With Texas back in the postseason, it's time to revisit the list we've been keeping track of the last two years.
See, none of us could bring ourselves to update this list after the World Series last year. When you last saw this list, Bengie Molina's thrilling three-run home run in the 2010 ALCS remained at the top of the list. In actuality, another moment has since passed that for the top spot. You might not want to be reminded.
For anyone unfamiliar, this is a list of the biggest single positive swings in terms of Win Probability Added in Texas Rangers postseason history. That makes it an objective list, and thus not necessarily any writer's personal choice for the biggest playoff moments in Rangers history. None of the drama or story is included, what happened after the play is not considered, nor is the value of the individual game in the greater scheme of the postseason. The link will tell you anything you need to know about WPA.
So, before any games are played in 2012, here is where our list stands.
25. 2011 ALCS, Game 2: In Arlington, Detroit closer Jose Valverde came in to get his team to extra innings, and Adrian Beltre greeted him with an immediate -- and deep -- double. The Rangers' Win Expectancy shot to 83% for 17% Win Probability Added, but unfortunately, while the Rangers loaded the bases before getting an out, they failed to bring in the run. Fortunately, they got another chance in the 11th inning and did not waste that one.
24. 2011 ALCS, Game 5: With one out in a 2-1 game, Josh Hamilton came up with runners at first and second in the fifth inning. Justin Verlander was on the ropes, and Josh Hamilton kept him there with a single to centerfield, scoring Ian Kinsler and putting runners at the corners. The run brought the Rangers' Win Expectancy to 59%, and produced 17% Win Probability Added. Unfortunately, the Rangers fell apart from there, and Detroit made the series 3-2. Fortunately, Texas won game six and the series.
23. 2011 ALDS, Game 3: With two outs in the top of the seventh in Tampa, and the Rangers having recently taken a 2-1 lead, Josh Hamilton came up with the bases loaded. He pulled a line drive to right for a single, scoring two, giving the Rangers a 4-1 lead, and providing 17% Win Probability Added. The Win Expectancy jumped to 92%, and the insurance runs ended up being critical as the Rangers won 4-3.
22. 2011 ALDS, Game 3: Even after Upton was caught stealing, the Rays mounted a threat in the bottom of the eighth, putting runners on first and second. Neftali Feliz was called in to end the threat with two outs, his team up 4-3. A wild pitch advanced the runners, but Feliz settled down and struck out Ben Zobrist for 17% Win Probability Added. The huge K put the Rangers at 86% Win Expectancy, and they held on to win.
21. 2011 ALCS, Game 4: Jose Valverde came in for his second inning in Detroit, with the game tied 3-3 in the 11th. Josh Hamilton immediately greeted him with a hard shot to right for a double, raising the Rangers' Win Expectancy to 67%, and putting up 17% Win Probability Added. It was not the last moment from just this inning to make the list, though.
20. 2011 World Series, Game 4: Derek Holland was dominating the Cardinals in Arlington, but only had one run of support for breathing room. That all changed in the sixth, when Edwin Jackson issued back-to-back walks of Nelson Cruz and David Murphy with one out in the sixth. Mitchell Boggs was brought in to face Mike Napoli, and Napoli hammered his first pitch deep in to the upper deck of left field for a 4-0 lead, and a Win Expectancy of 93%. The play was worth 17% Win Probability Added, though Holland continued to dominate and the runs served only to alleviate fan stress in the end.
19. 2011 ALCS, Game 5: With one out in a 2-1 game, Josh Hamilton came up with runners at first and second in the fifth inning. Justin Verlander was on the ropes, and Josh Hamilton kept him there with a single to centerfield, scoring Ian Kinsler and putting runners at the corners. The run brought the Rangers' Win Expectancy to 59%, and produced 17% Win Probability Added. Unfortunately, the Rangers fell apart from there, and Detroit made the series 3-2. Fortunately, Texas won game six and the series.
18. 2011 World Series, Game 6: Josh Hamilton began the fifth inning by reaching first on an error, and Michael Young followed up with a double to break a 3-3 tie. With a 4-3 lead, a runner on second, and no outs, the Rangers had a 72% win expectancy, with 17% Win Probability Added on Young’s double. More on this game later.
17. 2011 World Series, Game 5: In the bottom of the eight, with the Rangers tied 2-2, left handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski was brought in to handle David Murphy with two on and one out. Murphy reached on a field error, and Rzepczynski was left in to face lefty-crusher Mike Napoli. Tony LaRussa blamed the incredible crowd noise, but the result was unsurprising: Napoli crushed a lefty, sending a double to the wall and bringing home two runs, making the game 4-2. The Win Expectancy rose to 96%, with 18% Win Probability Added on the play. Unlike his homerun the night before, the runs proved critical in the end, with 4-2 being the final score putting the Rangers up 3-2 in the series.
16. 2011 ALCS, Game 6: Just like in game four, Michael Young made up for a poor postseason with huge hits in the ALCS. This time, he came up with runners on first and second and one out in the bottom of the third, with the Rangers down 2-0. Against his normal grain, he pulled a line shot down the leftfield line for a double, scoring two, tying the game, and raising the Rangers' Win Expectancy to 58%. That was good for 18% Win Probability Added, and began a Rangers onslaught of nine runs in the inning, clinching the series and giving Texas their second American League pennant.
