Percentages tell story of Yankees, A's comebacks
As you can probably imagine, the odds were stacked against the Yankees and A's on Wednesday night. But then they mounted their improbable comebacks.
While nothing compares to, you know, actually seeing the games unfold, the charts that follow do a pretty nifty job of laying out the steep odds that the Yankees and A's overcame on Wednesday night.
Courtesy of FanGraphs, these win-expectancy charts track, in real time, a team's chances of winning a game in light of the score, outs and base-runners (or lack thereof) for the present inning and outs remaining in the game. When you witness a steep rise toward 100 percent in the late innings -- as you're about to see in the cases of last night's ALDS contests -- then you'll know some kind of minor miracle occurred.
Here's the Orioles-Yankees game. You can see that the Yanks' odds of prevailing dip to 11.5 percent after Ichiro made the first out of the bottom of the ninth. Raul Ibanez, of course, made a hash of those percentages not once but twice.
Ibanez's first home run increased the Yankees' chances of winning from that meager 11.5 percent to 58.2 percent. Then his 12th-inning walk-off vaulted their odds of winning from 64.0 percent to, um, 100 percent. In other words, Ibanez, in the course of two plate appearances, tacked on, oh, 82.7 percent to the Yanks' win expectancy. It's difficult to "clutch up" more than that.
Soon thereafter, this unfolded in Oakland:
The bottom of the ninth in Oakland -- unlike the bottom of the ninth in the Bronx -- can be fairly classified as a "developing situation" as opposed to a singular moment. Josh Reddick's leadoff single took Oakland's odds of winning from 7.4 percent to 15.9 percent. Then Josh Donaldson doubled: 15.9 percent to 41.5 percent. Then Seth Smith doubled (and then trended on Twitter): 41.5 percent to 79.7 percent. George Kottaras's foul out and Cliff Pennington's whiff knocked it down a bit before Coco Crisp's walk-off single.
Needless to say, it's not often you see two critical games conclude in such a fashion. 'Twas a hell of a night of baseball, to say the least.
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