Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The Game Within the Game - Was Last Nights Walk-Off Win Due to Defensive Uncertainty

What a fantastic game, eh?

(pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014)
The Dodgers won in dramatic fashion as Carl Crawford banged in the game winning run in the 10th inning with a liner down the left field line.  With Chone Figgins on 1st base, the batted ball would have typically meant having Dodgers at both 2nd and 3rd base with Hanley Ramirez at the plate.  Instead, Crawford's hit eluded Tigers outfielder Rajai Davis, and Figgins came around to score the winning run.

That is usually the end of the story.  On the other hand, I wonder if confusion in the outfield along with poor communication from the Tigers bench was the real root of our walk-off victory?

A cursory look of Crawford's spray charts from Fan Graphs seems to indicate that he has an heightened tendency to hit line drives and fly balls to left field against left-handed pitchers.  In fact, based on the grouping (as indicated below) you could argue that your left fielder should play a little closer to the line.  If he had, the Tigers may have been able to escape that inning.

Source: FanGraphs

To emphasize the point, Dodger videographer Bobby Crosby at DodgerFilms makes note of Davis' confusion just prior to Crawford's game winning hit in a video he posted last night.  Check it out below.  Bobby remarks,
"He's constantly looking in the dugout and throwing his arms up like, 'where do I go?'"
Well, he obviously was in the wrong spot, and the Tigers inability to correctly position their left fielder in that instance cost them the game.

Video Link:

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