Saturday was the birthday of Tony Plush (a.k.a. Nyjer Morgan), and the man celebrated in style, carrying the Brewers to a late-inning comeback. Things looked bleak for the Brewers after the Twins jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but the seemingly always-upbeat Mr. Plush played a big part in the Brewers’ bounceback effort.
How big of a part? His Win Probability Added for the game was .418, meaning his play alone improved the Brewers’ chances of winning by nearly 42%. Most of that came on his game-tying RBI double off the wall in right field. Before that play, the Twins had a 92.2% chance of winning the game. After Mark Kotsay and Josh Wilson scored, those odds dropped to 53.4% — a 38.8% swing. For the sake of comparison, the next play — George Kottaras‘ go-ahead RBI single — dropped the Twins’ chances to 18.2%, or a 35.2% drop in their odds. Morgan’s walkoff winner against the Mets on June 8th was a +40% swing in the Brewers’ favor.
Needless to say, the WPA graph for Saturday’s game is a beautiful sight if you’re a Brewers fan. If you’re a Twins fan, you’re probably wondering how you blow a 7-0 lead without Braun and Fielder being prominently involved.