14 April 2009

14230: Game 8 Unfair Win Shares

I knew there was a chance the moment I heard Steiner's voice rise in excitement with the words "right field corner". It would have been more fun to see Hudson triple to complete the cycle on TV, and even more fun to be at Dodger Stadium for it. But I'll take it.

Hudson's cycle came with little margin for error. His single came on an infield dribbler where he beat the throw by a step. His home run was a looping long fly that just cleared the short fence in left field. On his double two different fielders had trouble picking up the ball in the gap, but I don't think they would have had a chance of getting him at second in any case. And the triple, at the end, was close, a throw, slide, tag --- a moment to wonder, then safe! --- and the cycle was completed. When Hudson's day was done he had completed an elegant cycle, which includes exactly one out, single, double, triple and home run. No excess. Just one of everything.

Hudson gets at least one unfair win share, that is a given. Heck, if a guy become the first Dodger to hit for the cycle since 1970, doesn't he deserve all three? But that's not going to happen. There were too many other stars in the blowout 11-1 win.

Here are the top Dodger Win Probability Added (WPA) scores from yesterday's game according to fangraphs:

Hudson -- 0.221
Ethier -- 0.131
Furcal -- 0.123
Billingsley -- 0.037
Kemp -- 0.032

No surprise at the top of the list. But Furcal, who was just 1-5, is nearly even with Ethier and his two home runs. That's because Furcal's one hit ( a single ) gave the Dodgers a 4-1 lead, which pushed the Dodgers win percentage for the game to near 90%. All the stuff that came after that wasn't worth a whole lot in WPA.

I'm really astonished to see Billingsley come out so low on the list, just a hair ahead of Kemp who was clearly not a star yesterday. Part of that comes from his -0.047 batting WPA, even though he was 1 for 2. To me Billingsley's dominant 11 strikeout seven inning performance is an essential part of the story of yesterday's game. That 0.037 seems absurdly low, but that's the objective number. Whatever. This is what unfair win shares are for. Billingsley's great performance was the other half of the opening day laugher and he gets an unfair win share for it.

And Hudson will get the last one, for a total of two. A man who hits for the cycle can't get any fewer, I think. So Ethier and his two home runs are left with nothing except the near worthless laugher win share that I will award him.

On the Giants side, Randy Johnson stands alone. He gets the first clean sweep of unfair shares in a game this season. Three for the Big Unit!

Unfair Win Shares ( Dodgers )

Hudson -- 2
Billingsley -- 1

Laugher Win Shares ( Dodgers )

Ethier -- 1

Unfair Loss Shares ( Giants )

Johnson -- 3

1 comment:

Griffster said...

Of course, it is curious that Furcal's share is so dependent on Billingsley's excellent pitching to date! If Billingsley had bombed and gave up, say, seven runs ( or even just four ) at that point, Furcal's single would have counted for less since the win percentage would have looked way different.

Indeed, situations like this is what Unfair Win Shares are made for.