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Yankees ride rollercoaster of emotions to victory

What a game. The Yankees outlasted the Indians after four hours and 50 minutes (not including the two rain delays), marking the longest nine-inning game in MLB history, regular season or postseason. It was a wild ride that included a lot of back and forth, and so here is a breakdown of the win expectancy (WE) over the course of the game. For reference, this is win expectancy relative to the Indians, so the closer to 100 percent the more likely Cleveland will win, and the closer to zero percent the more likely the Yankees will win.

1st inning

Jose Ramirez RBI double, 1-0 Indians: 65.3 percent

Ramirez’s RBI double in what seemed like near hurricane weather got the Indians off to a fast start. The tarp would proceed to come on after this at-bat, leaving us all wondering why they even started this game at all.

Josh Naylor 2-run double, 3-0 Indians: 77.9 percent

Roberto Perez RBI singe, 4-0: 83.8 percent

After the rain delay, Tanaka was not sharp and got hit hard. Things were looking bleak.

2nd inning

Giancarlo Stanton solo home run, 4-1 Indians: 78.0 percent

This home run dropped the Indians’ WE from 84.1 to 78.0 percent. Still, a large mountain to climb.

4th inning

Aaron Hicks triple, 4-1 Indians: 71.5 percent

Luke Voit walk, 4-1 Indians: 67.1 percent

Giancarlo Stanton walk, 4-1 Indians: 61.8 percent

The Yankees got the first three runners on in the fourth to knock out starter Carlos Carrasco. Win expectancy steadily declining, and then…

Gio Urshela grand slam, 5-4 Yankees: 38.9 percent

That’s a WE swing of 22.9 percent, with the Yankees now favored to win the game. Little did we know this would only be part of Gio’s big night.

5th inning

Giancarlo Stanton sac-fly, 6-4 Yankees: 23.0 percent

While a two-run lead is far from safe in the postseason (especially with the sweats the Yankees’ bullpen likes to give us), the Yankees seem to be taking control of this game. However, they fail to tack on any more runs in the inning.

Jose Ramirez 2-run double, 6-6: 68.6 percent

This was a huge moment in the game that seems to have gotten glossed over. Ramirez doubled in the tying runs, but he also was able to advance to third on the play. Runner on third, no outs. The Indians quickly took back control and were poised to take the lead. 

Carlos Santana strikeout, 6-6: 63.0 percent

Franmil Reyes strikeout, 6-6: 55.3 percent

Josh Naylor fly out to right, 6-6: 50.0 percent

Chad Green held down the fort and did not allow Ramirez to score, getting the dangerous Naylor to fly out and end the threat. With the win expectancy for the Indians at a dead 50 percent, it’s anyone’s game.

6th inning

Brett Gardner walk, 6-6: 45.0 percent

Gary Sanchez home run, 8-6 Yankees: 24.2 percent

And just like that, the Yankees took back the lead thanks to Gary Sanchez juuust getting the ball over the right-field wall. Whether it went 356 feet or 500 feet it didn’t matter — they all count the same. 

Fun fact: the expected batting average of Gary’s homer was .120. Thank you to the wind.

Roberto Perez single, 8-6 Yankees: 34.6 percent

Tyler Naquin strikeout, 8-6 Yankees: 29.1 percent

Delino DeShields single, 8-6 Yankees: 34.8 percent

The Indians started to make some noise against Chad Green. First and second, two outs. Britton coming on. Lindor up. Nerve levels increasing…

Francisco Lindor double play, 8-6 Yankees: 20.6 percent

Huge, huge, huge double play on a full count. Maybe Britton is on tonight?

7th inning

Cesar Hernandez strikeout, 8-6 Yankees: 20.6 percent

Jose Ramirez ground out, 8-6 Yankees: 17.5 percent

Oh yeah, Britton is definitely feeling it. He’s gonna get us through the seventh and potentially all the way to Chapman. Life’s good.

Carlos Santana walk, 8-6 Yankees: 19.9 percent

Oh no. Not good. Just shake it off.

Franmil Reyes walk, 8-6 Yankees: 23.5 percent

No, no, no, no. Here we go again. Good thing we have a stud-laden bullpen. Let’s see here, who’s coming in? Oh sweet cream cheese it’s Johnny Loaisiga. At least Naylor’s getting pinch-hit for and we have two strikes, so this should be easy, right?

