WPA Heroes 2011

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A little piece over at Detroit Jock City this past week got me thinking about what the best individual game performances by Tigers batters this year have been. If we look at Win Percentage Added to measure how much a player’s performance in that game mattered to the outcome we can actually objectively rank the best performances of this current season. Of course it wouldn’t be good enough to simply go 4-4, to have a truly great game you would have to get those hits but come up to the plate with men on base in a real nail-biter.

Follow through the jump to see the top 10:

Alex Avila   May 24,    .630

-Avila hits a bomb in the 6th and a bomb in the 8th to turn a 4-6 deficit into a 7-6 victory against the Rays.  He’s been doing a lot to carry the Tigers on his shoulders this year, never more evident.

Miguel Cabrera    Jun 26,    .505

-Clutch performance by Cabrera that got lost in the box score, with two outs in the bottom of the 8th, Tigers down 1-2, Cabrera comes to the plate with the bases loaded and drives in two on a single to left.  Tigers go up 3-2 and though they went on to score 5 more in the 8th, Cabby still had the big hit that sealed the deal.

Jhonny Peralta    May 11,    .475

-After coughing up 4 runs in the bottom of the 7th to fall behind 5-6, Peralta hits a one-out two-run pinch-hit home run in the top of the 8th to put Detroit back in the driver’s seat

Brandon Inge    April 13,    .410

-Bad season for Inge, no doubt, but it has had a few good moments.  That walk-off home run against the Rangers’ Darren Oliver was one.

Miguel Cabrera    April 12,    .392

-Cabrera comes to the plate in the bottom of the 9th, with the bases loaded and the score tied 4-4.  He comes through.  The Tigers win.

Jhonny Peralta    August 17,    .376

-A solo home run in the 6th to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead over the Twins and a walk to load the bases with no outs down 3-4 in the 8th make Peralta the hero in an ultimately lost cause, as the Tigers manage only a single run in the 8th before Valverde coughed up 2 in a non-save situation in the 9th.

Brandon Inge    May 11,    .362

-After Peralta’s pinch-hit home run put the Tigers back on top in the 8th, Benoit let Minnesota tie it up in the bottom.  Along comes Inge in the top of the 9th with a triple off Matt Capps to drive in Ramon Santiago and give the Tigers the last run they would need.

Alex Avila    April 6,    .358

-Avila  goes 3 for 4 and drives in 5 in a 7-3 win over the Orioles in an early signal that Avila 2011 was not going to resemble Avila 2010.

Alex Avila    May 30,    .351

-A duel with the Twins between bad starters goes to the 8th knotted up at 5, then with two outs Avila drives in Peralta from first on an odd ground-rule double.  Arguments ensue, Gardenhire is ejected, but the run counts.  Good thing it did, the next guy to the plate would be Ryan Raburn (who, of course, struck out swinging).

Alex Avila    June 9,    .345

-In a scoreless tie in the 3rd Avila hits a no out triple against Doug Fister.  Not his fault that three stooges Ryan Raburn, Austin Jackson and Don Kelly fail to plate him.  After the Mariners take a 1-0 lead in the top of the 5th, Avila outdoes himself with another no out triple to score Peralta (tying the game up) and give the stooges another three tries to drive him in.  Raburn fails, Jackson fails, but with two outs Kelly finally comes through.

Note the conspicuous absence of a full half of the Tigers regular lineup. . .

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