2021 MLB season games that deserve to be rewatched

As soon as Retrosheet released the play-by-play datasets for the MLB 2021 season, I got to work on BWRI scores for the season. Let’s take a look at some of the most exciting games according to that rewatch index. I’ve made a graph combining the two main factors, but have in mind that BWRI also takes account of how close is a game, number of K’s, rivalry and no-hitters.

Reds at Indians, May 7

BWRI pays huge attention to no-hitters, either if they got completed or not. Wade Miley’s no-hitter also got a very good score for a close game and decent for the other factors, since the winner didn’t get decided until the 9th inning. That’s why it got the highest score for the season even it’s not highlighted on the graph of the two main factors.

Padres at Dodgers, April, 25th

That was a heck of a game. After a 5-run 6th inning LA wins 7-1, but with two runs in each of the rest of the innings San Diego takes it to extras. That was the third most unexpected end of the game for the season according to BWRI. The game ranks so high also because of the traffic on the bases during the extra innings. LA got bases loaded with one out in the 10th and first and second with still no outs in the 11th but couldn’t win it. That made a good amount of added WPA. Also, Dustin May’s performance with 10 K’s and a bit of extra help for the rivalry helped to push the score high.

Tigers at Twins, July 27th

A Grand Slam that ties the game with one out in the 9th makes that game almost the highest unexpected outcome for the season. On the contrary, it has a low added WPA value, basically nothing happens until the last inning. That makes the game a 0.953 on the total BWRI score. That makes sense to me.

Phillies at Braves, May 8th

The most unexpected end of the game goes to that Braves walk-off. The Phillies score 3 runs in the top of the 12th, but Atlanta rallies with 4 in the bottom. Also, there’s one run for each team in the 11th. The game ranks #6 in the overall BWRI rank for the season.

Rays at Tigers, September, 12th

Here we have a give and take in the 8th, Rays score four, Tigers score three and the game gets tied. Two runs for each in the 10th kept it on the line. High scores for the two main factors and also overall.

Padres at Reds, July, 1

This is the game with the highest added WPA value for the season. With gives and takes for the 8th and 9th innings and many runners on board, the Reds finally win it. It’s just a game of nine runs after all. Maybe you would expect many more runs for the game with the highest added WPA, but have in mind that I give extra value to that WPA changes in the late innings. Also have in mind that the traffic on the bases also agitate the WPA values.

Nationals at Phillies, June, 23rd

Here we indeed have a huge amount of runs: 25. Great gives and takes in the middle innings, and also remarkable changes in the late ones.

And what about the postseason? BWRI highlights especially two games of NLCS: second and third. Game 2 gets ranks #41 overall for the season. The Dodgers take the lead with two in the seventh, but Atlanta ties in the 8th, and wins it in the 9th. Game 3 it’s also remarkable because Dodgers win it for just a run after scoring four in the 8th. Nevertheless, the second most exciting game of the postseason according to BWRI is NLDS Game 5. The fact that it remained very close until the ninth and the rivalry factor pushed it up to a .973 overall score.

What’s new on BWRI?

I’ve made some adjustments to the algorithm. As a Mets fan, one of the most incredible games I remember recently was the atrocious loss New York suffered on September 2019 against Washington. After scoring five runs in the top of the ninth Mets were winning 10-4, but Nationals managed to come back with a 7-run bottom of the 9th. That was the kind of game I wanted to be on the very top of the list, but even though it was a .978 score, it was barely the fifth game on the list for Washington on the season. Why was that? The game had a very high Unexpected Outcome value, but a 4-run ninth inning come back by the Dodgers against the Mets (again :__) was on top of it.

The adjustment I made was to take into account not only the change in win probability during the late innings, but also of the number of runs scored on those late innings. That made the Nationals come back more attractive. Now it scores .990.

The problem after that was that a sweet top of the 10th or top of the 11th made a game score too high. Imagine a win 7-2 final score, game tied in the 9th, 5 runs in the top of the 10th. That was not a game I wanted on the top of the list. So I introduced an element of proportion for that many runs scored on extra innings. The more difference, the less value for those runs.

Another setback making Nats’ amazing win more attractive was that added WPA factor was not very high. Mets were basically winning by 2 or more runs during most of the game. I came with a better function that makes changes in winning probability (WP) higher as the game goes by. Now changes in WP in the 6th inning have 1.3 times the value of changes in the first, and changes in the 9th have 1.6 times the value of changes in the first.

Also, walk-off factor was cut in half because it made the top of the list too much predictable.

Introducing BWRI: an index to choose a good baseball game to rewatch

Summary

I really enjoy rewatching games during the offseason, so I set up an index that helps to choose which game to rewatch without knowing anything else than the teams and the day. Using R, I arranged an algorithm that takes account of changes in win probability during the game to make it possible to bring out exciting games to watch.

>>> “Introducing BWRI: an index to choose a good baseball game to rewatch”

Autumn is not disappearing but has been moved on the calendar

Summer lasts longer. November, December, and January have more mild days than before

You’ve probably heard or chatted recently about the topic “the Autumn is disappearing”. People talk about that here in Barcelona. After a mild October, suddenly a cold snap brought the winter for the first time. The feeling is that this is more and more common as years go by, but, is really the Fall threatened with extinction? Data rather suggest that it’s been pushed and it’s leaving the October. >>> “Autumn is not disappearing but has been moved on the calendar”

Five last minutes are a mine of points for Real Madrid

FC Barcelona would have won two more championships considering the games to end at minute 85

If you’re a Barça fan this should sound very familiar to you: it’s Sunday in the afternoon, you were at the movies. As you leave the theater and switch on the cell phone you get some messages about Real Madrid’s game. Real isn’t winning and there are just 20 minutes left. Don’t trust, but step into a bar to watch the rest of the game though. Let’s go, maybe there’s some good news on the way. 75 minutes and still a tie game, 80 minutes, 85 minutes, almost… but in the end Real Madrid scores, and you go home upset because of a game you were not supposed to have watched. Among the most common Barça supporters mantra’s, there is the one which says that Real Madrid scores last-gasp winners very often. What truth is there in this complaint?
>>> “Five last minutes are a mine of points for Real Madrid”

Why it’s best to bet for underdogs

The commission that bookmakers make you pay for betting it’s quite different depending on the chances of win

An easy search on the net is enough to find thousands of sources making reference to how bookmakers do to earn money, regardless of the outcomes in sports events. They do that in many different ways, but the most basic is simple to understand: they charge a kind of commission that it’s already included on the odds they offer you to win. >>> “Why it’s best to bet for underdogs”

The field factor and the referee’s influence

The referees award almost the same fouls to home teams as to away ones, but away players are sent off more easily

Finished the previous post telling about one of my reference books here in this blog: Scorecasting: The hidden influences behind how sports are played and games are won. One of the studies that the book mentions was made by two Spanish economists that in 2005 set out to see how peer pressure affects human decisions. Luis Garicano and Ignacio Palacios-Huerta counted the extra minutes added by referees in the Spanish league, taking into account the result of the score in the 90th minute. >>> “The field factor and the referee’s influence”

Playing at home is no longer the advantage it used to be

A study of every match of the 5 most important European football leagues since 1970 up to nowadays. Overall, at the end of the 70’s teams retained almost 70% of home points, whereas in the last seasons this figure has come down even below 60%

To start this blog site I get back an article I published on the newspaper ARA on august 2015. A study about the scores of the 5 main European football leagues, based on a database I made up using datasets from football-data.co.uk. I’ve split it into two halves. Here comes the first one: >>> “Playing at home is no longer the advantage it used to be”