Teahen Carries White Sox

Last night was a night to remember for Mark Teahen. Forget the box score – Teahen went 3-5 with a triple, a home run, a run scored, 3 RBIs, and a SB – it was the way Teahen refused to let the White Sox lose last night that made Monday, April 12, 2010 against the Toronto Blue Jays a career night for the veteran of five seasons.

Entering the sixth inning, it didn’t appear as though Teahen would even have a good game, much less a special one, as the 9th batter in the Sox lineup had been stymied twice by Blue Jays starter Brian Tallet, with a flyout to center field and a force out to second. At that point, Teahen’s WPA for the night stood at -.059. In that inning, however, Teahen hit a two-out RBI single, tying the game at 6-6, good for a WPA of .146, raising his total game WPA to .087. Teahen added a stolen base, but would be stranded at 2nd, his game WPA at .103 after the SB.

The White Sox bullpen struggled in the 7th, as Randy Williams walked in a run to put the Jays ahead 7-6. The Jays bullpen, behind Shawn Camp and Scott Downs, shut down the White Sox until the 9th inning. Jason Frasor, the Blue Jays closer, then faced Teahen to open the last frame. Frasor’s lead was gone immediately, as Teahen smoked an 0-2 fastball for a solo home run to tie the game. The shot was worth a +.333 WPA, bringing his game total to .436, nearly enough to create an entire win for his team.

The White Sox failed to score again in the 9th, and the game remained scoreless until the 11th inning, when Teahen once again appeared in an important situation – a runner on first and nobody out. Once again, Teahen responded, tripling in the go-ahead run off Jeremy Accardo. The triple earned Teahen another +.329 WPA, bringing his game total up to a whopping +.765. This turned out to be the winning run, as Bobby Jenks managed to close the door in the bottom of the 11th.

The winning team, as a whole, will only have a +.500 WPA. Teahen shouldered the entire load and some more for the White Sox on Monday night in what could be one of the biggest, in terms of clutch hitting and value to the team, performances of the entire year. In his final 3 PAs, in which he went 3-3 with a 3B, a HR, and 3 RBIs, the run he knocked in either tied the game or gave the White Sox the lead. The leverage index of these three plays were 1.86, 2.90, and 3.43, respectively. Teahen came up huge in big spots for Chicago. To do so once can make you a hero. To do so three times in the same game? That’s simply amazing.

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Jack Moore's work can be seen at VICE Sports and anywhere else you're willing to pay him to write. Buy his e-book.

26 Responses to “Teahen Carries White Sox”

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  1. Boots says:

    I want him back on the Royals :(

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    • geo says:

      No you don’t. You just think you do.

      Unfortunately for White Sox fans, he achieved the apex of his season early. They will be expecting more of the same, only to be mired in the same disappointment Royals fans have endured at Teahen’s hands for years.

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      • KG says:

        I think I speak for most White Sox fans that we don’t really expect anything from Teahen; nobody expects “more of the same” as yesterday’s game, unfortunately. However, low expectations are certainly easier to meet. Nights like last night are just bonuses, though I don’t expect there to be any more.

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      • Jacob says:

        Yeah, as a Sox fan I know I don’t expect much. He’s already grounded into 3 brutal double-plays this season, which seems to be a lot closer to my expectations for him.

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      • 3rd Period Points says:

        As a Royals fan, I’ve watched Teahen for the past 5 years. He’s the type of player that will always be under-appreciated, particularly by fans that don’t notice his strengths. The things Teahen does well, shrewd baserunning and providing league average defense at multiple positions, are not easily noticed. His 3B defense improved significantly in his 2nd year at the position, but a 2 year hiatus in ’07 and ’08, when he played almost exclusively in the OF, hindered his development at the hot corner. I expect him to bounce back this year and be a solid contributor in Chicago.

        Oh yeah, and he’s also funny as hell–no small thing when it comes to team morale and clubhouse chemistry. Give him a chance Sox fans. He’s an acquired taste.

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  2. Speaking as a Royals fan who has watched him for most of the past five seasons… Don’t get too used to this, Sox fans. He’s not usually what I would call clutch. He always seemed to strike out, usually looking, when he hit with men on base, especially if they were in scoring position.

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  3. PL says:

    Small Sample Scales are out the window now?

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    • don says:

      It’s 7 games into the season. If every article were saying “Despite his start Frenchy is not likely to finish the season with more walks than strikeouts!” that would be pretty boring.

