They play around with WPA a lot at places like VEB and Future Redbirds. WPA, or Win Probability Added, can be found at a site called FanGraphs. I can’t find an official definition, so my crude understanding of it is that it takes the chances of winning before an AB and after an AB and the change is credited to the player. I’m not sure exactly how they get to the chances of winning, but it seems all very scientific. (I’ve told you before, this isn’t a stats blog!)
Anyway, you could see the win expectancy dropping like a stone when that two-out grounder by Encarnacion headed to shortstop last night. In fact, before that play, the Marlins had a 75% chance of winning the game. (Oddly enough, probably because of the force and the slowness of Molina, even after the play the Marlins WE increased to 79.8%.) This is where stats don’t take into account the stubborness of a pitcher trying to get over an error, as Benitez really seemed to come unraveled by that slip.
Even without the hardheadness of the Florida pitcher, I felt really good about a tie game once Encarnacion was at second. Molina is hitting the ball the way we thought he could, and it’s nice to see that average in the .275 range instead of the .215 range. I felt pretty confident he could get the tying run in. If you’d told me he’d make it all the way to third, though, I’d have figured he hit a home run and then pulled up lame running the bases. No way he could get there on a normal play!
It’s just another sign that things perhaps have turned around for the Cardinals. Earlier in the year, that was a very typical loss for them. A great pitching performance, but tons of double plays and no runs could be scored. But this new, improved Cardinal team played LaRussa’s trademark “hard 9” and got the job done last night. (Another difference between now and May–Albert Pujols is Albert Pujols again. Four home runs in 4 games? It’s so wonderful to watch when El Hombre is clicking!) The times, they are a-changin’.
Good thing they did, too, since Milwaukee and Chicago both won. Still three games out with Looper going tonight. Hopefully the bats will show up tonight–I’d be real impressed if Looper kept it to two runs.