Action! As the camera turns from the hallway to the office, we see charts, spreadsheets, and heat maps sprawled out across the floor. Robert Plant’s voice screeches through the stereo as we focus on a man on the couch.
Cryin’ won’t help you, Prayin’ wont do you no good
Billy Beane stares blankly at the ceiling, wondering what in the world went wrong. They had been on top of the world just a few weeks prior. He knew his “shit doesn’t work in the playoffs,” but what had gone so horribly wrong in the regular season? The voice of Jonah Hill breaks the silence as we cut scene.
RAW PERFORMANCE PLAYER OF THE DAY
Another day, another absurd pitching performance. Baseball is notoriously slow to change, but at some point actions must be taken to reverse the continually diminishing run scoring in our great game. Shrink the zone. Juice the ball. Lower the mound. We can disagree on what to do, but let’s agree something should be done. But I digress. For now, let us appreciate the fruits the current environment is producing.
I recognize the Indians’ Carlos Carrasco was pitching against the Astros, but a twelve strikeout Maddux is what it is. Carlos needed only 98 pitches to achieve a Game Score of 94, striking out 12, walking 1, and allowing only two hits. In researching for this piece I learned Carlos has the most valuable slider in baseball on a pitch-by-pitch basis. Watch the video linked in the picture below, and it’s not hard to see why. He starts the game by using it to get a swinging strikeout, then continues to terrorize the Astros lineup by setting them up with the fastball and putting them away with the bendy stuff. You’d think with such beautifully smooth, simple mechanics and filthy stuff, he would have found more big league success by now. The fact he hasn’t makes me want to research him further. The combo worked last night, though, and for that we commend you.
CONTEXTUAL PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY
I really considered giving this to Alex Wood and Christian Bethancourt. It wouldn’t have been completely silly, as Beth actually did have the second highest Win Percentage Added (WPA) in baseball yesterday. It would have been more cathartic than serious, though, and since this is completely serious and objective baseballing research and reporting, it would be inappropriate to act otherwise. As such, the award goes to the one man with a higher WPA for the day, Rougned Odor.
What I can not say for certain is whether or not that is the best name in the game of baseball today. What I can say for certain is last night he was instrumental in the Rangers defeat of the Athletics. With that loss, the A’s find themselves tied for the first wildcard spot with the Royals and only two games ahead of the Mariners. There’s a legitimate, non-zero chance the team we were previously lauding as the best team in either league may end up missing the playoffs completely. And for that, they can very slightly blame Mr. Odor.
If you’ve ever wondered how WPA looks in graphical form, allow me to present you the win probably graph for yesterday’s game. See that sharp plummet in the A’s chances of winning that occured in the 8th inning? That would be Rougned’s game tying double. The Athletics proceeded to intentionally walk Adrian Beltre- because even smart teams do questionable things- which set the stage for a JP Arencibia home run, from which they would not be able to recover.
You know what the most depressing part of this loss is? It came after Jeff Samardzija, the guy they aggressively pursued to help them in their
world baseballing domination, turned in one of his best starts for the entire season. It’s a cruel, cruel world, Mr. Beane. Cryin’ won’t help you. Prayin’ won’t do you no good.