Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Anatomy of a 14-9 Comeback


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Overcoming an 8-0 deficit in baseball is not an easy feat. And yet somehow, someway, the Toronto Blue Jays managed to find a way overcome that nearly insurmountable deficit

So how did they do it? By chipping away at the 8-0 lead. Not surprisingly, the long ball had a large hand in turning the Blue Jays fortunes; four home runs in total (two by Encarnacion alone) helped pull Toronto back from the dead.

Thanks to FanGraphs, we can see that at one point after the Reds compiled their 8-0 lead in the third inning, they had a 98.9% chance of winning the ballgame. Or in the case of the Blue Jays, they had a 1.1% chance of winning.


So you're saying there's a chance?

Erasing that 8-0 lead by the Reds was the second biggest comeback in Blue Jays franchise history. The biggest comeback of course being down 10-0 to the Red Sox in 1989, only to come back and win the game 13-11.

Here's the sequence of events that got the ball rolling on the Blue Jays unprecedented comeback.


Juan Francisco homers off Jumbo Diaz (.149 WPA added)




By now, word has gotten around the league that Juan Francisco can't hit a breaking ball (a la Pedro Cerrano), which is why it was somewhat of a surprise that Jumbo Diaz threw anything but a breaking ball to him.

Francisco got a piece of this one and pulled the Blue Jays within a run with this opposite field shot.

And although it may not show up on the scorebook as having big implications on the game, this catch and throw by Munenori Kawasaki helped save a run and keep it as a one-run game.


Dioner Navarro doubles off Jonathan Broxton (.178 WPA added)




With Aroldis Chapman and his 100+MPH fastball looming in the ninth and two men out in the eighth, things looked pretty gloom for the Blue Jays - even though they were only down by a run.

However, Dioner Navarro come up with the clutch two out double to the left-centre gap to drive in the tying run in the form of Edwin Encarnacion.


Erik Kratz doubles off Aroldis Chapman (.307 WPA added)




How many times have you seen this; the Blue Jays sacrifice an out in the form of a bunt, but the move ultimately backfires. This is one of the rare occasions where the sac bunt actually worked.

Had John Gibbons not called for the play, Colby Rasmus may not have scored the go-ahead run. Instead of 270 feet, Colby only had 180 feet to run after Erik Kratz's double off Aroldis Chapman.


Edwin Encarnacion homers off Sam LeCure (.0.59 WPA added)




As noted by @CespedesBBQ, Erik Kratz is only the second player in MLB history with more than one extra base hit off Aroldis Chapman. This one could not have come at a better time for the Blue Jays.

Edwin Encarnacion hits hits second three-run home run of the game, and puts the game away for good with this towering shot to left field at Great American Ballpark.

Image courtesy of AP Photo/Al Behrman

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