was a balanced offense, decent in power and average, and good at getting on base. There were a couple black holes in the lineup (second and right field), but the Indians won despite them, and winning bought enough time for solutions to found for them. Besides David Dellucci, there were no major injuries.
The offense of 2008 currently ranks 7th in runs scored, but that's due mainly to an excellent OPS (.815) with RISP - the underlying offensive components aren't good. This is an offense that, like recent lineups, swings and misses a lot, but, unlike recent lineups, don't temper those strikeouts with walks. And unfortunately, the rest of the team isn't good enough to allow enough time for the offense to sort itself out.
I guess what I'm saying is that this is no longer an offense that will work a pitcher into submission. And since they don't hit for much power, that means requiring 2 or 3 hits an inning to score. They've done pretty good with their opportunities, as mentioned above, but relying on clutch hitting to score your runs isn't a good long-term strategy for consistent offense.
So tonight, even with another good outing from Aaron Laffey, because the offense wasn't stringing hits togther, a tie game was handed off to the bullpen. The bullpen with a collective ERA of 4.87. Kelly Shoppach's throwing error was the reason the Giants won tonight, but consider why they were in position to win in the first place.