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WPA: Mets v. Braves, 5/5/06

Sometimes, you get some good luck.

As a Met fan, I had some luck in two ways this evening:

  • The Mets won.
  • I scored the game on WPA.
And what better way to have a WPA Game of the Week, in a game that might be regarded as one of the four or five best of the season, when it's all said and done?

Check out that graph.

Credits: I stole the code, originally, from Eric Simon at Amazin' Avenue (that's to do the enlarged image in the link), and Dave Studeman from The Hardball Times made the spreadsheet. Go here for a description of how Win Expectancy has spread and gained popularity and for who else we should be acknowledging for this wonderful toy and evaluating tool.

Here are the individual scores.

D. Wright .526 .000 .017 .543
W. Betemit .341 .000 .000 .341
P. Moylan .000 .320 .000 .320
C. Beltran .215 .000 .026 .242
D. Sanchez .000 .239 .000 .239
M. Remlinger .000 .224 .000 .224
A. Heilman .000 .220 .000 .220
J. Reyes .184 .000 -.006 .178
C. Jones .150 .000 .022 .172
J. Julio .000 .155 .000 .155
C. Floyd .144 .000 .000 .144
M. Giles .029 .000 .021 .050
M. Diaz .042 .000 .003 .045
X. Nady .033 .000 -.006 .027
P. Feliciano .000 .009 .000 .009
K. Matsui -.014 .000 .021 .007
B. Jordan -.005 .000 .004 -.001
J. Valentin -.014 .000 .000 -.014
E. Chavez -.033 .000 .000 -.033
E. Renteria -.077 .000 .042 -.035
P. Orr -.036 .000 .000 -.036
T. Pratt -.058 .000 .000 -.058
C. James .000 -.066 .000 -.066
A. LaRoche -.082 .000 .013 -.068
B. McCann .015 .000 -.086 -.071
K. Ray .000 -.079 .000 -.079
A. Jones -.097 .000 .009 -.088
R. Castro -.091 .000 .000 -.091
C. Woodward -.091 .000 .000 -.091
R. Langerhans -.109 .000 .009 -.100
C. Bradford .000 -.106 -.009 -.115
K. Davies -.082 -.035 -.004 -.122
O. Villarreal .000 -.132 .000 -.132
C. Delgado -.141 .000 .005 -.136
B. Wagner .000 -.185 .006 -.179
C. Reitsma .000 -.189 .005 -.185
M. McBride .000 -.186 .000 -.186
J. Francoeur -.202 .000 -.007 -.209
J. Sosa .000 -.215 .000 -.215
J. Franco -.236 .000 .000 -.236
S. Trachsel -.050 -.204 .005 -.249
P. Lo Duca -.291 .000 -.018 -.308

This was an unbelievable game, filled with unbelievable performances. I decided to capture some of them by doing the "Top 10 Plays" instead of the Top 5. This can serve as a good summary of what happened in this one.

Top 10 Plays

  1. Cliff Floyd, P-4, 12th inning (-.156) - With the bases loaded in the 12th, Floyd, fresh off of a huge home run in the 11th, couldn't come through in the 12th. Credit to Reitsma, who rebounded nicely to put Floyd down here. Like in all of the extra innings, this drove the Mets back to 50%.
  2. Brian McCann, Single, RBI, 6th inning (-.158) - McCann broke the 2-2 tie in the 6th by grounding one back through the box and scoring Brian Jordan. The Braves went up to a 63.7% Win Expectancy at this point and were off to the races and eventually drove their Win Expectancy as high as 93.4%.
  3. Cliff Floyd, 4-6-3 GIDP, 3rd inning (-.160) - Floyd stranded runners early and often in this game, and this was one of the more egregious incidents. Having just tied the score, the Mets were poised to tack on a few runs, but Floyd grounded into a tailor-made 4-6-3 GIDP. Floyd's performance today, excluding his late-inning heroism, was atrocious. But we'll get there.
  4. Kaz Matsui, Single, RBI, 7th inning (+.180) - The Mets stormed back in the 7th, aided by an error and a string of hits. With 1 out and the bases loaded, Kaz Matsui came up to bat. He smoked the 2-1 offering from Ray right back up the middle, and it was hit so hard that the runners only moved up a spot. The Mets had tied the score, and this capped the rally.
  5. Brian McCann, 4-6-3 GIDP, 12th inning (-.186) - Duaner Sanchez struggled with Adam LaRoche and threw him four straight balls to start out the 12th. Duaner, who has been otherworldly thus far this year, bore down and induced the DP ball from McCann, who had a very mixed day. He was all over the place early on but had a few crucial blunders, including a costly passed ball in the 14th. On the day, he was worth -.068, which was a lot worse than where he was before they started clocking overtime, but a lot better than it might have been.
  6. Jose Reyes, Triple, 8th inning (+.208) - I thought the Mets were about to put the game away when this happened. Reyes smoked one down the rightfield line, and with Francoeur in right, logic dictated that he had no chance at third base. Francoeur bobbled the ball in right, though, and Reyes turned on the afterburners and beat the throw into third. (As an aside, Reyes had pulled up before Francoeur bobbled it; how was that not an error?) But Lo Duca followed with a ball that traveled maybe 3 feet from home plate, Beltran walked, Delgado lined out softly, Wright walked, and Floyd botched another one. Although this one was hit pretty hard, I think.
  7. Julio Franco, 6-4-3 GIDP, 7th inning (-.236) - I can't recall any at bat that was so negative for the offense in any game that I've scored, but this is about as crucial as it gets. With the bases loaded and one out, Franco was the logical pinch hitter; hell, I had even thought that it would have made sense to pinch hit for Matsui with Franco (and then Woodward for the pitcher, leading to a bizarre, Bobby Valentine-esque double switch for the 8th). Franco hit the tailor-made double play ball, though, and Ray survived the 7th.
  8. Wilson Betemit, home run, 11th inning (-.341) - The home crowd damn near died after Betemit crushed an 0-2 offering from Wagner to the tacky, 70s home run apple in centerfield. This looked to be the clear turning point of the game, and you can see it in the graph; the Mets' Win Expectancy dropped all the way to 15.9%. I disagreed with Cox's logic, which was to save Reitsma (and it ended up working, in theory), but it's quite possible that Reitsma is not the best pitcher in that pen.
  9. David Wright, game winning hit, 14th inning (+.390) - Beltran moved up to second on McCann's passed ball, and Wright put it in the books by crushing one out to left center that only stayed in the park due to the stiff wind that had developed in extra innings. Wright had a mixed day of his own, but, by the end, he came out smelling like a rose with his +.543 and the clear game-MVP award.
  10. Cliff Floyd, homer, 11th inning (+.440) - Floyd, who had smoked two in his previous at bat that had gone foul, was able to straighten it out a little and crush one into the loge in rightfield. Much like the scene in Pulp Fiction with the epinephrine injection, the Mets arose at this point. For what was shaping up to be an incredibly bad game, Floyd redeemed himself with one mammoth swing at the Chris Reitsma offering. Baseball, in that sense, is an amazing thing. I was critical of Floyd in these passages to illustrate how quickly things can turn, and how easy it is to forget how we get from the past to the present. Looking at a game through a WPA framework helps to show us that.
This game brings back memories to two classic Mets/Braves games of the past: the 10 run inning game from 2000, and Game 5 of the '99 NLCS. The pitching matchups favor the Braves for the next two games, so it's quite possible that this ends up being just another series win for Atlanta. But it's the one or two games a year like this that keep us watching. And to have been lucky enough to score this one? That's a good night.