It’s no secret the Dodgers have been fantastic in the late innings this season. The best team in baseball has eight wins when they trail heading to the ninth while no other team in baseball has five.
There is an expectation the Dodgers will come back despite the odds because time and time again they’ve won when it was least probable.
Fangraphs keeps tabs on Win Expectancy in baseball, showing in real time what the chances are a team will walk away winners depending on the game situation. Here is the detailed explanation from the website:
Win Expectancy (WE) is the percent chance a particular team will win based on the score, inning, outs, runners on base, and the run environment. These percentages are calculated using historical data, meaning if a team is losing and has a 24% win expectancy, only 24% of teams in similar situations in the past have ever come back to win.
With that in mind, here is a look at some of the Dodgers’ best wins when the probability was at it’s lowest. There are so many examples to choose from this year so I needed to whittle it down to just a few.
Taylor’s Grand Ninth
Let’s start by going back to this game on June 3 in Milwaukee when the Dodgers trailed 8-4 going into the eighth inning.
After scoring a run in the eighth, the Dodgers were down three with just three outs remaining. The probability of the Brewers winning the game went all the way to 98.5% when Chase Utley grounded out to start the ninth.
It was then the Dodgers showed the promise of the 44-7 streak that would start less than a week later.
A walk, error and single loaded the bases for the Dodgers with Cody Bellinger coming to the dish as the go-ahead run. Bellinger walked to bring the deficit to two, clearing the way for Chris Taylor to slug a grand slam and an eventual 10-8 victory.
Puig Loves Miami
With two outs and nobody on in the ninth inning, the Dodgers were down 4-3 on the road in Miami July 14 and had just a 3.6% chance of winning.
Joc Pederson singled and Yasmani Grandal followed with a walk to bring Yasiel Puig to the plate.
Puig nearly struck out on a tough breaking pitch on an 0-2 count but somehow held up. On the next pitch, Puig launched a 94-mph fastball off the Marlins’ sculpture in center in one of the more exciting plays of the year.
It also provided one of the best photos of the year to date.
This is a perfect photo for the 2017 Dodgers who are currently on a 40-11 run (2.97 Team ERA) and are 52-17 since April 27— Ryan Walton (@RyanWaltonSBN) July 15, 2017
Getty Images pic.twitter.com/V9SbwxtFyp
Seager Slams the Reds
On a hot Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium June 11, the Dodgers were down 7-3 to the Reds going into the bottom of the eighth.
When Chris Taylor grounded out to start the inning, the Dodgers had just a 2.2% chance of winning. Cody Bellinger followed with a solo homer to start the momentum back the other way.
A single and three straight walks brought Corey Seager up with a chance at the lead. Seager delivered by punishing a pitch into the outfield pavilion for a grand slam and a 9-7 lead.
“You bet he can”
The Dodgers were down 4-2 heading to the ninth August 16 to the White Sox and had just a 3.8% chance of winning after Justin Turner made out to start the inning.
That was when the fun started.
Bellinger singled and scored on a Logan Forsythe double to bring Austin Barnes to the plate with a runner in scoring position. Barnes would single to place runners at the corners with Puig on his way up.
Just before the 3-2 pitch, Dodgers’ broadcaster Joe Davis asked aloud, “Can Puig deliver?”
Puig jumped on a fastball and sent it into the gap in left-center causing Davis to exclaim, “You bet he can.” As the ball rolled to the wall, Barnes raced around the bases to bring the winning run home for the Dodgers’ 10th walk-off win of the season.
It was the first signature moment of the 2017 season when the Dodgers were down 5-2 in the ninth to the Phillies on April 29 with just a 2.8% chance of pulling out a win.
I have no idea how to calculate the odds that the Dodgers would hit back-to-back-to-back homers but it’s significantly less than 1.0%.
Puig and Bellinger both left the yard to start the inning before Turner came off the bench to turn Dodger Stadium into a frenzy.
Adrian Gonzalez would later hit a ground ball that the Phillies couldn’t handle and Barnes would come around to score the winning run.
These are just some of the best moments of a season that is full of them. With 42 games to go, the Dodgers could have more comebacks in store.
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