Raul Ibanez’s Historic Clutch Evening

Raul Ibanez batted twice tonight. He hit a game tying home run in the ninth, then a game winning home run in the 12th. His WPA for the game: .827.

We only have postseason data going back to 2002, but from our records, this is the second best single game WPA in that stretch, trailing only David Freese‘s amazing performance from Game 6 of the World Series last year. Freese’s performance was the single highest WPA in postseason history, so every other player in the history of the sport is also behind him.

Baseball-Reference’s Play Index goes back further, though, and so using that tool, we can see where Ibanez’s game will rank in postseason history. Per B-R, the current top five are:

David Freese, 2011 World Series, Game 6: .969
Kirk Gibson, 1988 World Series, Game 1: .870
Steve Garvey, 1984 NLCS, Game 4: .854
Lance Berkman, 2011 World Series Game 6: .832
Charlie Keller, 1941 World Series Game 4: .826

B-R uses slightly different numbers to calculate WPA than we do, so by their calculations, Ibanez might be slightly above or below .827, so he might not be #5 on the list when they update the numbers in the morning. But it’s going to be really close.

Not bad for a guy who didn’t hit until the 9th inning.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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cletus yokel
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cletus yokel
3 years 9 months ago

Thanks, and great work! I was thinking of exactly this question.

Johnny
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Johnny
3 years 9 months ago

‘banez bombed ya!

JimNYC
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JimNYC
3 years 9 months ago

I was at this game, sitting just to the foul side of the the right field pole. Best experience ever at a baseball game.

boogie down
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boogie down
3 years 9 months ago

I was at the game, sitting halfway up the upper deck, directly behind home plate. For about ten minutes after he hit the second HR, I was cackling like a madman. Absolutely the best experience I’ve ever had at a sporting event.

weebly
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weebly
3 years 9 months ago

Evidence that the powers of evil have dominion over the good.

Andrew
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Andrew
3 years 9 months ago

Three pitches thrown to him, two left the yard.

giorgio
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giorgio
3 years 9 months ago

SHOCKMASTER!

Andrew
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Andrew
3 years 9 months ago

Apparently, Ibanez is also the first player in postseason history to hit two home runs in a game he didn’t start.

Also, the Yankees have won only two games this year when trailing after 7 innings, and Ibanez has the game-tying and game-winning hits in both of those games.

Pretty incredible.

Guitar Guy
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3 years 9 months ago

Like we say at guitar center, “If your don’t play Ibanez as a ‘Fender, it’s a pretty song.”

bpdelia
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bpdelia
3 years 9 months ago

I used to have an ibanez. most ludicrously low action in history. used it as a d tuned guitar on tours. it was ugly but got the job done

joser
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joser
3 years 9 months ago

I still have an Ibanez. Neck-through-body with full 24 frets. The stock electronics were weird, though (dual humbuckers each with its own toggle switch for single/dual-in-phase/dual out-of-phase, plus the normal toggle to select between bridge, neck, or both pickups).

Slats
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Slats
3 years 9 months ago

A-Roid should be benched.

Nik
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Nik
3 years 9 months ago

Better bench Jeter then too, because they are pretty much the same.

Mike
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Mike
3 years 9 months ago

Not sure if this is sarcasm or if you’re being serious.

Nik
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Nik
3 years 9 months ago

They both posted a 116 wRC+ this season, so you tell me.

wilt
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wilt
3 years 9 months ago

One at barely-shortstop, the other at cement-feet-thirdbase.

David
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David
3 years 9 months ago

Jeter posted +1 whole WAR better than A-Rod did

Mike
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Mike
3 years 9 months ago

Nik, why don’t you tell me their wRC+ in the playoffs thusfar? I don’t care if it’s a small sample size or not.

Mike
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Mike
3 years 9 months ago

In September and October (though I don’t know if the October includes the playoffs but I assume not)

wRC+

A-Rod – 95
Jeter – 100

Assuming the playoffs are not included, A-Rod’s is certainly below 95 and Jeter’s is certainly above 100

Average_Casey
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Average_Casey
3 years 9 months ago

David, if you account for the positional adjustment for WAR, then you would expect Jeter to have a 1 WAR advantage. If you swapped ARod and Jeter, ARod may have more than a 1 WAR advantage (When ARod came to the Yankees, he was the better defender of the two, this may not be true anymore but I don’t really watch the Yankees so I am going off of really old data).

jim
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jim
3 years 9 months ago

bench a-slats

chuckb
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chuckb
3 years 9 months ago

Good idea. Ibanez would make a great third baseman.

neal
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neal
3 years 9 months ago

The best part of this article is the reminder of how amazing game 6 was last year. Freese is 1 and berkman is 4, that is insane.

Jack
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Jack
3 years 9 months ago

There really insane thing is that Cardinals’ bats combined for a 1.325 WPA, while the Rangers’ bats combined for .825 WPA. Overall, the teams together on offense produced 2.15 WPA. That’s probably not even legal in some states.