Jordon Luplow 2-run double, 8-8: 56.5 percent

Of course. It’s never easy. The game has swung back in the Indians’ favor.

8th inning

Gary Sanchez strikeout, 8-8: 55.1 percent

DJ LeMahieu walk, 8-8: 50.1 percent

Aaron Judge walk, 8-8: 43.5 percent

Back-to-back one-out walks and all of a sudden the Yankees are in a good spot again. 

Aaron Hicks fielder’s choice, 8-8: 50.6 percent

Now runners on first and third with two outs and things are ever so slightly back in Cleveland’s favor. But luckily, we have Luke Voit — *checks lineup card* — oh no. It’s pretty-boy himself, Tyler Wade. The last thing I need right now is a guy who had an expected batting average of .213 this year. Oh, but we have Clint Frazier to pinch-hit? That’s better, right?

Clint Frazier strikeout, 8-8: 61.8 percent

It wasn’t better.

Delino DeShields walk, 8-8: 68.0 percent

Francisco Lindor walk, 8-8: 76.7 percent

With all the balls thrown in this game, surprisingly the Yankees pitchers were responsible for only seven of the nineteen (!) walks in this game. But things seem to be slipping out of hand here in the 8th. Chapman comes on perhaps two batters too late.

Cesar Hernandez RBI single, 9-8 Indians: 90.8 percent

Is all hope lost? At this moment, the Indians had a 90.8 percent chance of winning this game. Too bad the calendar had flipped to October by this point, and they don’t do so well in that month.

Jose Ramirez strikeout, 9-8 Indians: 87.6 percent 

The Indians still had first and second with nobody out, so they had a chance to break this open with their best hitter at the plate. Big strikeout.

Carlos Santana double play, 9-8 Indians: 81.6 percent

I told you we would come back to that Gio fella. Even though based on WE the Indians were still in control of this game, three outs away from forcing a do-or-die Game 3, this play saved any hope the Yankees had of coming back.

For those of you wondering, that ball was hit with an exit velocity of 108.7 miles per hour and had an expected batting average of .450.

9th inning

Giancarlo Stanton walk, 9-8 Indians: 70.2 percent

The ever-daunting leadoff walk. Brad Hand ranked 14th in all of baseball among qualified relievers with 1.64 walks per nine innings. Yankees have life.

Gio Urshela single, 9-8 Indians: 54.4 percent

This guy again! He pokes/lines a single up the middle on an 0-2 count. Hitters were 1-for-12 off of Hand this year in an 0-2 count. Can the Yankees do it? Can they come back?

Gleyber Torres infield single, 9-8 Indians: 36.0 percent

Gleyber is having himself a series, isn’t he? I’ve lost count of how many infield hits he’s had, but like the home runs, they count the same as a line-drive single to the outfield. Bases-loaded, no outs. In the moment, I was having some PTSD from the regular season thinking that we somehow wouldn’t score. But the WE has swung in our favor.

Brett Gardner strikeout, 9-8 Indians: 53.7 percent

Full count, bases loaded, down by one. If that wasn’t stressing you out, I don’t know what would. But this seemed typical: bases loaded, now one out, and a not-insignificant chance that Gary Sanchez grounds into a game-ending double-play.

Gary Sanchez sac fly, 9-9: 53.3 percent

He did a thing! That’s all we needed from him. Three RBI for Sanchez constitutes a great night for him. But we need to take the lead here with the guy we would pick to have up in this spot: DJ LeMahieu.

DJ LeMahieu RBI single, 10-9 Yankees: 18.1 percent

Did you have any doubt?! Again, on an 0-2 pitch. The Yankees now are back in the driver’s seat and have a chance to close out the Indians. Let’s just hope Chapman has his command.

Franmil Reyes strikeout, 10-9 Yankees: 13.4 percent

Jordan Luplow ground out, 10-9 Yankees: 5.6 percent

Oscar Mercado strikeout, reaches on passed ball: 11.3 percent

Gary! I was just praising you! That was a very catchable ball, and now we have a guy with speed on first and Chapman potentially out of his rhythm. The odds are still in our favor, though.

Austin Hedges strike out, 10-9 Yankees: 0.0 percent

Ballgame. Yankees win. See you in San Diego.

Here’s the graph of the WE with the leverage index:

Top three performers by WPA:

  1. Jose Ramirez (CLE): +34.5
  2. DJ LeMahieu (NYY): +33.4
  3. Gio Urshela (NYY): +32.6