WBC: A costly call in the Japan/USA game shows umpire fallacy again

It’s the bottom of the third in the Mexico/Korea game. So far, ESPN 2 has shown the controversial call in the Japan/USA game twice. Like the World Series and the ALCS, the umpires have once again taken center stage for all of the wrong reasons.

For those of you who missed the WBC (and seriously, stop missing the WBC! This is great baseball.), in the top of the 8th in a 3-3 game, Japan had the bases loaded and one out. Akinori Iwamura hit a fly ball to Randy Winn in left field. On third base, Tsuyoshi Nishioka tagged up and scored what seemed to be the go-ahead run.

The USA team appealed the call. Second base umpire Brian Knight ruled Nishioka safe. But then Buck Martinez, the Team USA manager I second guessed on Friday, came out to discuss the call with home plate umpire Bob Davidson. Davidson overturned the call and the game went into the bottom of the 8th inning still tied.

It was a shocking blow to Japan. Manager Sadaharu Oh argued to no avail, and Japan eventually lost the key first game in the pool when Alex Rodriguez came through with a 2-out, bases loaded single in the bottom of the 9th. While it’s possible that A-Rod’s single could have plated two runs and Team USA would have won anyway, we’ll never know.

The arguments in favor of instant replay have raged on and off since the A.J. Pierzynski debacle in game 2 of the ALCS. Just like that call, replay could have helped Davidson determine if Nishioka left early. While numerous angles were inconclusive, it did seem that, after ESPN showed the play for the 15 time, Nishioka should have been called safe. He left on time.

So as Major League Baseball continues to ignore technology that, if implemented correctly, could improve the accuracy of umping decisions, it is possible to determine just how costly this blown call was. Through an analysis of win expectancy, I can show how close Japan came to winning and how little of a chance Japan had at winning today once the call was overturned.

In essence, Win Expectancy uses the outcomes of games played over a long period of time to determine how many times a team in a certain situation wins the game. How certain is the expected outcome of a victory given the game situation? I am just going to look at Win Expectancy for the top of the 8th inning in today’s Japan/USA game. Here is the chart for that fated inning:

As the chart shows, at the start of the 8th inning in a tied game, the visiting team wins about 48 percent of the time. As the Japanese hitters got runners on base, their shot at winning so late in the game rose dramatically. When Iwamura strolled to the plate with the bases loaded and one out, Team Japan had a win expectancy of .698. Nearly 70 percent of teams in their position won the game.

Had Iwamura’s sacrifice fly stood, the Japan team with a one run lead in the 8th and runners on first and second with two outs would have had a win expectancy of .744. Team USA would have needed quite a comeback to salvage this game.

Instead, when Davidson overruled the call on the bases, win expectancy shifted significantly in favor of the Americans. Instead of looking at a .256 win expectancy, the Americans as the home team coming to bat in the bottom of the 8th in a tie game had a win expectancy of .634. Conversely, the Japanese team had a win expectancy of .366. It was a remarkable swing of .378 from the run scoring to the end of the half inning.

In effect, one blown call late in the game had a huge effect on the game. In an era when the technology exists that should allow umpires to get these key calls right, it is a sad taint on the game when an umpire can so alter the course of a game. Japan has a right to be disappointed in the outcome of the game, and Major League Baseball once again is embarrassed by its officiating in a key situation of an important game.

Sources

Walk-Off Balk’s Win Expectancy Finder

Advertisements

8 Responses to “WBC: A costly call in the Japan/USA game shows umpire fallacy again”


  1. 1 Baseball Widow March 13, 2006 at 9:17 am

    Interesting ideas. Although, as you know, I’m not ready to go so far as to call blown calls “taints” on the game, I do think your ideas are worth discussing.

  2. 2 Steve March 13, 2006 at 12:06 pm

    Instant replay in the WBC? How about that as a beta test for major league baseball?

  3. 3 Jer March 13, 2006 at 1:17 pm

    We all know they are going to have instant replay eventually. I realize the purists will probably go into shock, but if we can stomach the expanded playoff structure, an exhibation game deciding home-field for the world series, and the Mets actually having a chance to contend this year, then we can put up with select instant replay in the last 2 or 3 innings of a game. This isn’t football, replays will proabably be very rare in everyday play.

  4. 4 Mike March 14, 2006 at 4:31 pm

    Nice post.

    What program did you use to create that chart? Did you just save it as a pic file and then upoload it into the body of your post?

    Thanks

  5. 5 Trev March 17, 2006 at 3:13 am

    This is a cool use of Win Expectency. I wonder though, if one could truly say what the Win Expectency of a World Baseball Classic game is at any time.

    The Win Expectency numbers that you’re using are from MLB games from 1975-1990. They’re based on an assumption that batters from that period will hit (for example) doubles 5% of the time. In the Classic, I’m not sure what the doubles rate is, but one would have to adjust the rates accordingly, esp. since the quality of play isn’t equal to the MLB.

