Domingo Santana added another notch in the belt of his breakout season, pounding a two-out, lead-flipping two-run blast in the bottom of the eighth to beat the Pirates 4-3 and end the first place Milwaukee Brewers two-game skid.
A great game makes for a beautiful chart, and tonight delivered. Here’s it is:
Carmella on Sunday night: Domingo Santana, +.478 WPA (2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI)
Carmella on Tuesday night: Junior Guerra, -.164 WPA (6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 6 K, 5 BB)
Guerra was erratic again, and it seems like only a matter of time before performance catches up with results for the #2016BrewersAce. FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) is by no means a perfectly predicative stat, but that Guerra’s FIP is nearly twice his ERA (6.02 vs. 3.11) indicates he’s been the recipient of a tremendous amount of cluster luck and that regression is coming.
Luckily for the Brewers, that regression is still just a theoretical certainty rather than an empirical fact, as Guerra wriggled off hook after hook yet again Tuesday. His greatest escape job yet came in the second inning, after he loaded the bases with a pair of one out walks. You can’t see it here, but Eric Sogard drove a spike through Pittsburgh’s hearts with a brilliant play that Orlando Arcia turned for a run-saving double play.
The beleaguered bullpen posted it’s second straight scoreless game, holding the Pirates scoreless over the final three innings after Josh Hader and Carlos Torres posted four scoreless last night. The Brewers won despite their starting pitcher exiting with a deficit for the first time since May 14th, when the Brewers erased a 7-1 Mets lead with 10 runs in the final three innings. If that doesn’t seem like that long ago, I suffered a grade three calf tear that evening, and I can walk now.
Santana is the easy call for game MVP, but the sneak pick is Arcia, who came through in the clutch repeatedly for the second consecutive game. Arcia was never retired on Wednesday night, going 2-for-2 with a walk and scoring the tying run on Domingo’s clout. He was even better on defense: in addition to the double play turn above, he single-handedly won the game with a preposterous play behind second base with a runner on second in the ninth; the stop was enough to prevent the run from scoring, but the spin and throw ended the Pirates threat and the game.
The Brewers will shoot for a series split with the Bucs on Thursday afternoon, as Ivan Nova squares off with Ace Chanderson. It’s a 1:10 start, and tickets are cheap as h*ck if you, like me, haven’t anything better to do tomorrow afternoon.