Sox Watch

Monday, June 26, 2006

Red Sox WPA through 6/26/06

Another wild win today. Just when you think that Ortiz couldn't possibly come through again, he proves you wrong. He needed to come up big today, because the team was not hitting on all cylinders. No runs for Wakefield through six innings. Wakefield, Seanez, and Lopez combining to blow most of a six-run lead in the seventh. Papelbon giving up his first HR, and his first real blown save, of the year. Gonzalez wasting a man-on-second, one-out chance in the tenth. Kapler and Lowell ruining a bases-loaded, one-out chance in the eleventh. This just did not look like a game that we were going to win. Until, of course, Big Papi came to the plate in the bottom of the twelfth, and, for the second game in a row, sent a Phillies pitcher walking slowly toward the dugout.

There were buckets of WPA to go around today, both positive and negative. Youkilis and Ortiz obviously take home the lion's share for tying and winning the game, but Crisp's double to lead off the twelfth was also huge, worth +0.239. And Wakefield's strong performance can't be overlooked, either. He piled up +0.389 WPA through six scoreless innings before giving back -0.058 in the seventh by loading the bases with no outs. He takes part of the heat for that debacle of an inning, but most of the blame belongs to Seanez (where have you heard that before?), who allowed four runs to score in facing just two batters.

The most interesting WPA story today was Papelbon. Normally, a blown save is a WPA killer for a closer. You take a situation where your team's chances of winning are in the 90% range, and you either reduce them to close to 0% by giving up the lead, or reduce them to around 50% by allowing the opposing team to tie. That's why closers typically pile up many small chunks of WPA, one for each save, and then give it back in big chunks whenever they blow a save. However, Papelbon today had a decent outing, despite the solo HR to Utley. First of all, he came in to get the third out in the eighth in a tough situation, an out that was worth +0.081. As the top of the ninth began, before the HR, the Sox chance of winning (Win Probability, or WP) was 82%. After the HR, it dropped to 50%, which is -32%, or -0.320, just for that one batter. However, he managed to get through the rest of the inning unscathed, which is worth a lot in a tie game, picking up +0.155 over the remainder of the inning. So his net for the day was -0.084, which is typically what you see for a run-of-the-mill bad relief appearance - not the type of calamitous WPA hit you normally see in a blown save. As a result, he still leads the rest of the team by a large margin, although if Ortiz continues hitting walk-offs, that lead won't stand up for long...

That's nine in a row for the Sox now, and three straight series sweeps. Let's hope this momentum continues against the Mets.

Individual Player WPA Contributions
Monday, 6/26/06
Phillies 7, Red Sox 8

Full-Season Player WPA Contributions
Through Monday, 6/26/06

Full-Season Category WPA Contributions
Through Monday, 6/26/06


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