Awarding or Blame of the Game after an Angels loss is often simple. Sometimes it is obvious. Other times there are two distinct candidates. I put it to a vote and check with Fangraphs when things are murkier.
Tonight's game was quite a delicate and detailed affair, and one which is tough to call. I guess we start with who is not to blame.
Escobar - 14 Ks. Three runs don't matter when you pitch 6 innings with dominance.
Matthews - Solo homer
Kotchman - 3 for 5 with a homer
Willits - 2 for 3 with a walk
Kendrick - a monster double that was inches from being a homerun.
Okay, that was easy, now how about the guys that shoulder some of the blame, but by no means all of it, nor the "Blame of the Game" award.
Carrasco and Oliver cannot get the Blame Award because we were already losing.
Aybar made an error leading to the 5th run, but we were stymied by then and did not mount a comeback regardless.
So that leaves five candidates:
Cabrera - 1 for 5 stranding 4 runners on base in key situations that would have changed the game in our favor entirely. A simple single in either situation yields us two runs.
Vlad - at least Cabrera is our #2 hitter and has an excuse, while our masher was 0 for 3 when it counted and had 2 walks when it did not.
Mike Napoli - his case for "Blame" hinges on his stranding runners in key situations - but catching a game where a guy strikes out 14 has to count in his favor a little.
Dustin Moseley - he simply did not hold the game, which is his situational role.
Chone Figgins - Figgy was 2 for 4 with a walk and an RBI. But he blundered terribly on defense as a sloppy non-tag at 3rd kept an inning alive for the Reds and the squeezed a critical run out of Escobar because of Figgy's lack of leather.
Easily the toughest call of the season so far. The game ended over five hours ago and I still have not resolved it...