The Giants' poor timing in close games

Greg Fiume

It's not just in your head.

I'm stat-curious about "Win Probability Added." It's a stat that takes the context of an at-bat into account -- a double in the ninth inning of a tie game vs. a double in the sixth inning of an 11-0 blowout, for example -- and adds up how much each hit actually contributed to the likelihood of a win.

The last time we checked in, it was about the cumulative WPA for each player in the 2013 season. But you can measure individual games, too. In 2010, no Giant did more to help the team turn a loss into a win than Nate Schierholtz did in this game. Which the Giants lost. But not because of Schierholtz.

Now that we're caught up on WPA, allow me to share something I just found. Here's a list of the top performances from Giants hitters this year when context is taken into account. You can think of them as the "clutchest games" of the year. Notice anything?

Rk Player Date Opp PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB WPA
1 Brandon Crawford 2013-04-24 ARI 4 1 3 1 0 1 2 0 0.727
2 Pablo Sandoval 2013-04-30 ARI 4 1 2 0 0 1 2 0 0.633
3 Angel Pagan 2013-05-25 COL 6 1 2 1 0 1 2 0 0.609
4 Brandon Belt 2013-04-12 CHC 4 0 1 1 0 0 2 0 0.589
5 Buster Posey 2013-05-03 LAD 4 1 2 1 0 1 2 1 0.586
6 Gregor Blanco 2013-05-21 WSN 4 1 3 0 1 0 1 0 0.577
7 Brandon Belt 2013-04-23 ARI 2 1 2 0 0 1 2 0 0.532
8 Brandon Belt 2013-05-01 ARI 4 1 1 0 0 1 3 1 0.497
9 Hunter Pence 2013-04-14 CHC 5 2 3 0 0 1 1 1 0.475
10 Buster Posey 2013-04-22 ARI 4 1 2 1 0 1 3 0 0.465
11 Guillermo Quiroz 2013-05-04 LAD 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.435
12 Brandon Belt 2013-08-02 TBR 4 2 3 0 1 1 2 0 0.428
13 Andres Torres 2013-05-25 COL 3 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0.416
14 Brandon Belt 2013-04-29 ARI 4 1 2 0 0 1 3 0 0.396
15 Buster Posey 2013-07-08 NYM 8 1 5 2 0 1 2 0 0.389
16 Gregor Blanco 2013-06-19 SDP 1 1 1 0 1 0 2 0 0.378
17 Andres Torres 2013-05-08 PHI 2 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.374
18 Brandon Belt 2013-06-18 SDP 4 2 3 1 0 0 1 0 0.367
19 Brandon Belt 2013-05-26 COL 4 2 1 1 0 0 2 2 0.357
20 Buster Posey 2013-06-26 LAD 4 1 3 0 0 1 2 0 0.337
21 Buster Posey 2013-05-09 ATL 4 1 2 0 0 1 3 0 0.337
22 Gregor Blanco 2013-06-18 SDP 4 1 2 1 0 0 1 1 0.329
23 Brandon Belt 2013-04-22 ARI 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.318
24 Gregor Blanco 2013-06-22 MIA 5 1 3 1 0 0 1 0 0.314
25 Hunter Pence 2013-08-09 BAL 4 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0.296

There, the column with all the dates. Check that out. April, May, April, May, April, May, June, April ... the Giants' biggest games were all in April and May. You probably could have figured that out on your own, but it's still stunning to see in front of you. Remember when the Giants were abysmal in June? They still had the occasional big performances in close games. Gregor Blanco's pinch-hit triple against the Padres, for example.

The Giants have had good performances in isolation, even as they've been bad. Here's a list of three-hit games from this season, for example. The Giants have had a few in every month.

But in July or August, when the Giants have had one, it didn't really do a whole lot. My favorite from that list is Joaquin Arias's recent four-hit game. He actually had a negative WPA because the one out he did make came with runners on second and third. That's so 2013.

Hunter Pence went 5-for-5 on August 1, but it was in an 8-3 loss. Brett Pill drove in four in a game the Giants won by seven. Brandon Crawford and Marco Scutaro each went 3-for-5 in a 10-1 win, and the next day both Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey went 3-for-4 in 9-0 win. Any of those four performances in a one-run game would have made a difference. As is, stacked on top of each other, their impact was hardly felt.

Too long, didn't read? The Giants have had a really strange season, everyone. And if it's felt like it's been a while since a Giants player has taken over a game and won a game with an individual performance, that's because it has been.

The full list is here. Scroll down for the July and August games. It's not just you. This is actually happening.

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