Top Play (WPA)
The top play of the game occurred in the fourth inning, when Ender Inciarte singled to centerfield. The hit scored both Aaron Hill, who had previously reached on a walk from Mike Fiers, as well as Oscar Hernandez, who already singled home a run earlier that inning. On the play, Inciarte advanced to third base on a Carlos Gomez throw. He was initially charged with the error, but after the game, the scorer charged it to Hernan Perez. Gomez was trying to nail Hernandez as he advanced to third base. The play was worth (+.128) for Arizona and raised their win expectancy to 91.2 percent.
Gomez made an aggressive throw, but it was off target, and probably wouldn’t have arrived before Hernandez even if it had been accurate. Perez went up the line to field the throw and seemed to take his eyes off the ball before it reached his glove, letting it roll by him, and allowing Hernandez and Inciarte to take an extra base. While the Diamondbacks went on to win by five runs, perhaps the game turns out different if that run had been saved.
Bottom Play (WPA)
In an unfortunate stroke of bad luck, Perez was also involved in the bottom play of the game for Milwaukee (and not to pick on him more, but also wore the wrong jersey to start the game). Perez was starting at third base in place of traded Aramis Ramirez. He was also the second out in a double play which was worth (-.179) for the Brewers.
Arizona was already leading 1-0 from a Yasmany Tomas home run in the bottom of the second when Perez led off the top of the third with a double. Fiers attempted a sacrifice, and wound up with a hit while Perez made it to third base. Unfortunately, Gerardo Parra hit a tapper to pitcher Zack Godley, who started a 1-6-2 double play. Godley reacted quickly to get the throw to second and Nick Ahmed fired a strike to catcher Oscar Hernandez who tagged out Perez. The throw was good enough that it was not a particularly close play.
This play was a squandered opportunity as one would think with two runners on and no outs, and with the top of the order coming up, that the Brewers would at least tie the game. According to Baseball Prospectus’ run expectations chart, in 2015 a team with runners on first and third with no outs would be expected to score 1.6383 runs. After the double play, the Diamondbacks’ win expectancy never dipped below 62.5 percent.
Parra took a pitch off his kneecap in the sixth inning. The moment must have left most fans and the team holding their collective breath. Parra is a free agent at season’s end, and he could be one of the next players on the move. He’s had a fantastic season so far: 1.7 BWARP and a .300 TAV. Parra’s also sporting a 1.257 OPS in July and on Wednesday, Craig Counsell committed to keeping him the lineup on most days, even with a crowded outfield now that Khris Davis has returned from his stint on the disabled list.
Of course, if that pitch had caused some actual damage, it would have hurt Milwaukee’s performance, while also likely preventing the team from trading him and reaping any return before his free agency. With his hot hitting and the sparse trade market for hitters, Parra may fetch a decent prospect if moved.
Parra went down after he was hit and looked to be in some serious pain, which is a normal reaction when one takes a 90 mph slider to the knee. Luckily, he stayed in the game and hopefully the nasty bruise he’ll have tomorrow is the only result of the hit by pitch.
Trend to Watch
Ryan Braun was a pleasant addition to the All-Star Game. However, he has struggled at the plate in the month of July. In the ninth inning, he hit a meaningless home run in terms of the outcome of the game, but perhaps it could be the start of a new hot stretch for him. It was only his second homer of the month, and he entered the game with a July OBP of .318 and was only slugging .373 for the month. His home run was hit to deep left center, and there was no doubt about the outcome as soon it left his bat. While the Brewers won’t make the playoffs, if Braun can regain his May/June form, watching games will be a lot more entertaining through the end of the season.
Coming Up Next
The series in the desert continues as Milwaukee sends Jimmy Nelson to the hill against Arizona and Patrick Corbin. Nelson’s HR/9 is at 1.0, and he’s had a tendency to give up home runs in bunches; he’s given up more than one home run in five different starts this year. Last time we saw Nelson, he recorded a win against Pittsburgh even though he allowed four runs on seven hits in only 6.3 innings.
Corbin is still finding his groove after missing all of 2014 and most of the first half this year due to Tommy John surgery. He’s only made three starts in 2015, and the results have been uneven. He’s pitched five innings in each start, but allowed eight runs and four home runs, while striking out 13. If their bats wake up before the ninth inning, there’s a real chance for Milwaukee to put up some runs tonight.
Lead photo courtesy Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports