Heroes and Zeroes is a series where I use www.fangraphs.com to rank each player's gameday. It is not meant to say one player is better than any other player. WPA is a context dependent measurement in which each play is judged on it's probable impact on the outcome of the game. It is a statistic that is meant to divide credit amongst the winning team and blame across the losing team. If you were to follow the link at the end of this paragraph, or even add all the numbers in this article together, they will add up to zero. The winning team is responsible for 0.5 wins, and the losing team is responsible for -.5 wins. The statistic has properties such that an 81-81 team, at the end of the season, will have a collective WPA of exactly zero. Source material for today's game can be found here.
First Hero: Kyle Lohse (.330)
Lohse was pretty much the entire ballgame. He pitched 8.2 innings, striking out nine (.185) and allowing four hits (-.226) with zero walks.
Second Hero: Martin Maldonado (.096)
Batting eighth, Maldonado led off the third with a double (.069), drew a walk in the fifth (.023), advanced to second on a wild pitch (.017) and bunted out to the pitcher in the sixth (-.013),
Third Hero: Aramis Ramirez (.085)
Ramirez flew out to center to lead off the second (-.023), hit the go-ahead RBI single in the fourth (.088), walked in the sixth (.022), and lined out to second in the eighth (-.003).
Third Zero: Tony Sanchez (-.076)
Sanchez grounded out in the second (-.011), singled in the fifth (.053), allowed two runs to score on an error in the sixth (-.110), and struck out looking in the seventh (-.008).
Second Zero: Pedro Alvarez (-.091)
Alvarez flew out to left in the second (-.023), flew out to right in the fourth (-.034), struck out looking in the seventh (-.023), and struck out swinging to end the game in the ninth (-.011).
First Zero (tie): Charlie Morton, Travis Ishikawa (-.095)
Ishikawa struck out swinging in the third (-.025), flew out with one on and one out in the fifth (-.049), and struck out in the eighth (-.021). Morton pitched seven decent innings, striking out three and walking three while allowing six hits. Half of the four runs he allowed were earned. His original WPA of -.205 was impacted by Tony Sanchez' sixth inning error. I moved the event score of -.110 from Morton's WPA to Sanchez'.
Rolling 10 game WPA
Best: Pedro Alvarez (.604)
Second Best: Jason Grilli (.524)
Third Best: Tony Watson (.343)
Third Worst: Charlie Morton (-.369)
Second Worst: Wandy Rodriguez (-.385)
Worst: Francisco Liriano (-.420)
You can see the trend here. The three worst WPA's on the team account for 60% of Pittsburgh's starting rotation. The top of the pops are owned by El Toro and two-thirds of the Pirates' 7-8-9 combo (Melancon is fourth best).
Well, that was interesting. Next up, the Cincinnati Reds.