Note that each play is evaluated by its importance at the time.
There are 12 plays that really stand out.
12. ALCS Game 7, bottom of the 7th. Jacoby Ellsbury leads off against Rafael Betancourt with the Sox leading 3-2, and hits a GB to Casey Blake's right which he boots for an error. Ellsbury reaches 2B with a crucial potential insurance run. Julio Lugo will bunt him to 3B; see #5 for what happens next. .055 WPA * .239 Game Weight = 1.31% improvement in WS victory odds.
11. World Series Game 2, bottom of the 4th. With the Sox down 1-0, J.D. Drew lines a 1-out single to RF off of Ubaldo Jimenez, and Mike Lowell goes from 1st to 3rd, just beating Brad Hawpe's throw as Drew takes 2nd. Jason Varitek will hit Jimenez's next pitch to CF for the game-tying Sac Fly. .109 WPA * .129 Game Weight = 1.41% improvement.
10. ALCS Game 7, top of the 7th. Kenny Lofton is on 2B with 1 out after Julio Lugo dropped his popup to short LF. Franklin Gutierrez hits a hard grounder off of Hideki Okajima down the 3B line which caroms into short LF, and Lofton seems certain to score to tie the game at 3-3, but 3B coach Joel Skinner misreads Manny Ramirez's position and holds Lofton at 3B. The WPA tables in The Book give us the difference between what should have happened and what did. .062 WPA * .239 = 1.48%.
9. World Series Game 3, top of the 8th. Sox are clinging to a 6-5 lead. With 1 out and Julio Lugo on 2nd and pinch-hitter Coco Crisp on 1st, Jacoby Ellsbury faces tough LHP Brian Fuentes and bloops a 2B to RF just out of the reach of the diving Hawpe. Lugo scores the crucial insurance run and Crisp goes to 3B. .131 * .121 = 1.61%.
8. ALCS Game 7, top of the 8th. Jonathan Papelbon relieves Hideki Okajima with Grady Sizemore on 2B and Asdrubal Cabrera on 1B and no out and the Sox leading 5-2, and fans Travis Hafner on three pitches. .070 * .239 = 1.67%.
7. World Series Game 2, bottom of the 5th. With the game tied 1-1, 2 out, David Ortiz on 2B and Manny Ramirez on 1B, Mike Lowell lines a go-ahead RBI 2B to LF, chasing starter Ubaldo Jimenez. .152 * .129 = 1.97%.
Note that #8 was rendered moot by the late Red Sox rally while #7 held up as the difference in the game, but we didn't know that when they happened.
6. ALCS Game 7, bottom of the 1st. With 1 out and Dustin Pedroia on 2B and Kevin Youkilis on 1B, Manny Ramirez pokes a grounder off of Jake Westbrook just to Jhonny Peralta's left to give the Sox a 1-0 lead, Youkilis stopping at 2B. .088 * .239 = 2.10%.
5. ALCS Game 7. bottom of the 7th. The Sox lead 3-2 and have a crucial insurance run in Jacoby Ellsbury at 3B with 1 out. Dustin Pedroia hits the heretofore untouchable Rafael Betancourt's 0-1 pitch into the Monster seats to put the Sox up 5-2. .100 * .239 = 2.39%.
4. ALCS Game 7, top of the 5th. With the Sox leading 3-1, Kenny Lofton leads off the inning with what should have been a wall-ball 2B off of Daisuke Matsuzaka. Manny Ramirez makes a great play to nearly throw out Lofton at 2B, and umpire Brian Gorman helps exorcise the ghosts of Tim Tschida and Larry Barnett by calling him out. The net WPA reported by FanGraphs for this play is .030 for getting the leadoff man out, but you have to include the -.074 that the 2B would have been. .104 * .239 = 2.48%.
3. ALDS Game 2, bottom of the 9th. With the score tied 3-3, Julio Lugo on 2B and David Ortiz on 1B after a 2-out IBB, Manny Ramirez crushes ace closer Francisco Rodriguez's 1-0 pitch way, way over the Monster for his first walk-off HR in a Red Sox uniform.
2. ALCS Game 6, bottom of the 1st. Fausto Carmona has nearly gotten out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam unscathed by fanning Ramirez and getting Lowell on a short fly to RF, but J.D. Drew hits his 3-1 pitch into the CF camera station for a 2-out grand slam. .098 * .267 = 2.63%.
This was the biggest hit of the post-season, and since #1 was rendered moot whereas #2 utterly changed the game, it is quite arguably the most important play.
1. ALCS Game 7, top of the 7th. Sox lead 3-2 but the Indians have Kenny Lofton on 3B and Franklin Gutierrez on 1B with 1 out. Hideki Okajima gets Casey Blake to hit his 1st pitch to Mike Lowell for an inning-ending 5-4-3 DP. .220 * .239 = 5.25%, which is to say more value than the Drew and Ramirez HRs combined.
Next: the full list of the top 75 plays.
Edited by Eric Van, 02 November 2007 - 02:45 PM.