The Detroit Tigers’ Five Biggest Plays of the ALDS

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Oct 10, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera (middle) celebrates with teammates including Prince Fielder (left) after game five of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at Coliseum. The Tigers won 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

I wanted to take a methodical look at each specific play in the ALDS to determine the magnitude of the impact each one had on the Detroit Tigers’ eventual win. I thought about using WPA – Win Probability Added – but, while that would tell us how important each event was to the outcome an idividual game, I wanted a better look at how each event swung the advantage of the series (in real time).

I came up with Series Probability Added (I’m not sure if anyone has done this or not, it’s probably not unique to me), in which I combined WPA for in-game probability (using FanGraphs’ play logs) with the assumption of 50-50 odds for all future games.

It turns out that pretty much all the plays that felt huge at the time were actually really, really huge. Page through to see a description of each play, the series probability swing, and a video highlight.