Every game has a turning point, where one team takes a big leap toward victory, whether it's a towering home run, a squeeze bunt, a bases-loaded strikeout or a run-saving catch.Thanks to a metric called win expectancy, we can attach numbers to these swings in fortune. Win expectancy, expressed as
Every game has a turning point, where one team takes a big leap toward victory, whether it's a towering home run, a squeeze bunt, a bases-loaded strikeout or a run-saving catch.
Thanks to a metric called win expectancy, we can attach numbers to these swings in fortune. Win expectancy, expressed as a percentage, shows a team's chances of victory at a particular point in time. This is based on historical data showing how clubs have fared in different situations, based on factors such as the score, the inning, how many outs there are and which bases are occupied.
Using win expectancy as a guide, here is a look at three plays that served as turning points in Monday's games:
Grandy comes through in a pinch
Game: Giants at Mets
Situation: Mets manager Terry Collins sent up the scuffling Curtis Granderson -- batting .133/.200/.257 this season -- as a pinch-hitter in a big spot. Giants manager Bruce Bochy elected not to counter by replacing righty George Kontos with lefty Steven Okert to protect a 3-2 lead with two outs in the sixth inning and Juan Lagares on first base.
Result: Granderson roped an opposite-field double that one-hopped the wall in left-center field, and Lagares charged around to score the tying run. Three innings later, Neil Walker smacked a walk-off single for a 4-3 win.
Win expectancy for Mets: +22.0 percentage points (33.3% to 55.3%)
Facts to know
• It was the eighth career pinch-hit RBI for Granderson, who entered the night with a .203/.351/.305 line in 74 plate appearances in that role.
• With a projected distance of 362 feet, according to Statcast™, this was Granderson's longest batted ball to the left of straightaway center field this season.
They said it: Bochy: "Tell me when the guy [Granderson] is going to hit a double. The guy's batting .130 [actually .133 at the time]. George has been our seventh-inning guy."
Martinez helps himself
Game: Cardinals at Marlins
Situation: Miami starting pitcher Adam Conley had a good opportunity to escape a second-inning jam when he faced counterpart Carlos Martinez with the bases loaded and two outs in a scoreless tie.
Result: Martinez lined Conley's first pitch to the warning track down the left-field line with a hit that had a 101.1-mph exit velocity, clearing the bases for his first three RBIs this season and the fourth double of his career. He later added an RBI single, supporting his own quality start in a 9-4 victory.
Win expectancy for Cardinals: +25.2 percentage points (52.6% to 77.8%)
Facts to know
• The only two pitchers to collect four RBIs in a game this season are Cardinals: Martinez and Adam Wainwright on April 21 against the Brewers.
• The last Cardinals pitcher to drive in three runs with a double was Jake Westbrook against the Astros on June 7, 2011.
They said it: Martinez: "It's something we talk about amongst the pitchers. We really have to do our part when we get to the plate and help each other out. That's really what I try to focus on, and that's what I did today."
Tanaka finds escape hatch
Game: Yankees at Reds
Situation: The Yankees held a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth, but the Reds loaded the bases against Masahiro Tanaka with no outs before Jose Peraza's infield popout brought up Tucker Barnhart.
Result: In a full count, Barnhart smacked a routine two-hopper to shortstop Didi Gregorius, who was positioned near second base. The Yankees' shortstop stepped on the bag and tossed to first for the inning-ending double play. Tanaka went on to complete seven innings as New York won, 10-4.
Win expectancy for Yankees: +17.0 percentage points (66.6% to 83.6%)
Facts to know
• The Reds' win expectancy reached 41.8 percent before Peraza's popup.
• Before getting a career-high three ground-ball double plays from Cincinnati, Tanaka had induced multiple double-play grounders in a game only once before, on May 31, 2014, against the Twins.
They said it: Tanaka (through an interpreter): "No, I wasn't looking for a double play. But that was the best-case scenario, so I'll take that. I was looking more for a strikeout."
Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.