Friday, April 14, 2006

Yankees 9, Royals 3


That, my friends, is what a Win Expectancy chart should look like. A quick jump to start things off, and a steady rise to 100 percent towards the end. Though, I did uncover a few more flaws with the system, such as the ninth inning, when after recording one out, the Yankees had a 100 percent chance of winning. This means that every team that was in that situation – up 9-2, one out, top of the ninth – went on to win the game. However, the probability of winning dropped to 99 percent when John Buck walked. This means – according to the theory of the statistic – that at least one team won a game down 9-2 in the top of the ninth with one out and a runner on first (why else would the percentage drop from 100?).

Or does it? It seems to me that the program is flawed in that regard. It dropped by another single percentage point when Doug Mientkiewicz singled, putting runners on first and second with one out. It seems as if the program isn’t set in its percentages come the ninth inning, which makes sense, since there is an increasing weight with each action as the game progresses.

The other nuance I picked up on has to do with subjectivity. Bottom of the second, Cano on first, Bernie on second, none out, 3-0 Yanks. After sacrificing the runners over, Stinnett was debited .1 percent. Sure, it’s a nominal debit, but Stinnett certainly should have been credited on this play because of his below average hitting skills. Surely, the Yanks were better off with him bunting and moving the runners over than the most probable outcome, the double play, or either of the other prevalent options, striking out or popping out. Historically, there wasn’t even a one in four chance that Stinnett would get a hit, so the sacrifice was certainly the right move. Maybe this is the next step for Win Expectancy, taking into consideration the player’s historical performance.

[MORE] for the WE breakdown and game recap.

[MORE]
Sheff.083Randy.162
Bernie.080Myers.051
Giambi.057Proctor.047
Matsui.045Sturtze.011
Cano.040Villone.001
A-Rod-.003
Damon-.015
Jeter-.045


Apparently Win Expectancies doesn’t account for Game Nine of 162-game hit streaks. Still, Jete leads the team in WE by about a mile. But none of that mattered, as good old Randy carried most of the load. A big high-five to him, by the way, for leaving a 4-1 game because of stiffness in his left shoulder. No reason to pitch through it at that point. The game might not have been in the bag (then again, these are the freakin’ Royals), but it’s No. 9 of 162.

The bullpen eased some fears today, working in generally solid fashion to finish the game. As much as I want to be sold on Proctor, I reasonably can’t at this point. Because of Tanyon Sturtze last year, I no longer can trust unproven relievers who look unhittable for a stretch. Speaking of Sturtze, he still sucks, but at least he listens to Poppa Torre. After surrending a ding dong to Tony Graffanino leading off the eighth, Torre made a rare non-sub mound visit to speak with his misbehaving son.

Torre: “Son, we gave you $1.5 million and all the confidence in the world. You didn’t deserve it, but I kept singing your praises and made them do it. You’ve always been my favorite, and it’s damn time you stopped making me look like a damn fool. If I have to read one more message board post calling me an idiot for using you, I’m just going to flip. And you don’t want to see a calm Italian man when he’s angry.

And it looked like he got the message, notching two ground outs and a strikeout to finish his inning. See, Tanyon, it’s not so hard. Don’t think and just throw; you just hurt yourself when you think.

To finish off, I’d like to address an open letter to Mike Mussina.

Dear Moose,
All I want for my birthday is a win.

-Joe