Friday, October 24, 2008

Addendum: The people on Jim Rome's show also have no idea what they're talking about.

Mike Sando (or whatever his name is) needs to shut up. Long swings don't hit home runs. Did any of these guys actually play the game? Have they ever really watched a game? Hitting the ball to the right side to score a run either reduces win probability or is a wash. Your goal, as a hitter, with a runner on third base is not the ground ball to the right side that scores a run. The goal is a hit. That runner from third, with less than two outs, is going to score a high enough percentage of the time that the groundout, in most situations either does not effect win probability or

Check out the game log from last night.
B MyersC Pena10_231-0
Carlos Pena grounded out to shortstop (Grounder). Akinori Iwamura scored. B.J. Upton advanced to 3B.
1.381.9968.9 %
B MyersE Longoria11__32-0
Evan Longoria grounded out to shortstop (Grounder). B.J. Upton scored.
1.210.9470.9 %

Those are the two plays from the first inning in which the Rays scored on groundouts. Total WPA is .026. This means that these two plays, combined, added a 2.6% chance to the Rays win probability. Really, the play that actually mattered this inning was here.
B MyersB Upton101__0-0
B.J. Upton singled to right (Liner). Akinori Iwamura advanced to 3B on error. B.J. Upton advanced to 2B. Error by Jayson Werth.
1.420.8868.4 %

This play was essentially a double, although it was poorly played by Werth in RF. For all intents and purposes of win probability, it was a double. The play had a WPA of .101, meaning it added 10.1% to the Rays chances of winning. Basically, BJ Upton did all the working in making it so that those undesirable groundouts following him had slightly positive results. "Big Ball" will always beat "Small Ball," and don't let people like Rome and Sando let you think otherwise.

Also people are making a big deal about this play:

B MyersJ Bartlett411_34-0
Jason Bartlett sacrificed to pitcher (Bunt Grounder). Cliff Floyd scored. Rocco Baldelli advanced to 2B.
0.871.1991.1 %

Again, WPA is only .016. This play made the Rays 1.6% more likely to win this game. The only reason that this is a marginally good play, in my eyes, is that Jason Bartlett can't hit his way out of a wet paper bag. The thing is, with a 3 run lead, adding one extra run doesn't make a big difference. You want to pile on the runs and create a legitimate rally, and while the bunt scores the run, it's a complete rally killer, whereas letting Bartlett swing away has a very high chance of the run scoring anyway, whether it's on his at bat or the at bats following his.

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