Yesterday, both NL series saw game two take place. Both games saw teams come back from four-run deficits to potentially swing the momentum in the series. The Reds, down 1-0 after Roy Halladay’s no-hitter, sent Bronson Arroyo to the mound to attempt to tie the series up. The Philadelphia countered with Roy Oswalt, the second in the Phillies’ trio of aces. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, Matt Cain toed the rubber for the Giants, with Tommy Hanson opposing him.
Reds vs. Phillies:
WPA Leader: Chase Utley (.190)
Utley went 2 for 4 and was also hit by a pitch, driving in two and scoring two of the Phillies’ 7 runs. Utley had the biggest hit of the game, with a two-run single with two out and the bases loaded off Bronson Arroyo in the 5th. Down 4-0, Utley’s single started a comeback that would end with the Phillies winning 7-4 and going up 2-0 with the series heading to Cincy.
Utley’s single, however, wasn’t the biggest play of the game. With men on first and second and the Phillies down a run with one man down, Philadelphia sent Jimmy Rollins to the plate to face hard-throwing Aroldis Chapman. Rollins shot a soft liner into medium-short right, and Jay Bruce ran into make an easy catch… until he didn’t. Bruce lost the ball in the lights and it skipped past him, turning an out into a two-run knock that put the Phils up 5-4, a lead that they would not relinquish.
WPA only sees run expectancies, so it has Chapman as the Goat by a longshot. However, the Rollins play was not his fault in the slightest, so his -.506 WPA is extremely harsh considering how well he actually pitched. His only real mistake was hitting Utley to lead off the inning.
Giants vs. Braves
WPA Leader: Kyle Farnsworth (.377)
Farnsworth pitched 1.2 innings and threw to only seven batters, but was able to top the WPA table by not allowing a run in some extremely high-pressure situations. Farnsworth’s average LI sat at 3.86.
Biggest Plays: Not surprisingly, Rick Ankiel’s splash hit solo home run to break a 4-4 tie in the 11th was the most important play of the game, with a total WPA of .389. Sergio Romo and Brian Wilson combined to turn a 4-1 game into a tie contest in the 8th inning, though they had some help from a Pablo Sandoval throwing error. The game went into extras and Ankiel got all of a pitch from Ramon Ramirez, and the rest was history.
Buster Posey went a respectable 1-4 with a walk and a run. However, he failed in the most important moment of the game, which dinged him with a huge negative in WPA. With one out and the bases loaded in a tie game against Kyle Farnsworth in the 10th, Posey simply needed a productive out to win the game. Instead, he grounded a ball to third, a tailor-made double play ball that was converted to end the inning. With a leverage index of 5.81 and a Win Expectancy at the time of exactly 50%, Posey’s twin killing had a WPA of -.329, which accounts almost entirely for his -.344 WPA.