Yesterday’s game in Arlington pitted Jonathan Sanchez against Colby Lewis. Sanchez has had problems with his consistency, although after attending his no-hitter last season, I can tell you that when he’s on, he’s really on. Lewis was a nobody with the Rangers, Tigers, and A’s from 2002-07 before plying his trade in Japan for three seasons. His performance in Japan ignited a bidding war for his services when he decided to come back stateside in 2010, and he’s been worth every penny so far.
Sanchez was pretty wild this game, as he didn’t have an inning without a baserunner all night. In the second, he got burned as Nelson Cruz led off with a double. After advancing to third on a groundout and being forced to stay put on another, Cruz was joined on the bags by Bengie Molina after a two-out walk. That should be surprising. Molina’s a very tough guy to walk, although he has been a big more patient this year (5.8% BB rate in the regular season, more than double his 2.5% in 2009). Mitch Moreland, hitting in the nine spot, made Sanchez pay for the walk, drilling a 3-run shot to right on the ninth pitch of his at-bat.
The Rangers would tack on in the fifth, as Josh Hamilton hammered a ball into the second deck in right-center to make it a four-run lead. After a four-pitch walk to Vladimir Guerrero, Sanchez’s day was over, as Guillermo Mota came in for the final out of the inning. Guerrero tried to steal, but Buster Posey gunned him out at second to end the 5th.
The Giants would mount a comeback, with Cody Ross bombing a solo shot off of Lewis with one out in the 7th, and Andres Torres following him with another solo shot with one gone in the 8th. After hitting Aubrey Huff, Lewis’ day was over with two down in the 8th, and the Rangers’ bullpen finished this game off, with Neftali Feliz striking out two in the ninth for the save.
Let’s see it by the numbers.
Giants vs. Rangers
WPA Leader: Colby Lewis (.266)
Lewis’ 7 2/3 innings of two-run ball came on five hits and two walks, and he was able to rack up six strikeouts. Mitch Moreland gets the honorable mention, as his home run put his total WPA at .220, making him the offensive star of this contest.
Not surprisingly, Moreland’s 3-run jack was the biggest swing in this game, with a .238 WPA for Texas. Hamilton, Ross, and Torres’ solo shots, as well as Nelson Cruz’s leadoff double in the 2nd, all hovered around the .05 WPA range.
Sanchez’s poor outing resulted in a -.165 WPA. He could only muster 4 2/3 frames of 4-run ball. He allowed six hits, including two that left the yard, as well as three walks. He was clearly overmatched against the Rangers’ hard-hitting and righty-heavy lineup, and playing in one of the most hitter-friendly parks in baseball didn’t help his cause.