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Game Hero/WPA, 11 - 5

Wandy Rodriguez
  • W, 3 - 0, 2.52 ERA
  • The above line is not a misprint
  • 6 IP, 5 H, 4 K, 2 BB, 1 ER
  • 60 Game Score
  • Once again, every time you figure the bubble is about to burst, Wandy comes through
  • Men on first and third, squeezed by the ump and his manager's ejected?
       --Wandy works out of it
  • # 8 hitter on third with Jack Wilson up?
       --Wandy retires the side
  • Leadoff single in the sixth with Wandy at 90 pitches and Jason Bay on deck?
       --No problem: Wandy gets the double play
  • Solo shot from the number three hitter in the sixth might open the floodgates for a two-out collapse?
       --No way, Jason Bay; Wandy's got it under control
  • It's f***in' Wandy Power™, man!

It is a grave responsbility and a heavy burden that I willingly--joyfully!--carry with the awarding of these Game Heroes, and I couldn't on my own determine whether the deserving athlete was Wandy Rodriguez or Morgan Ensberg.

But after consulting the I Ching, dealing myself an Oblique Strategies card*, and most importantly, running a WPA analysis, it was fairly apparent that no-one exerted their will, so to speak, upon this game so much as Wandy Rodriguez did.

Morgan's homer came early, and the WPA contraption says that the two-run jack added .181 to the Astros' chances of winning. But it was not by itself insurmountable, and it took six innings of nearly flawless pitching from Rodriguez to make it look as safe as the current state of our bullpen allows.

Bay's tater, when it came, dropped Wandy's win probability added from .270 to .161, and Ensberg's was never higher than that .181. So Wandy finished higher, and had a higher peak value, and that's basically why I went with him.

Win Expectancy Chart

click to open larger version in new window

Top Five Astros
Rodriguez   0.178
Ensberg    0.140
Lane   0.088
Wheeler   0.077
Lidge   0.076
Bottom Four Astros
Burke -0.026
Taveras -0.039
Wilson -0.059
Berkman -0.108
Top Three Pirates
Bay   0.176
C Wilson   0.138
Paulino   0.118

I think it's impossible to overstate the improvement we have seen from Rodriguez, but I don't want to be repetitive, so I'll talk about how Qualls Wheeler and Lidge were not able to eliminate the baserunners tonight, yet were able to work around them with no (or in Lidge's case) little damage. Focus on baby steps.

Preston has now Ked in 13 of his last 17 at bats, and Garner needs to either sit the man, or if of the opinion that P-Dub needs to work out of it, drop him to the eight slot immediately. I am a kind fan, and rarely think that a hometown player is worthy of booing if he's giving full effort, but c'mon: if fans didn't boo at the sight of Wilson's catastrophic atbats, it'd almost be a dereliction of duty.

Morgan's pretty hot, huh?

Homers in Most Consecutive Games by an Astro
Games Homered
Morgan Ensberg 6 April 15 - 21, 2006
Carlos Beltran 5 August 23 - 27, 2004
Cliff Johnson 5 August 19 - 24, 1975

* "Remove specifics and convert to ambiguities"