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Braves Vs. Dodgers: Swings In WPA Are Theme Of Extra Innings Win For Dodgers

Thursday, April 21
(8-12) Atlanta Braves - 3
(10-10) Los Angeles Dodgers - 5 (12 Innings)

Box Score

Video Highlights

A Loss but a Memorable Game:
The Braves dropped the fourth and final game of the series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers, losing the series three games to one in heartbreaking fashion. However, the game did provide plenty of the dramatic.

It is not surprising that the Braves were shut down by Clayton Kershaw. The left-hander is quickly establishing himself this season as one of the top pitchers in the game, entering Thursday's game with a 2.92 xFIP and career-high 10.73 K/9. He came within one out of a complete-game, one-run outing against the Braves on Thursday. However, one swing of the bat shifted it from this to 8.2 innings of three-run ball and a loss.

With the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position with two outs and two strikes, David Ross fought off a jam shot over the third baseman's head for a single, plating both runs and taking the lead. In a game of many win probability shifts, this was worth the most at .619 WPA, which I would venture to say has been the most valuable play for the Braves so far this season.

However, the Dodgers answered when they needed it the most, as well. Craig Kimbrel walked the leadoff batter, which is a definite no-no in any situation, but especially with a one-run lead in the ninth inning. The walk itself to Jamey Carroll was worth .133 WPA. After a failed bunt, Kimbrel threw a wild pitch that allowed Carroll to go to second anyway, worth .072 WPA. After Jerry Sands struck out for the second out, Casey Blake came up with the hit similar to Ross, going down 0-2 before smacking a single to left that plated Carroll for the tying run, worth .425 WPA. The pitch that allowed the hit was a 98 MPH fastball grooved down the middle by Kimbrel.

The Braves put runners on the corners with two outs in the 11th due to singles by Freddie Freeman and Eric Hinske. But Nate McLouth struck out to end the threat, worth -.132 WPA.

The score remained tied until the 12th, when the Dodgers finally broke through with the winning runs on a two-run shot by Matt Kemp. Once again, the count was 0-2, and Cristhian Martinez hung a slider down the middle that Kemp took over the fence, worth .309 WPA.

Stat of the Day:
There were 14 plays in the game worth .100+ or -.100+ WPA.

The Game Changer:
David Ross' two-run single in the ninth tied and put the Braves ahead, worth .619 WPA.

WPA Winners:
(LAD) Casey Blake: .595
(ATL) David Ross: .447
(ATL) Freddie Freeman: .261

WPA Losers:
(LAD) Clayton Kershaw: -.342 (Certainly a flaw)
(LAD) Jerry Sands: -.262
(ATL) Cristhian Martinez: -.245

Courtesy of FanGraphs

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Dodgers fans check out True Blue LA.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.