Yankees Game 6 WPA

Cold Cody
Fan Confidence Poll: April 13th, 2009

Royals 6, Yankees 4
What is this nerdy graph?

Today, goat is spelled C-O-K-E. His -.684 WPA is among the worst I’ve seen since starting to follow the stat in 2006. The worst part is, as Ben noted earlier, is that Coke probably shouldn’t have been in the game at all. Joe Girardi is not Tony LaRussa, nor should we want him to emulate the second-longest-tenured manager in the majors. Not that LaRussa’s unique bullpen strategies aren’t good; it’s that they should stay just that–unique.

Like all games, it takes a team effort to lose and this one wasn’t all on Phil Coke. Nick Swisher‘s error in the fourth cost the team plenty. Not only did it put KC up 2-1, but it led to John Buck’s run-scoring single. The error was -.125 WPA and the Buck single was -.101, so that’s -.226. Gardner’s double play in the sixth cost the team -.107, and Melky’s two DPs added up to -.160.

Most surprisingly, Joba’s WPA was in the negative, despite his leaving the game with a lead — and that he only allowed one earned run. But because of the way WPA scores these things, apparently the Swisher error was actually charged to Joba. Again, if the WPA spreadsheet worked on my Excel for Mac, I would have scored that as a negative for Swisher and not Joba, leaving Joba with a .050 WPA for the game and Swisher with -.137. The subsequent Buck single was all Joba, whether he should have been out of the inning or not.

Yes, this was a tough game to stomach — always is when victory is in sight and it never comes. However, as we like to say, it’s just one game of 162. There are still 156 games in which the Yanks can steal a victory in the manner the Royals did today. If they do that a couple times and manage to hold their leads, they’ll be in good shape. For the good teams, these things have a tendency to even out.

Cold Cody
Fan Confidence Poll: April 13th, 2009
  • Ed

    This data shows Joba giving up 2 earned runs. The Yahoo & ESPN box scores show 3 runs, 1 earned run. ESPN Fantasy scoring shows Joba giving up 3 earned runs.

    Any ideas where the discrepancies are coming from?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak


      Originally, Joba was charged with three earned runs, but the ball that Nick Swisher misplayed was changed from a hit to an error. Those earned runs vanished. The official line is 3 runs, 1 earned.

      • Andy In Sunny Daytona

        How come on the graph it says Cano error?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          That’s not the Swisher/Cano double misplay in the bottom of the 4th.

          That’s the ball Cano hit to Mike Jacobs that Jacobs flubbed in the top of the 7th. It’s shorthand for “Cano reaches base on error to 1B”.

  • Wolf Williams

    Where’s Girardi’s score on this graph? Surely his bone-headed micro-managing ought to have a number assigned to it. Is a -1.000 a possibility with this system? If so, hang one on Joe. G.

    The only light at the end of this tunnel is that maybe Girardi figured he’d test the young Coke in a dicey situation on the road, away from the home fans who might rip Coke to pieces for letting one slip away. Maybe there will be a chance in Tampa for Coke to redeem himself before the homestand.

    Anyway, the Yankees were not going to go 160-2, so it’s just another loss among the 55-60 more to come, but these avoidable losses are the kind that drive us all nuts when we get to September and we’re a game further back than we need to be. April is a long way from September, but games like this one can linger for a while and can impact an entire season.

    Get the guys who make this graph to create one for Girardi.

    • Rich

      I don’t think the leverage of the situation got to Coke. For some reason, he hasn’t been as effective since the season started as he was last season or during ST. I have no idea whether it’s a mechanical issue, or a bad luck, or merely anomalous performance reflecting a microscopic sample size.

  • anonymous

    Losing against bad teams and winning against good is kinda what we did last year. Only we did it with Ponson and Rasner.

    Really missing Arod right now..

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      This whole making judgments based on six games thing really needs to stop.

      • Wolf Williams

        Here’s the thing, though, and I know this might get killed here, but….

        Why not bring in Mo for a 4-out save? You have a mediocre team on the ropes, in their building, about to tag their ace with a loss……. you gotta win or lose with your strength right here. Make them come back on your best reliever.

        I know it’s early, but you don’t save closers for later; you use them when you need them. Why give an up-and-coming team encouragement by opening the door with an unproven reliever like Coke? Make the Royals climb the whole mountain.

        Mo hadn’t had much work this week. The Yankees had a chance to take a 4-game streak into a tough place to play in Tampa. You get a weak team on the ropes, you crush their windpipes and leave them for dead. At a time when A-Rod is out and the bottom of the order looks wobbly at best, we need to rely on the proven commodities. Disagree if you like, but that loss was unnecessary and it was on Girardi.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          A) Mo’s coming off offseason surgery
          B) Girardi has stated, with good reason, he doesn’t want to overtax him, especially early
          C) It’s April
          D) It’s cold and rainy

          • Wolf Williams

            In the words of Derrick Coleman, “Whoop-dee-damn-doo.”