Phrozen
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Phrozen
3 years 9 months ago

Arguably, they would cancel out, leaving a total of 0.500. Thus, the Cards only won 88% of the World Series.

joser
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joser
3 years 9 months ago

Well, they only won 55% of the regular season, so….

Derek
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3 years 9 months ago

What a performance…as for the rest of the Yankees’ offense: take notes. Granderson especially has been a disaster. He’s just a K machine right now.

I think Mike Axisa tweeted that Gardner deserves consideration for a start in center. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but Granderson has been brutal.

Frito Bandito
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Frito Bandito
3 years 9 months ago

Isn’t Gardner still not able to swing the bat?

What would they have him do, bunt 4 times?

cliff lee's changeup
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cliff lee's changeup
3 years 9 months ago

he had a hit against the sox, so I think he’s cleared to play. he can’t be worse than Granderson anyway, and his defense is always a huge plus.

JimNYC
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JimNYC
3 years 9 months ago

Having him bunt 4 times would still make him a more productive hitter than Granderson at this point.

O's Fan
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O's Fan
3 years 9 months ago

Eli, eli, lama sabachthani?

Jim
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Jim
3 years 9 months ago

It might feel like the passion, but this is just the sort of thing that always happens in the postseason. Hopefully the Orioles will keep sticking around in the playoffs, and get to experience the other side of it in the coming years (just hopefully not against the Yankees).

RA Rowe
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RA Rowe
3 years 9 months ago

Even google translate has no idea what you’re talking about

Westside guy
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Member
Westside guy
3 years 9 months ago

You’ve never opened the Bible, I take it.

Rich
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Rich
3 years 9 months ago

Is Brian Kenny from the MLB Network still talking about the “fallacy of clutch hitting?” If so, someone please get him video of tonights performances… Ibanez, Coco, etc…

Kazinski
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Kazinski
3 years 9 months ago

Of course there is a such a thing as clutch hitting, its just not a repeatable skill. At least for most players. The best player over the last decade 2003-2012 in Fangraph’s Clutch stat is…..

Willie Bloomquist 5.63

Of course that must be an anomaly because number 2 is ….

Juan Pierre 5.41

Schuxu
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Schuxu
3 years 9 months ago

I don’t know, Willie Ballgame being first in a clutch metric legitimatizes the stat for me more then any other player would have been able to.

Sensitive RAB Guy
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3 years 9 months ago

or maybe the stat itself needs some refinement…

Kazinski
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Kazinski
3 years 9 months ago

After thinking about it, it makes perfect sense that hitters like Bloomquist and Pierre would lead in the Clutch stat. It is calculated using factoring WPA with Leverage and adjusting for the players baseline performance.

Any pitcher with Bloomquist or Pierre coming up in a high leverage situation is going to go right after them giving them a better opportunity than a more dangerous hitter.

Brett
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Brett
3 years 9 months ago

Maybe the O’s should just play matchup with the bullpen and forget about the concept of a closer.

GoToWarMissAgnes
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GoToWarMissAgnes
3 years 9 months ago

The second homer came off the guy they would have brought in had they been playing matchups.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
3 years 9 months ago

Speaking of which, is there something wrong with Troy Patton? Why in the world would they use Brian Matusz?

weebly
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weebly
3 years 9 months ago

Matusz has been AMAZING against lefties as a reliever over the past few months. Buck’s call was the right one, particularly because he also has stamina, and could stay in longer than many relievers if need be. Given the mediocrity on display in the Baltimore lineup, it didn’t look like they’d be finishing things up themselves any time soon….

Kazinski
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Kazinski
3 years 9 months ago

Kind of amazing that Ibanez pinch hits for ARod in that situation. Those two go way back they played together 1996-2000 for the Mariners. Alex has always been the star, and Ibanez the plodder, Ibanez’s highest WAR season is 3.9, Alex has averaged 6 WAR over 19 seasons. Alex is 3 years younger but he made it to the majors 2 years before Ibanez got his first call up. Alex is making 30m, Raul 1.1m.

cliff lee's changeup
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cliff lee's changeup
3 years 9 months ago

You can’t predict baseball Kazinski

Phantom Stranger
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Phantom Stranger
3 years 9 months ago

I’d be really nervous going to Jim Johnson again against the Yankees for a close save, if I was Buck. That pitch to Ibanez he hit looked like a sinker that didn’t sink, ending up right in his wheelhouse. At least the one Matusz gave up was a high fastball.

bpdelia
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bpdelia
3 years 9 months ago

strange. perhaps Johnson is a bit underworked now? that’s two games in a row with a flat sinker

Tito Landrum
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Tito Landrum
3 years 9 months ago

It was a fastball by Johnson, a very poorly placed fastball. If Johnson doesn’t pitch in a save situation tonight it’ll be because he pitched two innings last night That being said I’m sure they will go straight to him with the game on the line once again, and they should, IMO.

David
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David
3 years 9 months ago

Can we all go back to agreeing that as a Yankee, A-Rod usually sucks in the postseason now?

chuckb
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chuckb
3 years 9 months ago

As long as we can also agree that Ibanez is the 2nd greatest postseason performer of all time.

baseball for president
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baseball for president
3 years 9 months ago

This is perfect. Ibanez saved our bacon and got us a win while Granderson was using up all his K’s and Tex spent all his GIDP. That’s how it works, right? They’ve filled their quota and will hit baseballs now?

