Sometime this offseason, when you’re staring out the window waiting for spring or you’re watching one of our lesser sports, you’re going to start thinking.
The offseason is good for that, and baseball thoughts are usually good thoughts, especially if your team made the playoffs. You’ll think back on a game that got them there — maybe one that they had no business winning and in some cases, proved to be the difference between going on and going home, or home-field advantage and a long plane trip.
Then there are those other thoughts. The game that they should have had — either they blew it or they couldn’t take care of the team that was supposed to be an easy mark on the schedule.
There were 2,429 games this year to think back on — the baseball gods owe us one more next time we see them — and a few of them were that game for a team that just missed or a team that just made it.
And for the second straight year, we present the games to remember that made the entire difference in the standings. For each team that either earned a spot or home field by one game, you’ll see the following:
- The escape from defeat. This was the game in which they had the lowest win probability at any point among the games they won.
- The win in which they were the biggest underdog coming in according to the wagering line.
- Luckiest win — This isn’t always 100 percent luck, but it’s the win in which they were most outplayed. We’ll use the biggest gaps in true average between the teams instead of just the hit total to account for walks, hit by pitches, etc.
- Miscellaneous — a stretch that saved their season, a good team that they owned, a notable game against the team they edged out, etc.
For the teams that came up a game short, it’s going to be the opposite — the most excruciating blown game, the loss in which they were the biggest favorite, the loss with their highest TAv advantage and a piece of miscellaneous misfortune that you won’t want to remember.
Starting with the single game that had the biggest impact on the postseason picture — the only single game that meant the difference between the ballfield and the golf course.