Entering this weekend’s series versus the Philadelphia Phillies, we knew one matchup was going to be a thriller to watch: Saturday night’s tilt between aces Roy Halladay and Josh Johnson. The matchup did not disappoint, with Johnson throwing a great game in seven innings but being outdueled by one of the best pitchers of our generation. Halladay threw a perfect game, yet another great accomplishment on the mantle of a sure-fire Hall of Famer.
Overall, the Marlins lost two in the series, but you can’t blame the pitching staff for that. Marlins bats were quiet, as the team scored just three runs the whole series. It’s a good thing the Marlins pitchers allowed just four runs in the series themselves. Each game was a one-run affair.
Series Hero: Anibal Sanchez (0.426 WPA)
Series Goat: Cody Ross (-0.396 WPA)
Impressed By: Halladay, even though he isn’t on our team. He’s a great player
Depressed By: Cameron Maybin (5 PA, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K, and the defensive blunder in center that scored the only run against Johnson)
They needed perfection
I won’t wax poetic too much about how great Halladay’s game was, but I will mention that the Phillies needed every bit of that perfection to stay on top of the Marlins that game. Check it out:
Obviously, it was one-run game throughout, and the sole run was scored on a misplayed fly ball by Maybin, not anything particularly poor that Johnson did. Halladay’s monster performance earned him a ridiculous 0.888 WPA (89% of the change in win expectancy for the Phillies came from Halladay’s pitching and the Phillies’ defense), and that was important because the offense contributed -0.388 WPA to the cause.
Much of that was in the hands of Josh Johnson, who had a great start. JJ struck out six batters, walked one, and yet again did not allow a home run, all in seven innings of work. He threw 117 pitches, getting pitches in the zone 63% of the time and inducing 13 whiffs. Johnson was also his usual ground ball self, getting 11 grounders out of 22 balls in play. He scattered seven hits, with the only hit-related threats coming in the second inning after a Juan Castro double and Carlos Ruiz infield single. The highest leverage index (LI) that Johnson faced was 1.81 (against Halladay in the second inning), and even after the run scored in the third and Chase Utley stood on third base, Johnson did not falter, striking out two to finish off the inning.
Sanchez not to be outdone
Anibal Sanchez apparently did not want to look bad following Johnson’s performance and Halladay’s perfect game, because he once again brought his best stuff. Sanchez went 6 2/3 innings, striking out seven and walking three. Sanchez also avoided the home run again, bringing his home run rate down to a paltry 0.14 per nine innings. Sanchez hit 100 pitches exactly, getting 64% of those pitches in the zone and inducing nine whiffs. In this outing, Sanchez was able to get seven grounders out of 15 BIP, just under 50% GB%.
Sanchez also cruised through much of his outing, hardly ever hitting a high leverage situation. His average LI for the game was exactly 1.00, with the highest LI coming in the third inning with Shane Victorino on third base with two out. Sanchez got out of the situation with a strikeout of Jayson Werth.