Jim
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Jim
3 years 9 months ago

At the very least, Granderson seems to be playing himself out of that 8 figure contract everyone assumed he’d be getting.

The Bench
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The Bench
3 years 9 months ago

Arod, welcome to where you belong

chuckb
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chuckb
3 years 9 months ago

I’m sort of surprised that Gibson’s WPA would be higher. He hit one homer, to win it, but Ibanez hit 2 — to tie the game and then to win it. Shouldn’t that have a higher WPA than Gibson’s 1 homer?

Cody
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Cody
3 years 9 months ago

Well, Gibson’s home run did both of those things at once: tied the game, and won it. And it came with two outs. Ibanez’s biggest WPA booster of the night was the tying home run, and that came with one out. Makes a big difference in WPA.

Steve
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Steve
3 years 9 months ago

Where is Guitar Guy to tell us how much better Gibson is vs Ibanez??

Also, don’t forget about the Yankee catcher, Martin, with the bomb in game one.

Quick, trade for Jake Peavey!!

Slide Guitar
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Slide Guitar
3 years 9 months ago

Or any National

Jeff H.
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Jeff H.
3 years 9 months ago

You have to give Girardi credit for having the brass to PH Ibanez for A-Rod in that particular situation.

Ivan Grushenko
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Ivan Grushenko
3 years 9 months ago

I still can’t believe he did that. Rodriguez wasn’t even injured or anything.

DJG
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DJG
3 years 9 months ago

I was thinking the same thing, although it begs the question: Why not just start Ibanez?

Dave Cameron
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Dave Cameron
3 years 9 months ago

Sorry guys. There was a typo in my last post. That part where I said A-Rod hasn’t really been that bad in the playoffs. I meant to say A-Rod has been really really bad in the playoffs. Like God-awful. Like a 4 year old girl with a wiffle ball bat could do more damage. Like if A-Rod is going to come up in the bottom of the ninth with the Yankees down by a run, they’d be better off pitch hitting for him with a 40 year old washed up journeyman. So yeah, sorry about the confusion.

Jeff H.
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Jeff H.
3 years 9 months ago

I had not read that post until you made this comment. Baseball is a funny game, ain’t it?

Imagine the coverage in the NY press today if Ibanez had struck out in the ninth …

Sleight of Hand Pro
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Sleight of Hand Pro
3 years 9 months ago

ya know, i dont like the yankees, dont particularly care for arod…. but i just cant fathom some people getting as worked up as they do about it all. i mean this commenter took the time to impersonate an author, write a paragraph about how bad arod is, probably sat back and clicked refresh hoping to see some thumbs ups, probably felt proud of his wittiness…. i dont know. its just a game, arods just a guy who struggles with pressure sometimes making more money than i am. maybe im the weird one, but i just dont care that much.

Mitchell
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3 years 9 months ago

It’s also an extremely small sample size. Yeah he’s been bad. But I’m sure you could find other stretches in his career where he’s been just as bad.

chuckb
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chuckb
3 years 9 months ago

Something tells me that everdiso’s around here somewhere.

jim
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jim
3 years 9 months ago

i’m doubtful this is the real dave cameron

shibboleth
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shibboleth
3 years 9 months ago

Can someone help clear up some confusion on my part? I’m not familiar with WPA. Bsed on the glossary entry for WPA, an average grade is listed at 1.0, and excellent is 6.0. Surely I’m missing something…

Can someone explain why .969 is awesome per this article but barely average per the glossary?

Mitchell
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3 years 9 months ago

The glossary refers to WPA for an entire season. This article refers to an individual game.

Topher
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Topher
3 years 9 months ago

The .969 is for one game. 6 is excellent for a full season

shibboleth
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shibboleth
3 years 9 months ago

Thanks, fellas!

Antonio Bananas
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Antonio Bananas
3 years 9 months ago

I’ll never forget this. I said “Poor A-Rod, getting pinch hit for by Raul “yes I’m still alive” Ibanez” and then he hits a game tying home run. Joke was on me.

Lurker
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Lurker
3 years 9 months ago

Gee, would this be the same Ibanez that sabermetrics fans in Seattle couldn’t wait to get rid of? The one that inspired all those gifs of terrible throws? The one whose defense was sooooo bad and bat sooooo mediocre that they couldn’t wait to dump him and resume the left field merry-go-round?

The same Ibanez who got the hell away from those loser Mariner teams and went on to get a ring with the Phillies and is now with one of the best pro teams in all of sports?

BurleighGrimes
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BurleighGrimes
3 years 7 months ago

Ibanez most certainly did not get a ring with the Phillies, unless he beat up Pat Burrell and took his.

BurleighGrimes
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BurleighGrimes
3 years 7 months ago

Ibanez was also one of the flat out worst players in baseball in 2011, and was pretty meh in 2012…so I’m not sure what your point is.

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