After a thrilling walk-off stolen base/error last night, the Braves extend their winning streak to six, beating the Blue Jays 5-2. It was a team effort, with Tommy Hanson throwing eight solid innings and Dan Uggla and Andrelton Simmons each hitting home runs.
For those of you not familiar with the picture above, it is a Win Probability chart found here. It tracks the probability of a team winning the game after every event (at bat, stolen base attempt, etc.). It is not a perfect stat, since it assumes an average hitter facing an average pitcher for every event. The bottom chart is a line of all the leverage values (importance) for each at-bat.
As you see, the home run by Uggla to put the Braves up 3-0 recorded a .303 WPA, the biggest event of the game. The next biggest event was the Jose Bautista home run in the 6th to bring the Blue Jays within one run. Since they never trailed at home, the Braves had a better chance to win every plate appearance except after Kelly Johnson‘s leadoff single in the third.
The other thing I’d like to note is the 9th inning. The win probability at the beginning of the standard 3-run save is 97.5%, or successful 39 out of 40 times. There is a common argument among sabermetricians that a closer should not be used in a 3-run game. I agree with that, except for when a team faces an elite offense, such as the Rangers, Yankees, or Cardinals. Kimbrel had pitched in two of the last three days, so it would have been nice to give him a day off. However, Eric O’Flaherty and Jonny Venters each threw the last three days and Cristhian Martinez had thrown the last two days, so I would have also thrown Kimbrel today. If any of those other pitchers were less worked, I would have used them instead.
The Braves will go for the sweep tomorrow, though there has been one change. Tim Hudson will miss the start because of an ankle injury, and the Braves will recall Julio Teheran to make the start. It will be interesting to see what adjustments, if any, Teheran has made in the minors this year.