Tag Archives: fangraphs

Tea, 4-2!

(This post by explicit request of a senior arithmetic geometer who wanted more Orioles material.)

Orioles backup catcher Taylor Teagarden is hitting .152.  Taylor Teagarden has recorded only seven base hits this season.  And three of Taylor Teagarden’s seven base hits have been extra-inning game-winning RBIs.  Others call them extra innings — we call them tea time.

Last night — sorry, I mean early this morning — might have been Teagarden’s most important gwerbie yet.  The Orioles, absolutely baffled by rookie starter Erasmo Ramirez, were down 2-0 in the ninth, their chance of winning per Fangraphs down to 5.8%.  To keep up our comparison of baseball odds and political odds, that’s the same chance Nate Silver is giving Mitt Romney to win Minnesota.  In other words, slim.

But the unnervingly good rookie gave way to the regular closer, Chris Davis singled in two runs, and the Orioles sent it to extras.  A lot of extras.  Teagarden’s RBI single came in the top of the 18th, a little before 3 in the morning Wisconsin time.  Reynolds knocked in an insurance run and the Orioles end up winning 4-2 to move percentage points behind the NYY for the divisional lead.  It was the longest game the Orioles have played this year, and their 14th straight extra-inning win, the second-longest such streak in the history of baseball.  (The otherwise unheralded 1949 Cleveland Indians hold the record.)

  • I have always been told that it’s good luck when a bird craps on your head, and perhaps this is so, because eventual winner Tommy Hunter pitched his whole outing with an avian dollop on his cap last night.
  • Steve Johnson pitched 3 scoreless innings with 1 hit and 4 K.  His ERA stands at 2.13. What does a guy have to do to get a spot start on this team?
  • And it just got yet more crowded; thanks to the depleted bullpen from last night’s game, the Orioles have called up 19-year-old superprospect Dylan Bundy.  Sounds like he’ll be used in relief, maybe even as early as today — in which case, happy Bundyday!
  • Dave Cameron claims that, for some teams, the best strategy in a one-game playoff is to skip the starter, instead deploying your best relievers for two or three innings each.  He’s writing about the Braves, but could this be a good move for the Orioles?  Two innings each from Steve Johnson, Pedro Strop, Darren O’Day, and Luis Ayala, with Jim Johnson closing it out, sounds like a pretty good starter to me.


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The total variation of win probability, or: THE MAGNIFICENT TWINS-TIGERS GAME

Fangraphs has a neat feature:  they’ll make a chart showing how the probability of a home team win varies over the course of a game.  In a “normal” game this probability starts at .5 and slowly makes its way towards 0 or 1 as one team takes a lead and then holds on.

Today’s Twins-Tigers playoff is not a normal game.

The total variation in win probability over the course of a game is a good way of quantifying how much back-and-forth there’s been between the two teams.  You might take it as a loose measure of “excitingness.”

In this game, the Twins have gone from an 80% chance of winning to 20% to 73% to 20%, again up to 83% and then back down to 50%.  That’s a total variation of at least 2.62, all since the 6th inning!

I wonder what the all-time record for total variation in a single game is?  It would have to be a game with multiple extra innings in which runs scored, I’d think.

And we go to the bottom of the 11th, still tied 5-5.  Minnesota with a 64% win probability per FanGraphs.  Joe Mauer coming up third this inning.  Now that my own team is done playing for the year, I am allowed to say:  go Twins.

Update:  In the comments, Michael Lugo proves by science that the Tigers-Twins playoff (total variation:  7.69) was more exciting than game 7 of the 1991 World Series, but less exciting than this.

Update 2: A similar computation carried out in 2005 by Dennis Boznango at The Hardball Times. An even more similar discussion at FanGraphs.

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