FanGraphs Baseball - Comments on 2004 Red Sox-Yankees Win Probability
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Sometimes you look at these graphs and a particular moment you thought was important turns out to be not so important. But in this case, Dave Roberts’ stolen base looks to be just as important as we thought it would be.

Comment by Tom G — July 24, 2006 @ 9:01 am

Curtis Leskanic was a hidden hero in game 4. He got Bernie to fly out w/the bases juiced in the top o the 11th, 2 outs. Then he shut the Yanks down in the top of the 12th. You hear a lot about the Roberts steal, and even the Millar walk which led to the Roberts steal, but you don’t hear about Leskanic keeping them in the game and series. The Boston pen shut out the Yanks for the final 6 innnings.

Love this site.

Comment by rrolek — July 24, 2006 @ 5:46 pm

It amazes me that Dave Roberts could get a 10.8 WPA in Game 4 without ever picking up a bat or ball. That has to be one of the biggest steals in recent years in terms of WPA.

Comment by David T — July 27, 2006 @ 11:36 am

Yes, especially when you consider it was the ALCS.

I think it was much bigger than 10% if you believe in momentum. When you look back, that was the point where the momentum turned. It’s a bit of revisionist history since the Red Sox still had less than 50% chance of winning the game, let alone the series, let alone the championship. However w/every win, the steal became bigger and bigger.

It’s kind of like the Bartman incident w/my Cubs on ’03. It was a foul ball, in the stands, they were still up 3 runs at home w/5 outs left. However w/every losing season it gets bigger and bigger.

It’s human nature to dumb things down to a simple cause and effect. Roberts steal and Bartman’s reach didn’t cause the subsequent events.

…or did they?

Comment by rrolek — July 27, 2006 @ 12:26 pm

This is fascinating stuff. I love it.

Is there anywhere one can go to find an accounting of these situational probabilities based on inning, score, and baserunners? I find myself wondering what the probabilities say about relative values of the game situation versus the score. In other words, is it ever possible, say, that a team could be in spot where they’d have a greater probability of winning even though the score was less favorable?

For example, does a team have a better chance of winning if they are down 4-3 with the bases loaded and one out in the 5th inning than if they are tied 4-4 with 2 outs and no one on in the fifth inning?

Comment by bk — July 27, 2006 @ 1:14 pm

Great graphs, thanks. One question: is it accurate to stack the graphs in the first graph as you put them? It would seem that the vertical axis of games 5, 6, 7 should be stretched to account for the fact that if the Yankees had a 90% chance of winning the game then they also had at minimum a 90% chance of winning the series.

Obviously the highest chance for the Yankees to win the series would have been Game 4 just prior to the Roberts steal. They would have had the probability of winning that game PLUS the chance of winning any of the 3 subsequent games.

However, in Game 5, just after the Manny DP they had a 90% chance of winning that game (which would have clinched a series win), PLUS a chance to win any of the subsequent 2 games.

In other words, in elimination playoff series there should be a leverage index for the GAME as a whole, not just individual plays. Games 4, 5, 6, 7 were all elimination games and should have a higher LI. Game 7 was a double-elimination game. The axis for game 7 should stretch all the way from the bottom to the top of the chart since the Yankees chance of winning the series as a whole was identical to their chance of winning Game 7. Similarly, the chance of the Red Sox winning the series as a whole was identical to their chance of winning Game 7.

Just a thought. I’d be happy to talk more over email about it, or even help you to develop graphs for this post-season on the topic if you’re interested.

Sincerely,

David C Thompson

Y ’02, SLS ’07, Red Sox for life

Comment by David Thompson — May 10, 2007 @ 8:01 pm

Oh yes the Yankees, love the team or despise them, they are good. We do miss Joe Torre though. Thank you for Derek Jeter. I’m not a huge Arod fan though

Comment by Lara Stenger — June 9, 2010 @ 6:17 am

I remember thinking Leskanic didn’t get enough of the credit that he deserved in that series. Didn’t he turn out to have a torn labrum or rotator cuff or something? Have to wonder if he was in pain the whole time to boot.

Comment by tenfingers — June 9, 2010 @ 7:44 am