April 2, 2011

Worst/Best Opening Day Performances

Albert Pujols grounded into three double plays yesterday and the folks at Baseball Reference and The Hardball Times were wondering if it was the worst Opening Day performance of all time.

Greg Simons, THT:
The details are even more gruesome. Pujols popped up in the first following Colby Rasmus' one-out triple ... grounded into his first double play with two on and no out in the third, and another twin killing ... finished the fifth.

With the score tied 2-2 in the eighth, Pujols merely flew out to center. ... Pujols got another undesired two-for-one with a 6-4-3 DP in the 10th, shortly before San Diego won the game with two runs in the 11th.
The first comment mentions Carlos Zambrano. His OD start last year (1.1-6-8-2-1) had a Win Probability Added of -.625, compared to Pujols's -.430. (I'm not sure if the word "Added" really works in that sentence!)

Looking at the box score in which the guy with the worst OD WPA appears (not Pujols), I saw another score from that day: Mariners 8, Angels 4 (10). I clicked the box and saw what stands a good chance of being the greatest Opening Day of all-time (non-Bob Feller Division). Seattle's Jim Presley hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game, then won the game with a grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the tenth.

Presley's WPA of .907 is great, but just two days ago, Cincinnati's Ramon Hernandez had a higher WPA (.929), going 4-for-5, with a three-run, game-winning dong with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Before his at-bat, the Reds trailed 6-4 and had a 9% win expectancy.

Hernandez's WPA ranks 157th among all players in all games since 1919. The worst WPAs in that time period are here (84 players at -.600 and worse).


Jim said...

Interesting. I'da sworn from reading stuff in this morning's Globe/Herald that Crawford's day was the worst evah. Seems to be a rule now that the piece is not complete unless there is a mention of how much he signed for.

allan said...

Crawford's WPA was -.239. (Lester's and Bard's were easily worse.)

Not Craw, Craw
1st: 0-0, man on 3rd, 1 out: L6
3rd: 2-2, 1st/3rd, 1 out: K
5th: 4-5, man on 2nd, 1 out: K
7th: 4-5, man on 2nd, 2 outs: K

An unpleasant day, but fairly mundane, I'd say.