In case you haven’t noticed, ESPN has added win probability to their live MLB broadcasts, and with some fans it’s not going over so well. Fangraphs also keeps track and you can watch live boxscores and win probability stats during the game (if you so desire).
Let’s face it, this stat would have been downright depressing to Angels fans after the 7th and 8th innings in last night’s game. Several commenters on the game thread jumped ship. The odds were poor and the outlook was very bleak.
Let’s take a look at that picture.
The interactive embed didn’t work so I’ll have to fill you in on the percentages a we go.
Until the 7th inning, the A’s best odds of winning this game were were pegged at 63.5% - that second little bump in the graph which took place when Albert Pujols struck out to lead off the second and the A’s were up 1-0. Those odds very quickly swung the Angels direction to 70.6% when Yunel Escobar drove in the 3rd run in the top of the second inning.
For the next few innings, not much changed but the Angels did hit 82.9% going into the top of the 7th and things were looking pretty peachy for our Halos - a game 2 victory was in sight!
Disaster struck in a veru short amount of time and the A’s went from 17.1% to 88.6% by the time Rajai Davis hit his in-the-park homerun thanks to a Danny Espinosa throwing error on a ball that barely left the infield. Time to turn off the TV for some fans and it was looking bad.
The Angels had just a 5.6% chance of winning the game when Albert Pujols grounded into an inning ending double play in the 8th. If someone told you the Angels had a 5.6% chance of winning the game, you would probably say it was over.
Of course we know what happened next. Back to back singles by Marte and Maybin followed shortly thereafter by the Espinosa homerun and the Angels had swung the pendulum from 5.6% to 83.1%. They had crushed the hopes and dreams of the 14 A’s fans at the stadium, just as the A’s had down to the Angels fans a short time earlier.
A few other things of note:
- Maldando’s pick-off off Semien lowered the A’s chance of winnings by just 1.5%
- Maldadno throwing out Rajai Davis at second base lowered the A’s chance of winning by 7.2%
Remember the impact on win probability changes as the game goes on. In other words, a Maldanado pickoff in the 7th or 8th inning in a close game makes much more of a different than a second inning pickoff.
I plan do a few of these breakdowns here and there this season - at least when the graphs are pretty dramatic. This graphs certainly paints a picture of an amazing come from behind win - and how clutch Espinosa was with that well-timed homerun.