Does your win expectancy change if the game is still scoreless?

Jeff Sullivan had a variation of this question for me. I found it intriguing enough to take a quick look. This chart is limited to games where the game was tied entering any half inning.

Obviously, the first two half-innings, the game is scoreless entering those half innings. And we don’t see much separation until we get to the start of the 11th half inning (i.e, top of the 6th). From that point onwards, the chance of home team winning increases in a scoreless game.

Why would this be? Almost certainly selection bias. Those games feature a low run environment, either because pitcher parks are disproportionately represented, or great pitchers are disproportionately represented.

Basically, in a small-ball setting, the chance of winning increases for the home team of a tied game.

But, is that ALL it could be? Could maybe managers and players play differently knowing the game is scoreless? Someone else can take it from here.


We hoped you liked reading Does your win expectancy change if the game is still scoreless? by Tangotiger!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs

newest oldest most voted

I would think a big factor in a tied game is the strength of each team’s bullpen because the farther into the game that it is tied the better the team with a better bullpens odds are