April 22, 2010

Walk-Off Set Up By Tag-Up

Julio Borbon, on Marco Scutaro tagging up and taking second on J.D. Drew's fly ball to center in the 12th inning last night:
I wasn't in a good position to make the throw. He caught me off-guard. That's on me. The throw wasn't all that bad, but if I was able to get behind it, he would have been out or it would have been closer.
I knew the ball wasn't gone, but was kind of deep enough to try to take an extra base. It was one of those plays where it's do or die. ... [I]t's one of those plays where if you make it, everyone's happy. If you don't make it, a lot of people are going to be mad.
With two outs, first base was now open, so the Rangers walked Dustin Pedroia intentionally, bringing Kevin Youkilis to the plate.

Mike Lowell, on Scutaro's alertness and hustle:
Those are the little things that I don't think you can see in the box score, ever.
The "things that don't show up in the box score" has been a pet peeve of mine for awhile. For one reason, they are doing amazing things with box scores these days. And Scutaro's play *is* measured. And although he got 90 feet closer to home plate, the entire play - because of the increase in outs from one to two - dropped the Red Sox's chances of winning the game from 64.9% to 61.7%.

However, that decrease is likely charged to Drew's WPA. But Scutaro's play must be measured somehow. Maybe in the difference in the likelihood of scoring a run with a guy on first and two outs versus a guy on second with two outs? I'm going to try to find out.

* Post title lifted from Ian Browne
The last time the Red Sox had back-to-back walkoff wins was in early 2008: April 29 (1-0; Yook single off Halladay) and April 30 (2-1; Varitek single), against Toronto.

The Boston bullpen has a 18.2 consecutive scoreless inning streak. Manny Delcarmen has some velocity back, hitting 95 regularly. Daniel Bard's slider looked especially nasty last night.

Darnell McDonald is the first Red Sox player to homer in his first two games with the team since Sam Horn (July 25-26, 1987). Good article on McDonald here.

Daisuke Matsuzaka's line for Pawtucket last night: 5.2-6-4-0-8, 99; one run was unearned. Dice has made three starts for the PawSox: 16.1 innings, 11 hits, 1 walk, 13 strikeouts, 4 runs/3 earned.


Benjamin said...

The WPA value of that tag-up is simply the difference in value between having a runner on second with two outs and having a runner on first with two outs. (It's the same as if Drew had struck out but Scutaro had subsequently stolen second.)

If you treat the bottom of the twelfth inning like the bottom of the 9th inning (I assume they're basically the same except with more exhausted relief pitching), then using tangotiger's numbers, that's 0.610-0.562 = 0.048.

tjd said...

On the other hand, if he's tagged out, then by the same numbers the WP is .500 (tied game, top of the "ninth", no one out, no one no - that makes sense) and the WPA of Scutaro's failed attempt to take the base is -0.062 from the Sox' perspective.

Doesn't that mean that, if the probability they get him is even slightly higher than they don't, then the play wasn't worth the risk?

redsock said...

I asked at SoSH and here is the discussion.

tjd said...

It's always interesting to see SoSH go to work on a question like this.

I must be missing something, because I thought it was a bad play. Clearly there is more downside to failure than upside to success, so the expected payoff could only be positive if he was more likely safe than out. But (maybe I'm wrong about this) it looked like a squeaker to me.

buffwarrior said...

Is it possible that Scutaro new the Center fielder had a weeny arm as some of the writers mentioned. Does that change it from being a risky play to a sure thing? Haven't teams tried out Damon and others with known poor throwers. I like it that Scutaro then is an intelligent player and not really a risk at all.

redsock said...

Very possible. Actually, I would hope all players have a decent idea about anyone's arm in an outfield. And he likely saw that Borbon was hanging back on it.

Edward Lee said...

Tom Tango says that Scutaro needs to be 56% or better to take second base there for it to be a smart play.