The final series of the first round also had some of the most up-and-down games.
5. Kyle Farnsworth, Game 2
1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, +.377 WPA
Farnsworth’s inning-plus in game two came in about as high leverage of a situation as it gets (although some of it was self-created). He entered with a runner on second and one out in a 4-4 game in the tenth inning, proceeded to hit and walk the two subsequent hitters, and then induced one of the most ridiculous double plays in baseball history, with Troy Glaus eschewing the out at home and going 5-4-3 to end the inning. Farnsworth then stayed in to record the “save” up by one in the eleventh. Overall, his outing had a pLI of 3.86, nearly double the typical situation for a closer, making his scoreless effort all the more impressive.
4. Buster Posey, Game 3
2-4, RBOE, +.422 WPA
In game three, otherwise known as the “Brooks Conrad game,” Posey was having a good but uneventful night at the dish until he hit a shot up the middle which Conrad couldn’t handle. The Giants took the lead on that play, Conrad’s third error of the night. Of Posey’s +.422 WPA on the night, +.371 came from that play.
3. Johnathan Sanchez, Game 3
7.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER (allowed by Romo), 11 K, 1 BB, +.466 WPA
The craziness of the final two innings of game three make it easy to forget just how masterful Johnathan Sanchez was. In a low scoring game on both sides, Sanchez was murder on Braves hitters, staying in complete control until he was pulled by manager Bruce Bochy in the eighth. His only earned run of the game didn’t score until after he was lifted – perhaps his line could have looked even better.
2. Eric Hinske, Game 3
1-1, HR, 2 RBI, +.578 WPA
Eric Hinske isn’t exactly a great all around player, but he can hit right handed pitching. That’s exactly what he did against Sergio Romo, as he just barely took one over the right field fence to give the Braves a 2-1 lead heading into the ninth inning.
1. Tim Lincecum, Game 1
9 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 14 K, 1 BB, +.711 WPA
The fact that this performance was even compared to the Roy Halladay no-hitter finished mere hours before game one started is a testament to Lincecum’s tremendous performance. For all the domination Johnathan Sanchez showed in game 3, it was nothing compared to Lincecum, who drew 31 swings and misses along the way to his fourteen strikeouts. To put the cherry on top, he did it all on in a 1-0 game. Perhaps it wasn’t quite as magical as the no-hitter, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Lincecum’s game one deserves a lofty spot in the all-time best postseason pitching performances.
5. Tommy Hanson, Game 2
4.0 IP, 5 H, 1 HR, 4 R, 5 K, 1 BB, -.260 WPA
The Braves would eventually come back and win this game, but the four early runs given up by Tommy Hanson put them in a deep hole. Much of the damage was done early on a three-run Pat Burrell home run (-.259 WPA), and Hanson did settle down after that and pitched pretty well in his final three innings, allowing the Braves to later tie the game and then win it in extra innings.
4. Buster Posey, Game 2
1-4, BB, R, K, GIDP, -.344 WPA
Both of Posey’s positive events – his walk and single – came with two outs and weren’t run scoring events, and, until the tenth inning, none of Posey’s outs had came in high leverage situations either. When Posey came to bat in the bottom of the 10th with bases loaded and one out, he could have won the game. Instead, he grounded into a double play in easily his most important at bat of the game, moving the Giants win expectancy back from 83% to 50%. The Braves would go on to score the winning run in the next inning on Rick Ankiel‘s home run.
3. Michael Dunn, Game 3
0 IP, 1 H, -.349 WPA
It doesn’t get much simpler than this. Dunn entered in the bottom of the ninth with one sole purpose: retire Aubrey Huff. He couldn’t, as Huff singled in the tying run and put runners on first and second for Buster Posey. Bobby Cox immediately pulled the left-handed specialist, ending his night right there.
2*. Peter Moylan, Game 3
0 IP, 0 H, 1 RBOE, -.371 WPA
The final Brooks Conrad error came with Moylan on the mound, and due to the lack of defense in our implementation of WAR, Moylan receives the full -.371 debit for this play. Posey did hit that ball hard, but Moylan should have been out of the inning. Instead, the go-ahead run scored and the Giants went on to win.
1. Sergio Romo, Game 3
0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 HR, 1 ER, -.563 WPA
Romo was called upon to protect a 1-0 lead as well as Johnathan Sanchez’s shutout. He couldn’t do either, as Eric Hinske, the first batter Romo faced, hit the home run mentioned above to give the Braves a 2-1 lead. Romo did manage to retire the side after the home run, but at that point, with the Giants only having one more chance to score, things were looking bleak for San Francisco. Luckily for Romo, he was bailed out by Aubrey Huff, Buster Posey, and Brooks Conrad.
**. Brooks Conrad, Game 3
0-3, 3 errors, -.751 unofficial WPA
Conrad’s game three will go down as one of the worst postseason performances in history. I wrote about it in detail here.
Hitter: Eric Hinske
1-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB +.664 WPA
Hinske didn’t play much in this series, but in his two biggest PAs (leverage indexes of 3.3 and 4.5), Hinske came up big, with the go-ahead home run in game three and a one-out, one-on walk in the bottom of the ninth in game four.
Pitcher: Tim Lincecum
9 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 14 K, 1 BB, +.711 WPA
Hitter: Jason Heyward
2-16, 1 BB, 8 K, GIDP, -.493 WPA
Heyward’s rookie season was incredible, but his debut in the postseason was anything but. Heyward struggled the whole way and failed to record a hit until game four. The Braves didn’t hit much at all this series, and Heyward’s struggles were a big reason why.
Pitcher: Sergio Romo
0.2 IP, 3 H, HR, 3 R, -.705 WPA
Romo appeared in two games and was awful in both, allowing the aforementioned Hinske home run in game three and failing to record an out in the eighth inning of game two.