How is that possible? Check out the win probability graph from last night at Fangraphs:
That looks like a scary roller coaster at Cedar Point and that is pretty much what that game felt like last night. It had just about every possible scenario you could imagine in a single contest and even some things you might have never thought possible in a contest. In the 11 inning contest, the teams sent 104 batters to the plate, walked 18 times, and used 16 pitchers including a starting pitcher in the 10th inning. Oddities occurred all around such as the fact Rafael Soriano was brought in with no outs in the 8th inning to clean up Dan Wheeler’s mess who was not as sharp as the night before. He needed to get a strikeout of Dan Uggla and induce a double play to survive the inning and he did just that, sort of. He got the strikeout of Uggla who had been 5 for 10 lifetime against Soriano including three homers and induced the ground ball from Ronny Paulino that Evan Longoria inexplicably failed to pull out of his glove on the exchange and everyone was safe. I have seen Longoria make that play 99 out of 100 attempts and that was a horrific time for the exception to occur. For Soriano’s effort, Marc Topkin claimed Soriano had a bad night and blew a save. It is incredible that a long time baseball writer can look at a stat line of 2 0 0 0 0 3 and call that a bad night. Soriano did his job and the defense did not; the only bad nights were from Topkin’s column and Jason Bartlett.
Bartlett has not looked terribly sharp since coming off the disabled list and had two more miscues in the field last night and a horrific at bat with the bases loaded in the 8th inning when he chased three pitches out of the strike zone in a row. Amazingly, none of that was mentioned in Topkin’s column. The extra innings saw the Rays plate four in the 11th off former Devil Ray Jorge Sosa who pitched just as he did when he was with this franchise and a 9-5 lead in the 11th should be safe for just about any team in baseball. In fact, my dad got up and went to bed because he thought the game was in the book but I knew better once I saw Lance Cormier come into the game. I aged 10 years last night and seven of those years came in the 11th when he failed to record an out and put four baserunners. The game quickly became 9-8 and Andy Sonnanstine was summoned in after throwing 55 pitches in relief the game before and being told by Maddon he would not be needed. I claimed on Twitter that if Sonnastine got out of that mess, I would get a sex change and have his children. Sonnanstine collected two strikeouts and induced a long fly out to save the win for the club and make all Rays fans happy. That is the kind of loss that could send a team into a tailspin after getting a lead, giving it up, getting it back, and then blowing it in glorious fashion. Even with all of the gut-wrenching play in that game, nothing tops the giveaway last night.
The vuvuzela promotion was hands down the worst promotion since the Disco Demolition disaster in Comiskey Park in the 70’s and you know it was bad when even the Marlins players were complaining about the noise. Freddi Gonzalez blamed the horns for the umpires not correctly hearing his triple switch in the 9th and the lineup card error nullified a lead-off walk when it was determined Brian Barden batted out of order. Only slightly less annoying than the vuvuzela is that monstrosity of a park and whatever it is called this week. B.J. Upton, Carl Crawford, and Reid Brignac all hit balls that would have been deep in the seats at Tropicana Field but the trio settled for a double, triple, and long fly out. One more game in that dump and the Rays are done with National League baseball and the Marlins in the regular season but it won’t be easy. The Marlins have Josh Johnson on the bump and David Price goes for the Rays in a matchup of two of the most statistically lucky pitchers in baseball this season.