    There’s no better data available, but I think that means we should hope to see more Classics so we have more to go on. Either way, interesting post.


  1. 1 yamada_radio_clinic Trackback on March 13, 2006 at 7:40 pm
  2. 2 Breaking Balls » TBS drops the ball at the plate Trackback on October 2, 2007 at 3:18 pm
  3. 3 River Ave. Blues | The case for instant replay Trackback on May 18, 2008 at 11:35 pm
Comments are currently closed.



RSS River Ave. Blues

  • Game 74: A Sonny Saturday June 23, 2018
    The Yankees lost for only the fifth time in their last 22 games last night, and you know what’s crazy? Two of those five losses were by one run and the other three were by two runs. Even when they lose, the Yankees are in every game right to the end. Losing winnable games stinks, […] The post Game 74: A Sonny Saturday appeared first on River Avenue Blues. […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Saturday Links: Watson, Giambi, YES Network, Kay, Singleton June 23, 2018
    The Yankees and Rays will continue their three-game series with the middle game later this afternoon. Here are some links and notes to check out in the meantime. Yankees pursued Watson over the winter According to Joel Sherman, the Yankees tried to sign left-hander Tony Watson during the offseason. He instead signed a luxury tax […] The post Saturday Links: […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Rays 2, Yankees 1: A forgettable loss if there ever was one June 23, 2018
    Ugh, I hate that the Yankees only win most games and not all games. The Yanks dropped a completely forgettable series opener to the Rays on Friday night. Giancarlo Stanton made a great catch and … that’s it? Nothing else of note happened. The final score was 2-1. Sabathia Bends, Breaks Only A Little Pretty […] The post Rays 2, Yankees 1: A forgettable loss i […]
    Mike Axisa
  • DotF: Clarke Schmidt debuts following Tommy John surgery June 23, 2018
    MLB.com posted their midseason top 100 prospects list today. Three Yankees made it: OF Estevan Florial (No. 39), LHP Justus Sheffield (No. 42), and RHP Albert Abreu (No. 65). 2B Gleyber Torres and 3B Miguel Andujar are no longer prospect eligible while RHP Chance Adams, who was No. 66 before the season, has dropped out […] The post DotF: Clarke Schmidt debut […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Game 73: A Trip to the Trop June 22, 2018
    The season is nearly halfway complete, and the Yankees are just now making their first trip to Tropicana Field. Very weird schedule this year. I’m not complaining. The Trop stinks. Just pointing out the schedule is weird. First of three in St. Pete tonight. As for the Yankees, my goodness they are red hot right […] The post Game 73: A Trip to the Trop appear […]
    Mike Axisa
  • 6/22 to 6/24 Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays June 22, 2018
    For the first time this season, the Yankees will play in Tropicana Field. They’re in Tampa for three games this weekend. The Last Time They Met It seems like just yesterday that the Yankees hosted the Rays, but that’s not quite true; in fact, it was last week. The Rays visited the Bronx last weekend, […] The post 6/22 to 6/24 Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays a […]
    Domenic Lanza
  • Yankeemetrics: Bomber Brooms, Seattle Sweep (June 19-21) June 22, 2018
    Domingo+Dingers=Win After a quick trip to the nation’s capital, the Yankees were back at the friendly confines on Tuesday night and opened their series with an easy 7-2 win over the Mariners. Domingo German was absolutely brilliant in his eighth career start. After giving up a run (unearned) in the first inning, he retired 19(!) […] The post Yankeemetrics: B […]
    Katie Sharp
  • Mailbag: Torres, Adams, Loaisiga, Gardner, Drury, Judge, Bundy June 22, 2018
    There are ten questions in this week’s mailbag. RABmailbag (at) gmail (dot) com is the mailbag email address, so send your questions there each week. Ryan asks: Any explanation for the power Torres is showing in the majors? I think I read he had only 24 homers in like 1,500 at bats in the minors. […] The post Mailbag: Torres, Adams, Loaisiga, Gardner, Drury, […]
    Mike Axisa
  • DotF: Wagner goes deep yet again in Tampa’s win June 22, 2018
    Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (3-1 win over Lehigh Valley) SS Tyler Wade: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 SB — 24-for-73 (.329) with five doubles, a triple, and two homers in his last 17 games … that looks a lot more like pre-2018 Tyler Wade 1B Brandon Drury: 1-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K — second start […] The post DotF: Wagner goes deep yet again in Tampa’s win appeared […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Thursday Night Open Thread June 21, 2018
    ?Good game today, great series this week. The Yankees finished the three-game sweep of the Mariners this afternoon and they are now 28 games — 28 games! — over .500 on June 21st. Feels awesome. The 2018 Yankees are not perfect, far from it, but damn, is this team good or what? Great team and […] The post Thursday Night Open Thread appeared first on River Ave […]
    Mike Axisa

Blog Stats

  • 62,703 hits
Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: