Wagner Blows Another Save, Braves Fall to Marlins, 7-6

Arg. I don't know if I am in a good state to comment intelligently about this game. After all the Braves went through to finally get a lead--a monstrous 455-foot homer by Martin Prado, a huge 3-run homer by Brian McCann to tie it at 4, a McCann single to tie it at 5, and Matt Diaz taking one for the team to get the 6-5 lead--to lose this game really hurts. 

I am not among those who will be screaming that something is wrong with Billy Wagner now that he's blown 2 straight saves, but damn, I wish he could've picked a different game to lose his control in. Coming in with the 6-5 lead, he immediately walked leadoff hitter Wes Helms, then after a flyout, gave up a single to Gaby Sanchez (who went to second when the throw to third got away a bit). With first base open, Bobby Cox elected to walk Hanley Ramirez... which seemed to work when Wagner struck out Dan Uggla on a nasty 3-2 slider for the second out. Unfortunately, Wagner let a fastball get away from him to the next batter, resulting in a passed ball (Mac probably should have caught it, but it was waaaayyy off the mark) and the Marlins tying the score.

At that point, Braves fans everywhere started cursing and throwing things at their TVs. Any lingering hope of pulling out a win in extra innings was extinguished when Wagner promptly gave up a hit to Donnie Murphy, allowing the winning run to walk home from third. Braves lose.

This game was not really decided by the starters, but I'll recap them anyway. Derek Lowe pitched okay through 5 innings, giving up only a 2-run homer to Dan Uggla. He then tired in the 6th, eventually giving up 2 more runs on a Bryan Petersen single. He probably should have been pulled before that hit, but oh well. His final line was 5.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 HR, 6 K, 5 BB (2 in the 6th), and a -0.141 WPA.

Marlins starter Alex Sanabia gave up a lot of baserunners but mostly held the Braves in check despite that. He gave up only Prado's monster solo shot as far as runs go. All of those runners did mean a lot of pitches, though. Sanabia only went 4.1 innings, giving up 7 hits, 3 walks, and the 1 run. He struck out 3 and had a 0.105 WPA.

In the Braves' half of the 7th, Burke Badenhop got the first two hitters but then walked Jason Heyward. Taylor Tankersley then came on and walked Chipper Jones. That set up McCann's excellent game-tying homer. Of course, as soon as the Braves tied it, Peter Moylan gave up a homer to Gaby Sanchez to make it 5-4, Marlins.

In the Braves' 9th, Martin Prado led off with a double off of Jose Veras (pitching because normal closer Leo Nunez was unavailable after pitching in 3 straight games). Prado had 8 total bases in the game, which is rad. After Heyward lined out, Chipper walked, McCann singled in the tying run, and Glaus walked. Veras then hit Diaz on the pinky finger to bring in what should have been the winning run (Diaz seemed OK though). That set up Wagner's epic breakdown.

In lieu of an awards section, everyone just go look at the FanGraphs page for this game. The graph, and some of the players' WPAs, are just crazy. Five hitters had WPAs over 0.300 and three pitchers had WPAs less than -0.300 (two less than -0.600). McCann and Prado combined for nearly 0.900 WPA (in other words, about 87% of a win added to the Braves' chances)... and the Braves LOST.

Ugh, at least we can still win the series...

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