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: Mike Olt (.208)
Olt grounded out into a fielders' choice to end the first and third innings. He hit a two-run homer in the fifth to make the score 3-1, and added an RBI single in the sixth to extend the Cubs lead to 6-1. Later, he grounded out to end the Cubs' eighth. His home run added 26.4% to Chicago's win possibility.
Second Hero: Pedro Alvarez (.124)
Alvarez grounded out to open the second inning. Leading off the fifth, he collected Pittsburgh's first hit of the evening off Jason Hammel, a solo shot which tied the game at one apiece. The shot was good for a 14.4% swing in win probability. He grounded out to third in the seventh, then in the ninth hit his second solo home run of the night to close the score to 7-4. The second dinger was only worth .8% WPA, as it was pretty unlikely to shift tonight's winner.
Third Hero: Jason Hammel (.108)
Hammel started out very well, pitching a perfect game through four innings. He ended up pitching a total of seven innings, allowing a walk and striking out six Bucs. He only allowed three hits, but they were all home runs. He hurt his WPA at the plate (-.062) by going 0-for-2 with a strikeout. He earned a .170 score on the hill.
Slightly Less than Neutral
Third Zero (Tie): Travis Ishikawa & Jeanmar Gomez (-.063 each)
Ishikawa whiffed three times out of four plate appearances, ending the fifth, seventh, and ninth innings for Pittsburgh. Gomez pitched a nice seventh inning. Unfortunately, this followed a train-wreck in the sixth where he allowed four hits and a walk for three earned runs.
Second Zero: Starling Marte (-.074)
None of Marte's four plate appearances hurt the Pirates chances much more than any of his other at bats, but he didn't do the team any favors with three ground outs and a swinging strikeout in the seventh.
First Zero: Wandy Rodriguez (-.247)
No surprise here. Rodriguez was pretty good through four, allowing only one run in the first before things started to sour in the fifth inning. He still had stuff, striking out two swinging in the frame, but also allowed three earned runs on two home runs and a single. All told, he allowed 12 base runners (nine hits and three walks) for an in-game WHIP of 2.400, also striking out six batters. He went 0-for-1 at the plate (-.012)
Two home runs for Martin didn't even make a dent in the Pirates WPA, and it seems like a shame to waste a five (FIVE!!!!) home run game. One more try, tomorrow in the afternoon.