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    • Reuben says:

      The author makes no conclusions about Teahan as a player or what the rest of the season holds for him. The author describes the night with statistical underpinning to point out how good Teahan was last night. Small sample size isn’t an issue when you’re simply talking about what happened and not what will happen or true level of skill.

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  4. I have been following Teahan’s career since he was in the minors and was the subject of an article in the NY Times Magazine. My sense is that he has been poorly coached from a hitting perspective. He was naturally a high average singles/doubles hitter who seemed to have a knack for finding the gaps and was projected to be like George Brett. Once in the high minors, coaches kept trying to get him to pull more and develop more power. There’s no question that home runs are valuable, but so is a player than can get 180-200 hits per year. Home run power often develops later.

    I’d take him straight-up for Edwin Encarnacion. Any takers?

    Oh yes, and back to Jack’s original article, that was an awesome performance by Teahan. Previously, him major league numbers had not been that good at the Skydome.

    Does anyone have a listing of the best individual game WPA performances?

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  5. part-time pariah says:

    goddamn do i hate mark teahen. love my sox, but good grief.

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  6. Gabriel says:

    I enjoyed the game summary. I think it is a valiant effort to add some spice to a genre of writing that has become very boring as a whole, particularly the generic formulaic AP game writeups.

    As a commentary for future columns, I think the WPA-centric nature worked here, but that shouldn’t be the focus of every game writeup. Variety is what makes this fun. Oh, that and unusual adjectives and metaphors!

    In response to a couple of the other comments, the point of the article is not that Teahen is a great player. The point is to give us a sense of the action and emotion of a single ballgame, with something of a sabermetric perspective. This summary succeeds.

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    • part-time pariah says:

      I don’t think anyone was lauding Teahan. He just sucks at baseball, period, and I’m a disgruntled White Sox fan, lol, so THERE! ;)

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      • part-time pariah says:

        good analysis, though, like a previous poster stated, this is probably his peak of awesomeness for the season, lol.

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  7. Rob in CT says:

    I love games like this, where one player really stands out as da man. I remember a crazy Yanks-Rangers game from a few years back (I think it ended 14-13) wherein Jorge Posada was an absolute god. Something like 4-5 with a pair of dingers, including the 2-run walk-off shot, plus a monster collision at the plate (with Teixiera, I think) in which he held on for the out. I just think of it as “the Posada game.”

    This is the Teahan game. Or would be for me if I were a White Sox fan.

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    • Rob in CT says:

      5/16/06. Final 14-13. Posada: .930 WPA. Damn, dude.

      Funny: Mo had a -.281 WPA, but Kyle Freaking Farnsworth contributed +.113. Miguel Cairo (playing first base!) when 2 for 5 with 3 RBI.

      That was one wierd game.

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  8. mattnyc says:

    Most Sox fans are pretty down on Teahan and the shiny new 3 year deal they signed him to; however, more games like this and perhaps KW will be right once again. Perhaps a change of scenery and and a homer happy ballpark will do him some good.

    That said, someone needs to do a story on Sergio Santos — a position player the Sox converted to a reliever. He’s only pitched in pro ball for one year and yet he looks like a future closer. Throws 96 and has a surprisingly good changeup for such a raw player.

    Originally drafted as a shortstop by the Diamondbacks he’s starting to look like the latest example of KW’s uncanny ability to find diamonds in the rough.

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    • part-time pariah says:

      Sergio is absolutely nasty, and his slider is also coming along nicely. One hell of a story right there my friend…

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    • MikeS says:

      Actually, I seem to remember there was a post here and it led to comments like “why are you talking about this nobody 12th pitcher on a mediocre team” comments.

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  9. marc hulet says:

    My issue is that the manager Cito Gaston did not use Accardo for the first week of the season and then expected him to come in, pitch multiple innings and be effective in a crucial situation. He was actually much sharper than I thought he would be.

    The same thing could be said for pinch hitter Randy Ruiz. It was his first at-bat of the season in extra innings and he swung for the fences with each attempt at the ball. Neither player was set up properly to succeed.

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  10. A2K says:

    part-time pariah says:
    April 13, 2010 at 11:53 am
    I don’t think anyone was lauding Teahan. He just sucks at baseball, period, and I’m a disgruntled White Sox fan, lol, so THERE! ;)

    Thank you for the insightful comment.

    What was the last level you played at? Since you deem yourself worthy to claim a Major League Baseball player sucks at baseball, period.

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