            Mo is also getting paid a ton to pitch when necessary. If his shoulder is an issue, or his age, or the weather, then get him off the roster. Otherwise, he’s paid to protect leads and save games.

            And so what it’s April? All 162 games count. We’re down 10-2, no sweat, we’re going to lose some games that way. But this game was winnable, and Girardi didn’t play to his team’s strength in a situation where a series sweep and a 4-game streak were on the line heading into a tough series with a division rival.

            You win by stomping people dead, not by coasting through April because it’s April. Is that supposed to be Girardi’s post-game summation? “Eh…. it’s only April.” Let’s see how far that attitude gets him with the team.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Keeping Mo healthy, even at the risk of babying him a little bit >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> asking one of your lesser, yet good, relievers to pick up one win on a cold, rainy April without him

              • steve (different one)

                “asking one of your lesser, yet good, relievers to pick up one OUT on a cold, rainy April without him”


                (don’t know how to do the cross out thingee)

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              P.S. Quoting Derrick Coleman isn’t exactly words of inspirational wisdom from a born winner.

              • Wolf Williams

                Well, we’ll agree to disagree on this issue. You get wins where and when you can, and you lose with your weaker links only when you have to, i.e. when Mo is out after three appearances in four games or something like that.

                Reasonable people can diagree, so there you go….

                p.s. — if Derrick Coleman is not your cup of tea, then let’s go with a genuine hero, Gen. George S. Patton (as portrayed by George C. Scott): “Americans love a winner. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost, and laughed.” (Or a man who lost with Phil Coke when he didn’t have to…..)

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  I agree with you that 9 times out of 10, you go for the win.

                  But relief pitchers are not machines, sometimes they have to be given a day off to protect their health. Mo winning one game for us in April helps, but not if it comes at the expense of us winning several games somewhere down the line this season.

                  I’ll trust Girardi’s decision to make Mo off limits for a multi-inning appearance this early in they year (in the cold rain).

                • zack

                  Actually, again, you’re wrong. You bring in Rivera to get the most important out, being the 8th inning. Then, either you have someone else pitch the 9th, or let him deal with it.

                  I’m sorry, but Rivera’s arm isn’t going to suddenly fall off because he got a 4 our save in April after surgery.

            • jon

              YEA I AGREE!!

              infact we are paying CC so much lets make him pitch every day, i mean we are paying him 23m

  • MasterShake

    These graphs are pretty cool, you know, quantifying how much you can blame certain players for losses or credit them for wins. How come they’ve only been shown after losses? It would be cool to see which players contribute the most to wins if we don’t get to watch the game.

  • http://www.hightimes.com Snoop Dog

    I need to smoke me a spliff and then look at these graphs again — they’ll probably make more sense.

    Why does Jose Veras nibble when he has overpowering stuff?? Five pitch walk is just unacceptable in that situation. Will Coke go the way of Henn?? Bring on Melancon!

  • MS

    Last nights game was example #1 (of many more to come) as to why Hughes should be the #5 starter and Joba belongs in the pen. I realize Joba pitched well, but he will continue to throw a lot of pitches and be out of the game by the 6th inning leaving 3 innings for our bullpen to blow it. Especially against these bad teams, I think Hughes can do the same as Joba and we would have had Joba in the 8th. Unfortunately it’s going to take about 4 more games like this for the Yanks to make this move. Joba tries to strike everybody out that’s why he belongs in the pen.

    • Joe R


    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Joba tries to strike everybody out that’s why he belongs in the pen.

      That was my favorite part.

    • KelvzPhp

      wait, Joba threw 88 pitches, could be less if not for the error. he could have gone 7 innings even with the error. The reason they took him out early, IMO, is to ease in the workload. He wouldn’t, imo, always be out by the 6th inning. and we all know that Joba-Starter with 180-200 innings >>> Joba-Reliever with 70-80 innings (or maybe that’s just me.)

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        we all know that Joba-Starter with 180-200 innings >>> Joba-Reliever with 70-80 innings (or maybe that’s just me.)

        Unfortunately, it may just be you.

  • http://www.wiredtowns.com Short Porch

    Hughes can replace Pettitte next year / be the first person called up if there’s an injury to a starter.

    Melancon is as noted above pitching lights out in SWB, and will pitch his way up soon enough.

    Geez Louise, just look at what a primo starter gets on the open market versus a set up man or even a closer.

    I want 210 innings from Joba, not 70.

  • MS

    What good is 210 innings from Joba if the bullpen blows the leads. Anybody remember 1996 and late 90’s. The games were over after 6 innings if we had the lead. Joba belongs in the pen throwing as hard as he can for 1-2 innings. All pitchers are tough to hit the first time around and Joba is even tougher if you only see him once in the 8th inning.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Anybody remember 1996 and late 90’s?

