Monday, July 23, 2007

Top Ten Plays So Far, Part 1

I saw this post on Mets Geek and liked it enough to steal it...

The handiest thing about the WPA stat is that it's a good way of identifying clutch situations and clutch plays. Here are the most 'clutch' plays by Nationals players so far this year.

  • 10: June 6th against the Pittsburgh Pirates, 34% increase

    Play: Cristian Guzman scores on a wild pitch in a tie game in the bottom of the ninth. Video

    The Nats had a 4-run lead until Jon Rauch's ineffectiveness led to Billy Traber giving up a three-run bomb to Adam LaRoche. After Chad Cordero got a 1,2,3 top of the ninth, back-to-back singles by Cristian Guzman and Ryan Zimmerman got a rally going. Austin Kearns' walk loaded the bases before the fateful pitch.

  • 9: May 5th against the Florida Marlins, 34% increase

    Play: Ryan Zimmerman's walk-off Grand Slam off Jorge Julio.

    The Nats entered the bottom of the ninth trailing by one, as the Marlins played musical closers. They got a rally going quickly off two walks and a single. With the bases loaded, Manny Acta sent Jason Bergmann out to run for Dmitri Young and Felipe Lopez followed with the game-tying single. Cristian Guzman struck out, setting up the fateful AB. On a 1-0 pitch, Jorge Julio threw a meatball, and Zimmerman pounded it over the wall to win the game.

    That was an odd game. There were two rain delays in the game, including one in the ninth, and it also featured Austin Kearns' inside-the-park homer.

  • 8: May 16th against the Atlanta Braves, 35% increase

    Play: Ryan Church's bases-clearing double off Kyle Davies with two outs in the fifth

    The Nats trailed 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth in a game they had already used two pitchers. With a long night ahead of them, Ryan Church ripped a double into the right-center gap, giving the Nats a 2-run lead. They'd hold the lead for the rest of the game, with Rivera, Rauch and Cordero dominating the Braves lineup.

  • 7: April 20th against the Marlins, 35% increase

    Play: Chris Snelling's RBI single in the 14th inning off Lee Gardner

    The Nats entered the 8th inning with a three-run lead, and Jon Rauch didn't have it. He gave up a 2-run homer to Joe Borchard and then back-to-back singles to put the winning run on base. Chad Cordero doused the fire in the 8th, but gave up a lead-off homer in the 9th to Cody Ross. On and on they played. The Nats had a few chances, including the infamous Robert Fick non-run on a bunt play in the 13th. In the 14th, Ryan Church singled and stole second, before coming around on Chris Snelling's shot back through the box. Saul Rivera came in in the bottom of the inning, and earned his first save.

  • 6: April 4th against the Florida Marlins, 35% increase

    Play: Kory Casto's first major-league RBI off Jorge Julio in the 9th.

    The Nats entered the ninth trailing by 2 and faced new Marlins closer Jorge Julio. He ended up giving up three runs while getting just one out, a sacrifice bunt. Trailing by one run, Casto came to the plate with Robert Fick on second, before scorching a ball right up and through the shortstop, the ball bouncing high in the air after it zipped off the fielder. Fick scored to tie the game, and Casto would score later in the inning, after coming around on Young's RBI game winner.

    Young's hit has less WPA than Casto's because the situations are different. Trailing with a runner at second and one out is a situation with a lot more importance than having the bases loaded with one out in a tie game. Even had Young failed, the Nats could've won with the next batter or in extras. In Casto's situation, there'd be no extras when you're trailing!

  • The rest later...