• Last 3 Post-Seasons, Who’s To Blame?

    Posted by on January 22nd, 2007 · Comments (8)

    The Yankees are 3-10 in the postseason since the end of Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS. So, who should we blame for those ten games lost? Can WPA tell us the answer? Here are those ten losses and who WPA says should get the “L” next to their name:

    Game 4 of the 2006 ALDS: Jaret Wright
    Game 3 of the 2006 ALDS: Randy Johnson
    Game 2 of the 2006 ALDS: Robinson Cano

    Game 5 of the 2005 ALDS: Mike Mussina
    Game 3 of the 2005 ALDS: Randy Johnson
    Game 2 of the 2005 ALDS: Worm Killer Wang

    Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS: Kevin Brown
    Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS: Tony Clark
    Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS: Tom Gordon
    Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS: Paul Quantrill

    What, no A-Rod?

    Actually, the only games here where Alex Rodriguez had really bad games, according to WPA, were Game 2 of the 2006 ALDS and Game 5 of the 2005 ALDS. (These were both games that were started by Mike Mussina – go figure.)

    Of course, Game 2 of the 2006 ALDS and Game 5 of the 2005 ALDS turned out to be pretty big games in the grand scheme of things – so, maybe that’s why some people look at A-Rod’s performance in those games and make it into a thing where he’s to blame for the Yankees losing in 2004, 2005, and 2006.

    However, the reality of it is all about the pitching.

    Blame Quantrill, Gordon, and Brown for 2004.
    Blame Johnson and Mussina for 2005.
    Blame Johnson and Wright for 2006.

    Or, blame the guy who put them on the team. But, Alex Rodriguez is not the reason why the Yankees have lost 10 of their last 13 post-season games. Maybe A-Rod hasn’t been the cause for them to win 10 of their last 13, but, I’m pretty sure he’s not the guy to blame for them losing 10 of their last 13 contests either.

    Comments on Last 3 Post-Seasons, Who’s To Blame?

    1. January 22nd, 2007 | 5:40 pm

      It sort of gets lost in the shuffle, but, Game 2 of the 2006 ALDS was a bad day for Cano:

      http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/boxscore?gid=261005110&page=plays

    2. mehmattski
      January 22nd, 2007 | 6:08 pm

      That’s some interesting research, Steve, I’m enjoying going back and looking at all the postseason games from a WPA perspective.

      I know that when an event occurs, it changes each team’s probability, and that change is reflected in both the batter’s and the pitcher’s WPA. The reservation I have about WPA is this: given what we know about the ability of a pitcher to control the outcome of a batted ball (that is, minimal), to what extent can we assign “blame” to a pitcher for effect on win probability?

      Further, from some experience on fangraphs, his “clutchitude” parameter seems like a better measure of determining who is responsible for the wins and losses of individual games. Adding probability of winning is interesting, but certain situations do have more “leverage,” and taking that into account, who means more to those ten losses?

    3. jonm
      January 22nd, 2007 | 6:56 pm

      Great stuff, Steve. I think that it’s high time that I actually spent some more time thinking about WPA and what it means.

      Randy Johnson certainly comes off badly there. The more I think about it, the more I won’t miss the Big Unit.

    4. rbj
      January 22nd, 2007 | 7:17 pm

      Who are you, and what have you done with Steve Lombardi? -jk

      Unit had been so good for so long, that I see getting him was a decent gamble. Now, Jaret Wright and Kevin Brown . . .

      Very interesting line up.

    5. January 22nd, 2007 | 9:46 pm

      Thanks guys.

      Hey, rbj, it’s still me!

      ~~~Adding probability of winning is interesting, but certain situations do have more “leverage,” and taking that into account, who means more to those ten losses?~~~

      I better call Tom Tango!

    6. January 23rd, 2007 | 10:39 am

      FYI, Tom shared the following with me today:

      “In an individual game, a pitcher is likely to be at the top or bottom. What you need to do is look at the totality of the WPA.

      Leverage is built-in to WPA. No further adjustment is necessary.”

      I have a follow up into him on how to look at the totality of the WPA.

    7. Jason O.
      January 23rd, 2007 | 10:42 am

      Wait a second…Steve Lombardi just posted an entry that was not critical of Alex Rodriguez.

      What’s next? Kenny Williams has a friendly dinner with Frank Thomas?

    8. SteveB
      January 23rd, 2007 | 11:45 am

      So let me get this straight, the Yankees didn’t score a run for 20 innings and that’s Randy Johnson and Jaret Wright’s fault?

      Ok, maybe I can see Wright. The Yankees scored 3 runs in Wright’s start. So ok, that’s his fault that he gave up more than 3 runs.

      But the Yankees scored 0 runs ZERO RUNS in Randy’s start. It would have been impossible for him to win the game. So I don’t really know what to make of this.

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