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2008 Ranger WPAs, Part II

Last Monday, I mentioned that, among the various and sundry other awesome things B-R offers, they now have the most influential plays of each game in terms of WPA.  (What's WPA?  Click here).

So I went through and looked at what WPA said the crucial plays to Ranger losses had been so far this season...

Today, I follow up with the most influential plays in wins.

Follow the jump...

6th most influential play in a win:

April 25 at TBIA.  Kevin Millwood gave up a run in the first and 4 in the third.  The Rangers gave back with 5 off of Nick Blackburn in the bottom of the third.  And then...nothing, for six innings.

In the bottom of the 10th, with one out, Hank Blalock (in his last plate appearance thusfar this season) doubled, and was lifted for pinch runner German Duran.  Jason Botts walked, Frank Catalanotto struck out, and David Murphy came to the plate.  With two on and two out, Murphy singled to left field, driving in Duran, and jumping the game from a 62% chance of a Rangers win to a 100% chance of a win.

At 38%, this checks in as the 6th most influential play in a Rangers win this season...and yet, the most influential play in a loss swung the percentages just 34%.  Which tells us that the Rangers' wins have been more dramatic than their losses.

4th most influential play in a win (tie):

This carries with it an asterisk, because the most influential play in this game was actually a negative...it was more detrimental to the Rangers than any of the plays in last week's WPA review, but the Rangers still won.

April 16 in Toronto.  The Rangers were up 5-2 in the bottom of the 8th.  Joaquin Benoit comes in in relief, and goes popup, walk, single, walk, walk.  With one out and the bases loaded, in comes Wes Littleton, who gets Jesse Inglett to hit a grounder to Ben Broussard.

Broussard, however, throws wildly to second base, and instead of a possible inning-ending GIDP, two runs score, and the Blue Jays tie the game at 5.  A 61% chance of victory drops to 22%.

Interestingly, the 7th and 8th most influential plays this season also happened in this game.  In the bottom of the 10th, with runners on first and third and one out, the Rangers had just a 17% chance of winning.  But Littleton got Inglett to hit into a GIDP, getting the percentages back to 50%.

Later, in the top of the 14th, an A.J. Burnett wild pitch with Josh Hamilton at the plate scored Frank Catalanotto, with a 49% chance of victory jumping up to 81%.

4th most influential play in a win (tie):

May 25 in Cleveland.  Doug Mathis v. C.C. Sabathia.  After 9 innings, it is 1-1, and the Rangers hit in the top of the 10th.

Kobayashi struck out Shelton and got Marlon Byrd on a ground out to start the 10th, before Jarrod Saltalamacchia worked a walk.  Ramon Vazquez then lined a single to right field, which Ben Francisco overran, allowing Saltalamacchia to score from first, and setting up a 2-1 victory.  That play took the game from a 42% chance of victory to 81%.

2nd most influential play in a win (tie):

May 12 at TBIA.  This is one of the most memorable games of the year...Vicente Padilla gives up 5 in the first, but then settles down.  The Rangers knock out Erik Bedard with 6 runs in 2+ innings, and take a 10-6 lead into the 8th.  Joaquin Benoit allows a 2 run homer to Wladimir Balentien in the 8th, but Michael Young and Josh Hamilton each draw bases loaded walks in the bottom of the 8th to give the Rangers a 4 run lead.

Which the Rangers then give up in the top of the 9th, as C.J. Wilson gives up an RBI double to Raul Ibanez, and then a two-strike, two-out three run homer to Jumanji (which swings the percentages of winning from 96% to 61%).

Brandon Morrow comes in the game, and is untouchable...until Ramon Vazquez turns on a fastball in the 10th and drives it into the right field bleachers for a home in the 10th, swinging the percentages from a 59% chance of victory to 100%.

2nd most influential play in a win (tie):

May 22, again in Minnesota, again with Vicente Padilla starting.  The Rangers take a 6-3 lead into the bottom of the 6th, but Joaquin Benoit and Jamey Wright each end up giving up a couple of runs, and it goes into extra innings tied at 7.

Brian Bass comes in and strikes out Ian Kinsler and Michael Young swinging, setting the stage for Josh Hamilton to hit a 2 out opposite field home run, jumping the chances of a win from 39% to 80% with one swing of the bat. 

Most influential play in a win:

This isn't even close.  No play, by the Rangers or their opponents, have come close to this play, in the Rangers' first win of the season, in the game that announced the presence of the Beasticon.

April 1.  Texas at Seattle.  Vicente Padilla (again) goes six, allows just 1 run.  The Rangers go up 3-1 in the top of the 8th, but Joaquin Benoit (again) blows the save in the bottom of the 8th, allowing three runs with the help of a Michael Young error and an Ian Kinsler error.

Top of the 9th, facing J.J. Putz, the Rangers are down 4-3.  Ian Kinsler singles, then Young strikes out looking, bringing up the Beasticon.  And the Beasticon takes Putz deep, driving a go-ahead homer to right field and giving the Rangers a 5-4 lead. 

That took a game that the Rangers had an 17% chance of winning, and turned it into an 81% chance of victory.  That 64% swing is the biggest swing in any Ranger game this season.