I'm trying - I really am - but these start times are a total killer, and it's a hell of a readjustment to make. I'm thinking that, for the final month of the season, games that start at 7pm west coast time will have to be recapped the following day, rather than during the night hours immediately after the last out.
Biggest Contribution: Ichiro, +60.4%
Biggest Suckfest: Jose Lopez, -27.0%
Most Important Hit: Ichiro single #1, +29.1%
Most Important Pitch: Anderson single, -10.8%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): +36.2%
Total Contribution by Hitters: +11.6%
A pitcher who goes to contact against a lineup that thrives by putting the ball in play, and the result, surprisingly, wasn't horrible. Franklin was his typical self, walking as many as he struck out while allowing 25 of the 29 batters he faced to put the ball between the lines, but some defense and a few big pitches to Vlad Guerrero helped him escape major damage. And really, that last part is the only difference between this and one of Franklin's frequently-witnessed off nights; if he serves up a cookie to Vlad in the bottom of the third, it becomes a 4-1 game (instead of 2-1), and Hargrove's calling the bullpen pretty early. It sounds both incredibly dumb and strikingly obvious to point out that a poorly-timed home run can ruin any pitcher's night, but as far as Franklin is concerned, I think it's worth considering. The result of that one big pitch he makes in a critical situation during any given game will determine whether, the next day, the media praises his gutsy effort or people call for his head. He's always walking a tightrope.
Since tomorrow's game has an earlier start time, I'll be able to toss up a better recap. It's Jeff Harris' turn to be the "When's Felix pitching next?" starter of the day, as he goes up against the physical manifestation of Taco Del Mar's worst nightmare. 1:05pm for most of you, 4:05pm for me.
(Special note: Adrian Beltre has drawn six walks in his last 11 games, after drawing 22 in his first 118. Also, a very enthusiastic looking Scott Atchison has been activated from the 60-day DL and added to the expanded September roster.)