      Apparently, not you.

      • Mike Pop


    • jon

      I don’t understand how people can be this stupid

      you really think it would have been better for joba to pitch a scoreless 8th than him pitch a 1 run 1-6?

      • Mike Pop

        Outs 22-24 are more important then the rest of the game, It’s true, kruk said so.

    • KelvzPhp

      “The games were over after 6 innings if we had the lead.”

      IF we had the lead. What then if we don’t?

      Joba pitching 210 innings would be around 7 per start. I’m betting that in most of those starts, he goes out with the lead.

      You worry the first 6-7 innings FIRST before the later ones. How would you protect a non-existing lead?

  • Russell NY

    What is the WPA for the ref blowing the Gardner play? He was safe at first.

    • jon

      If it wernt for that bad call gardner would have totally scored a field goal

  • Bo

    Why in the world should you need 5 relievers to get you 9 outs?

    Veras cant throw strikes and Coke may be a Sept flash in the pan.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Birfday Girl

    (I wrote this at about 2 AM last night…)

    Dude, it’s April. No need to freak out

    Seriously, 9 times out of 10, Joba wins that game, unless he’s got the 2008 Mets bullpen behind him…which he doesn’t. Bruney and Marte >>> Heilman and whoever else.

    While I do think Mo should have been up, I understand the rationale for not warming him.

    Honestly, the game was lost when Melky couldn’t do anything but GIDP after the inning of Yankee doom.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      Weird, I thought I’d changed my name…

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Good post.

        Reasons we lost that game WAY more significant than not having a Joba-caliber pitcher in the bullpen:
        -The defensive misplay by Swisher
        -Inverting the order of our relievers, and using our best non-Mo reliever (Bruney) to face the least threatening portion of the Royals batting order, leaving inferior relievers (Veras and Coke) to face the more threatening part
        -The inability of Gardner and Cabrera to provide any offense at all
        -Not having FOUR of our best SEVEN hitters in the lineup (ARod, Tex, Posada, Damon)
        -Not having Mo available himself
        -The fact that we were facing a fairly good starting pitcher in Gil Meche

        • A.D.


          Not a 4-some that really spells success for any lineup.

          • Joe R

            Agreed. However we did have the lead and let it go.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Had we had ARod, Tex, Posada, and Damon in there, there’s a damn good chance that 8th inning lead is a 3 or 4 run lead and not just a 1 run lead, making it that much harder for Coke to blow it.

        • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

          Agreed with all of these.

  • steve (different one)

    i think Girardi’s only mistake was going taking Veras out (if we accept his judgement that going to Mo early in the freezing rain was not an option).

    i think everything up to that point was fine.

    in fact, i think he showed some solid, out of the box thinking with the way he employed Bruney and Marte.

    both Bruney and Marte are labeled as “8th inning guys”. but Girardi didn’t save Bruney for the 8th inning and use Edwar in the 7th. he looked at the context of the situation. saw the actual hitters that were lined up and saw that he could use Bruney in the 7th and Marte in the 8th, and gain the platoon advantage in both situations.

    and it worked perfectly, until the Royals sent Butler up.

    now, unlike others, i don’t think it’s fair to rip him for taking Marte out here. why? b/c if Butler takes Marte deep, the same exact people would be ripping him for leaving Marte in against a lefty killer. and you know that’s true. you can’t have it both ways.

    i think taking Marte out was perfectly defensible.

    what happened next was obviously a bit of micromanagement, but i think people are blowing it out of proportion. so Girardi learned something today about Phil Coke. what can you do? dude has basically been unhittable since last year. he gave up a cheap HR on opening day, but then he followed it up with some good work. he had moved himself up the pecking order and earned that opportunity. now, he has to earn back the trust a little.

    i think scoring 4 runs against Meche with the B lineup was a pretty positive sign. had they held on, they would have “stolen” a win. didn’t work out.

    i’m way more concerned about Teixeira than i am about Girardi.

    • A.D.

      Honestly what it came down to was some guys in the pen didn’t get it done, Veras can’t come out and walk Butler, especially on 5 pitches.

      I am also concerned on what exactly is the issue with Tex’s wrist.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      both Bruney and Marte are labeled as “8th inning guys”. but Girardi didn’t save Bruney for the 8th inning and use Edwar in the 7th. he looked at the context of the situation. saw the actual hitters that were lined up and saw that he could use Bruney in the 7th and Marte in the 8th, and gain the platoon advantage in both situations.

      Nitpick: Bruney pitched the 7th, with the 9-1-2 hitters due up (Bloomquist-Crisp-Aviles).

      I’d have given that inning to Edwar, Veras, or Albie and saved Bruney for the next inning where the heart of the order was up. JMHO.

