I've invented a new statistic. Its major flaw is that I've no way of going back and accumulating the game-by-game data. No Retrosheet solution for this one, lads. You'll have to pioneer it with me tonight. Because it happened tonight, and I'm absolutely convinced it has happened too many times before. We all know it, we've all seen it. I'm referring to, of course, the Righetti Visit of Doom. This is beyond coincidence and random chance. This is a huge player, a major factor, a game-changer. "Coaching visit to mound" is all it says in GameDay, but oh, the portents. Oh, the weight of drama. Yessir, I'm on to your evil influence, Davey. You saunter out to the mound, acting all bad and stuff, and tell our boys nothing but lies. Lies, Ragman, lies! What'd you say tonight, eh? "Oh, no sweat Matty-boy, this Nick Johnson's a pussy. Your stuff will mess with his head. Just hit the glove, Matty, just hit the glove." A quick ass-grab and some more of that sauntering, and our boy is toast, I tell you, toast. Don't believe me? Explain this Dodger-blue hat, then! Poor Matt does what he's told, fires it target-ward, and Nick Johnson smacks it out of the yard. If anyone needed proof, absolute, unassailable proof of the RVOD, he got it tonight.
Other notes: Ryan Zimmerman took care of business right away. 30 games! That's something. Señor Slow WALKED and then SCORED FROM FIRST on a double. That right there was probably enough improbability to overcome the insidious effect of the Righetti Visit of Doom.
Cain-dicators: lots of batters (31) and baserunners (9 hits) but only one walk. Nine groundballs. Only four strikeouts. 100 pitches, 68 strikes. (The HR is entirely the coach's fault. RVOD! RVOD! ) Our Win Expectancy before the homer was 89.6%, afterwards it was 73.4%. It plunged to 51.8% after Belliard's game-tying hit off Howry in the 8th, and thence to 14.5% after Johnson's hit (Ishi's Boner). Alas, another ND for M.C.
But improbabilities started piling up again, and Manny B got it going with two outs in the 9th, setting it up for Sandoval after the walk to Rental. He then BLASTED THE FOOKIN' GAME-WINNER!!! As Jon Miller said: "what a finish!" Sandoval TOOK FOUR PITCHES before hitting the big bomb. That hit had a WPA (Win Probability Added) of .824, swinging the win expectancy from 17.6% to, obviously, 100%. Man, it has been quite a run with this team--they keep defying the odds and overcoming expectations. Can it last?
I sure love a three-run HR, don't you?
(a.m. update) Before Pablito's heorics, he'd fallen flat on his face in the 7th trying to stretch a double into a triple, and there was a moment when everyone thought he'd been injured. M.C. straightened us out (from Schulman's story this morning in the Comical):
"The Kung Fu Panda does not get hurt," Cain said.