Re: Phillips' Boner (Fred Merkle)
Originally Posted by AtomicDumpling
Because he was already safely at 2nd base.
At the point Brandon safely reached 2nd base with no outs the Reds had a run expectancy in the inning of 1.172 runs. This means based on the historical results of real MLB games, teams in that exact situation scored an average of 1.172 runs in the rest of the inning.
By getting thrown out at third, Brandon caused the Reds run expectancy to drop to 0.289 runs because the Reds were left in a base-out state of nobody on base with one out. His blunder cost the Reds 0.883 runs on average.
If Brandon had successfully reached 3rd base it would have raised the run expectancy to 1.444 runs. This is a relatively small increase of 0.272 runs. This small increase in run expectancy is not nearly enough to justify the risk of losing 0.883 runs unless you are 90% certain that you can make it. Essentially, Brandon gambled 0.883 runs in an attempt to gain 0.272 runs. That is why Phillips' decision to go for third was such a big strategic mistake.
To recap the Phillips situation:
Runner on 2nd, zero outs: 1.172 expected runs.
Runner on 3rd, zero outs: 1.444 expected runs.
No runners on, one out: 0.289 expected runs.
Now, to answer the question of why it matters how many outs there are ("Don't make the first out at 3rd base), the reason is because the run expectancy difference is not as severe when there is already one out. The damage to your run expectancy is much stronger if you make the first out at 3rd base than if you make the second out at 3rd base.
If there had been one out when Phillips' play occurred here are the run expectancies:
Runner on 2nd, one out: 0.714 expected runs.
Runner on 3rd, one out: 0.984 expected runs.
No runners on, two outs: 0.111 expected runs.
So in that case the Reds would have gained 0.27 runs if Brandon made it to 3rd safely, pretty much the same as the earlier situation. But if he had gotten thrown out it would have cost the Reds 0.603 expected runs (compared to the 0.883 runs earlier), so the damage is still bad but not as bad. It would still have been a dumb decision to go for third on that play, but the damage would have been less severe.
Pretty much. It wasn't a smart decision. The only way it made sense is if Phillips was guaranteed to make it. Obviously he thought he was....clearly he misjudged the situation by a considerable margin. His reasoning was that everything would have to be perfect. But it wasn't a difficult play for Posey to make.
The reality is that it was reckless aggression which largely is Branon's MO. Brandon is fast. Rolen is a great base runner. It's a big difference.
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