      • steve (different one)

        yeah, i see your point. could go either way. but i don’t have a problem using Marte for the “meat” of the order.

        just seems like a bunch of things working against him at once:

        Teixeira was a late scratch. if Teixeira is at 1B, he fields the ball Swisher botched.

        the weather/schedule. it’s absurd that the yankees, on April 12th, are not going back to KC at all for the entire season. i hate the unbalance schedule.

        also, why was Saturday’s game a night game? that cost them Posada in the lineup.

        the fact that it was joba’s first outing. Joba is probably allowed to get a few outs in the 7th if it’s his 2nd or 3rd start.

        finally, Veras didn’t do his job. we have guys preparing themselves in the minors and looking for that last spot in the bullpen. Veras was decent last year, but maybe he’s the guy that gets moved when Melancon is ready.

        overall, a lot of positives to take from the 3 games in KC.

        right now, my only concern is Teixeira.

    • Nady Nation

      I see your argument for taking out Marte, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that everyone who wanted Marte to be left in would’ve been ripping Girardi for leaving him in if Butler went deep against him. I would’ve been fine with leaving Marte in regardless, b/c he is our 2nd (or 3rd) best reliever, and I’d rather lose with my best out there than with inferior pitchers, like Veras or Coke. I understand Butler historically has been a lefty killer, but he still was 1-17 this season up until the 5 pitch walk from Veras, and was something like 1-7 with 3 Ks against Pettitte and Sabathia over the previous 2 days. I know that’s not the greatest sample size, but Marte also has been successful at getting righthanders out over the course of his career, much more so than your traditional lefty specialist out of the pen. I realize most people would’ve just used hindsight either way, but I would’ve liked to see Marte not strictly be used as a LOOGY in that situation.

  • woodchuck

    try neooffice for your mac

  • JeffG

    I don’t mind the early goings with Giardi trying to figure out who he can trust and how he is going to use his pen. If guys don’t get in games they get stale, so on that level I’m glad he is getting guys their work.
    That said, it is my feeling that running too many guys out to protect a small lead is playing the odds the wrong way. I always assume that one of five guys is more likely to have a bad day rather than an extra out from someone that is throwing well.
    Also, I’m not really sure about Coke in the eith inning. Is it just me or does he really telegraph his pitches by not hiding the ball? His delivery looks a little like Traber’s…

  • thony

    Why Girardi didn’t use Mo?

  • viridiana

    More nonsense from the fountainhead of statistical nonsense.
    Can we at least wait for some sample size before making “worst ever” pronouncements.
    A more useful application of all your surplus time might be to consider this question: how concerned should managetrs be about reliever walks? I always thought Torre overreacted to walks by Jeff nelson and, to a lesser degree, Bruney — two guys who give uup few hits and long balls.
    (sorry about the harshness of some comments — RAB is a good site as long as it stays aways from obsessive statistical over-analysis.)

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      No one was making a “worst ever” pronouncement. And this graph isn’t over-analysis at all. It’s looking at the game to find out where the biggest swings happened. It’s not all arbitrary stuff, either. It’s based on data from every game from the late 70’s and onward. Check it out: http://winexp.walkoffbalk.com/expectancy/search

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      Please, try to understand what I write before you criticize. You clearly don’t understand the context of the “worst ever” argument — that this is the worst negative performance I’ve seen in three years of looking at this stat, which is a pretty damn large sample. It’s not saying Coke is the worst ever, it’s saying that his swing is the largest I’ve seen. There is no conclusion drawn from this.

      • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Just some more nonsense from the fountainhead of statistical nonsense. Don’t be fooled.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Joe, your usage of socialist tools like this statistical analysis only further tarnishes the already damaged credibility of this website.

  • viridiana

    “There is no conclusion drawn from this.”

    So why make the point? And what exactly is the point of doing this on a game by game basis? Seems like simple elucidation of the obvious. Also, it would help sometimes if you define your alphabel soup of acronyms. I know most of them but it really makes for annoying rading when you run across one you don’t know and there’s no glossary of terms.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      So why make the point?

      Because I thought it was interesting that in three years of watching a stat, this is the biggest swing I’ve seen. It’s like pointing out that Robinson Cano took six straight pitches yesterday. There’s no conclusion drawn from it, but it’s an interesting observation.

      And yes, defining the acronyms would help I suppose. But that’s why there’s the link to “What is this nerdy graph?” up there. It’s easier to put the link into every post than to explain the acronyms each time.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      So why make the point?… Seems like simple elucidation of the obvious.

      As evidenced by the incessant overreacting and teeth nashing of week one, coupled with the predictable reemergence of “Joba to the Pen!” idiocy brought on by last night’s game, I’d say there’s still a considerable problem with grasping the obvious amongst the Yankee fans.

      Nothing wrong with elucidating the obvious when so many of our fans (and sportswriters) are in need of a flashlight.

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