Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Home-Opener In-Game Update

I wasn't going to do the live blogging thing for the home opener, but I feel compelled to rail against the Yanks for pulling the same old stunts. Like working the bases loaded and coming up empty handed. Or allowing the Royals to move from station to station and salvage a run. These kind of things do happen in baseball, but they shouldn't be occurring with such frequency to a team paying $198 million to get their players on the field.

The main reason for this update is the Win Expectancy experiment I'm conducting. I'm scoring it real-time, and noting the Yankees probability of winning at each juncture. Right now, entering the bottom of the 6th, it's 60-40 in favor of the Royals, as they hold a 5-4 lead. However, when they had the bases loaded and none out in the top of this frame, it was 72-28. And two outs in, we're back up there, 67-33.

Oh, and Bernie Williams was debited 17 points for his baserunning gaffe in the fifth. Uh, Bern, I know the bases are loaded, but you can't be hovering that far off the bag -- or off the bag at all. I didn't catch Kay's comments (I tune him out well), but it looked like the Infield Fly should have been called there, making it safe for Bern and his baserunning teammates to stand on their respective bag.

It's absurd that the Yankees can't tag the Royals bullpen. Cano, Williams, and Damon all weakly grounded out in the sixth. And now we have to rely on Sturtze to keep this a one-run affair. This is precicely the kind of game that Sturtze blunders, so expectations aren't high at this point.

On a brighter note, I flipped to the Red Sox game on MLB.tv just in time to see ManRam strike out. Too bad the Sawks put up a 4 spot in that inning.

Update: I'm going to shut up with my pessimism; Shane Costa just broke Sturtze in with a shot over the right field wall. 6-4 Royals. And now a ground rule double to Grundzielanek. I'm roughly the shade of the SHARP ad behind home plate.

And I'm back in the bottom of the eighth. Giambi has led off with a walk, followed by a Matsui single -- and what should have been a walk to Posada, but he's still at the plate, 3 balls and a strike. But all ends well, as he earns that walk, and we've got the bases packed and none out for Robbie Cano.

The Yankees odds of winning have just drastically increased, from nine percent entering the inning to 35 percent currently.

Ooooooh -- even Robbie thought he was rung up on that one. But he takes advantage, hitting a sharp grounder to third. Teahen gets Posada at second, but everyone else is safe, and it's a 7-5 ballgame.

Guess what? The Yankees odds of winning decreased with that play. This Win Expectancy statistic really plays to the "you have 27 outs, don't waste them" mentality. And since it's based on 20 years of research, well, you can make your own connection.

BERNIE! Lordy lord, just when we think he's got nothing left (well, I certainly think he has nothing left), he handles a high pitch, smacking it to left to bring the Yanks within one. Da-Mon! Da-Mon!

I'll take this pitching change to point out that the odds are back to 60-40. A Damon RBI here will certainly push the odds in favor of the Yanks, as the home team always has the advantage in a tie game.

Ouch. Only a DP would be worse. But here's Jeter, hopefully ready to prove his clutchness. OH MY GOD!!!!!!!! He just planted that ball in left, and I was on my feet the second the ball left the bat. Get ready, Mo, it's time to put away these suckers.

The odds are now at 94-6 in favor of the Yanks. You're going to love seeing the line graph on this one.

Costa grounds out weakly to begin the ninth. I'm not going to be very colorful here, since I excreted the totality of my emotions following the Jeter homer. Grundle Grass just hit a bloop to center, which brings the tying run to the plate. I'm not concerned yet.

Just noticed that Phillips is at first base. If this goes to extra innings, God help Torre -- Giambi was due up second in the ninth.

Wow did Sweeney just get plunked in the wrists. That could put him out for a month, though O'Neill doesn't think it'll be that bad. Here comes Sanders...we could use use a 6-4-3.

I'll take the K.