Player of the Game: Howie Kendrick (5.113 NRuns: 2.596 hitting, 2.517 fielding)
Angels with contributions above 1.000 NRuns: 4 (Kendrick, Aybar, Matsui and Willits)
Angels Luckbox: 1.678 NRuns
Great hitting and bad everything else: Eliezer Alfonzo (0.637 NRuns: 2.354 hitting, -0.432 fielding, -1.285 running)
Eliezer's catcher's interference: -1.000 NRuns
Mariners Player of the Game: Ichiro (1.942 NRuns: 1.319 hitting, 0.623 fielding)
Shawn Kelley: 1.478 pitching NRuns
Jesus Colome: 0.169 pitching NRuns
All other Mariners pitching: -3.619 NRuns
Mariners hitting: 3.563 NRuns
Mariners defense: 2.389 NRuns
Mariners baserunning: -1.540 NRuns
Goat: Joe Saunders (-3.180 pitching NRuns... 10.61 EXERA)
Mariners scapegoats: Kanekoa Texeira and David Aardsma (-2.611 NRuns: -2.870 pitching, 0.259 fielding)
Ian Snell managed to completely undo a decent 4 innings with two walks to start the 5th. Both walks were worth a total of -1.060 NRuns, and Snell came into the 5th with a total of 0.311 pitching NRuns, good for a 4.14 EXERA and an indicator that he was pitching just fine.
So here's why Jesus Colome wasn't credited with -2.000 NRuns worth of meltdown in that frame. When he entered the game with men on 1st and 2nd and nobody out, the Angels had a run expectancy of 1.598 NRuns. In other words, you expect the average team in that situation to score about 1.6 runs. If the offense comes away empty handed, the pitching/defense somehow saved 1.6 runs.
So here's Colome's line blow by blow. All run expectancy numbers are derived from a composite of 2005-2009 season data and park adjusted to Angels Stadium:
- Maicer Izturis flies out to center. Colome loses 0.059 NRuns for the flyball while Franklin Gutierrez saves 0.644 NRuns in catching it. However, Reggie Willits tags up at 2nd and takes 3rd, adding 0.215 runs to the Angels' expectancy and costing Franklin 0.215 NRuns since he controlled the ball when Willits took his base. With men on 1st and 3rd and one out the run expectancy is now 1.228 runs.
- Colome then walks Bobby Abreu to load the bases, losing 0.498 NRuns in doing so and raising the Angels run expectancy to 1.726 runs.
- Hideki Matsui pops out for the 2nd out. As pop ups are damn near an automatic out, Colome receives full credit for getting Matsui to swing underneath a pitch and produce an easy out, earning Colome 0.918 NRuns. With two outs and the bases loaded the Angels' run expectancy is now 0.808 runs.
- Colome walks Juan Rivera to force in a run. Since the run expectancy remains the same and the play scored a run, Colome gets docked 1.000 NRuns.
- Colome strikes out Mike Napoli to end the inning. Colome gets 0.808 NRuns as the Angels' run expectancy drops, of course, to 0.
Colome's final tally in that frame? 0.169 NRuns, good for a 3.03 EXERA. You saw him walk two guys, one walk forcing in a run, and already disliking him for his reputation as a fringe fireballer you likely gave him all the credit for the damage in that frame.
However, he came in with the run expectancy at nearly two runs thanks to the two Ian Snell walks that started the inning, and the Mariners came away only having allowed only one run. While the two walks did a lot of damage, the pop up and strikeout were just as huge, as the higher the run expectancy gets, the more critical every out becomes. This is the beauty of Net Runs: There's no need to calculate a leverage index, because run expectancy already has it built in. Riskier base/out situations make outs and bases more valuable. Colome's walks were huge. And so were his outs, because they severely limited the Angels' potential damage and did not allow them to advance baserunners.
I'm not writing this as a treatise to defend the guy. I'm in agreement with the saber status quo that Colome should not have been called up back in April and should have had to show in Tacoma that he had the control and secondary stuff to get MLB hitters out. I agree that, of the 11 current Mariner pitchers, he probably helps the team least right now.
But today is not necessarily an example of Jesus Colome's liabilities. He walked into a bad situation in the 5th, and any pitcher giving an average effort in this situation still would have allowed 1-2 runs. Shawn Kelley or Kanekoa Texeira probably don't do much better with two on and nobody out. That Colome allowed only one run was an accomplishment... a minor accomplishment, but one nonetheless.
Now... speaking of Kanekoa, he was awful today. And David Aardsma was awful today as well. Defensive miscues were not the key to their disaster innings... save for Eliezer Alfonzo getting called for catcher's interference in the 6th to produce one of the M's two runs. But Texeira prior to that call walked in a run and helped load the bags to begin with with a line drive, two flyballs and a walk.
David Aardsma led off the 9th with a walk, got a flyout, allowed a liner and then gave up the fatal flyball that carried over the fence for Howie Kendrick. Of the four batters he faced, two of the outcomes were okay (if you consider the flyball that happened to carry over the fence "okay" and/or unlucky) and two were awful.
Going back to Alfonzo, he quickly wiped out the goodwill around his three run bomb (2.060 NRuns... remember the M's run expectancy indicates the M's expect to score some runs with men on there), and to a lesser extent the runner he caught stealing in the 3rd (0.678 NRuns), with some examples of why he wasn't on a big league roster in the first place, running into an out at 3B in the 4th (-0.779 NRuns), hitting into a double play in the 9th (-1.013 NRuns) and the aforementioned catcher's interference in the 6th (-1.000 NRuns) that forced in a run. Rarely will you see a guy pile up such a grab bag of big plays both for and against his team in a single game, let alone his on-field debut with said team.
Howie Kendrick's walkoff bomb capped off what has to be one of the best single game Net Runs performances I've seen from a position player this season. He not only produced over 2 runs at the plate but prevented over 2 runs in the field at 2B.
At 30 losses and counting and 11 games under .500, the M's don't have a lot of room left for error... if you still think they have a shot at the division title in the first place.