15. 2011 ALDS, Game 3: With Feliz still in the game in the bottom of the ninth, Sean Rodriguez singled to center with one out in the bottom of the ninth, putting the tying run on. Kelly Shoppach came forth, but Feliz shut the door anyway with a double play, giving the Rangers a 4-3 win with 18% Win Probability Added on the final play.
14. 2011 ALCS, Game 2: With two outs in the top of the ninth, the Tigers managed hits off of Alexi Ogando and Mike Gonzalez to put runners on second and third. Neftali Feliz was brought in to end the threat, and began by intentionally walking Miguel Cabrera, which actually lowered the Rangers' Win Expectancy to below 50%. Feliz came through by getting Victor Martinez to pop up to Elvis Andrus for the out, raising the Rangers' Win Expectancy to 66%, good for 19% Win Probability Added.
13. 2010 ALDS, Game 3: With no outs and none on in the bottom of the seventh, Ian Kinsler pulled a home run to break a 1-1 tie against the Rays. 19% Win Probability Added took the Rangers to 19% Win Expectancy, heading towards a sweep and their first post season series victory. Unfortunately, the Rangers wasted the home run and failed to hang on, losing the game.
12. 2011 ALCS, Game 2: Not the homerun he will most be remembered for, even in the same game. In the bottom of the seventh, the Rangers found themselves down 3-2. They had not scored since the first inning, and were allowing the homerun-prone Max Scherzer to escape the long ball in Arlington. With one swing to open the inning, Nelson Cruz changed that and the complexion of the game by pulling a moon shot 1-2 pitch in to the upper deck, tying the game with 20% Win Probability Added. That set the Rangers' Win Expectancy at 60%, and they eventually pulled out the victory with a Cruz walk-off in the 11th.
11. 2011 World Series, Game 1: Trailing 2-0 in the fifth inning in St. Louis, Adrian Beltre pulled a single down the line, followed by a Nelson Cruz strikeout. Mike Napoli came to the plate in chili weather, facing ace Chris Carpenter -- of the same handedness -- and launched a sinker ball nearly 400 feat to the opposite field, clearing one of the toughest rightfield walls in baseball for a game-tying homerun. The Win Expectancy climbed to 47% for 23% Win Probability Added. The Rangers, unfortunately, gave the lead back in the sixth and went on to lose the game.
10. 1996 ALDS, Game 1: The Rangers first playoff game started with a 1-0 deficit to the Yankees, but all that changed with a three-run Juan Gonzalez home run in the top of the fourth, giving the Rangers 21% Win Probability Added, 71% Win Expectancy, and a lead they would never relinquish for their first post season victory.
9. 2011 World Series, Game 6: In the seventh inning of a 4-4 game, Adrian Beltre leads off with a home run to right center, raising Texas’s win expectancy to 71% for 21% Win Probability Added. Even more on this game later.
8. 2010 ALCS, Game 6: The hit that sent Rangers fans screaming around their living rooms. Fighting in a 1-1 tie with New York, and holding a 3-2 lead in the series, Vladimir Guerrero doubled to center with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, scoring two. The 3-1 lead gave Texas a 79% Win Expectancy, and the double was worth 23% Win Probability Added. From their, Texas got insurance runs, won the game 6-1, and went to their first World Series.
7. 2010 World Series, Game 3: After dropping both games in San Francisco to start the World Series, Texas took an early lead in game three thanks to a three-run Mitch Moreland shot to right with two outs in the second. Texas's Win Expectancy jumped to 79% for 24% Win Probability Added. The runs proved more significant in hindsight, as Texas won 4-1. Without Moreland's home run, the Rangers likely never win even one World Series game.
6. 1996 ALDS, Game 2: With a 1-0 lead in the series, trailing 1-0 in the game, with two on and two outs in the top of the third, Juan Gonzalez homered to left for a 3-1 lead and a 74% Win Expectancy. Good for 25% Win Probability Added. Unfortunately, the Rangers' bullpen could not hold the lead, and they lost the game 5-4 in 12 innings, as well as the next two and the series.
5. 2011 World Series, Game 2: The Rangers were facing an 0-2 deficit in the series down 1-0 in the ninth inning in St. Louis, when Ian Kinsler's pop fly to open the inning managed to find the grass. After a steal of second, with Elvis Andrus at the plate, Tim McCarver criticized the Cardinals' defensive alignment, and predicted an Andrus single to right. He was proven right on the next pitch, as Andrus went the other way, moving Kinsler to third. Andrus alertly took second when Albert Pujols deflected the throw in, putting runners at second and third with no outs. While no runs scored, the position took the Rangers from underdogs to favorites in the game, with a Win Expectancy of 61% and 25% Win Probability Added. Josh Hamilton and Michael Young brought the runners in with sacrifice flies, and the Rangers went on to win the game 2-1.
5. 2011 ALCS, Game 4: Mike Adams walked on to the Detroit mound in the eighth to protect a 3-3 tie from the heart of the order. After a quick first out, Miguel Cabrera was intentionally walked, and a Victor Martinez single put runners at the corners. Delmon Young then launched a deep fly ball to right that might normally break the tie, but Nelson Cruz rifled a perfect throw to home, nailing Cabrera at the plate with room to spare. The throw ended the inning on a double play, and took the Rangers' Win Expectancy right back up to 50% for 25% Win Probability Added. Almost certainly the biggest defensive play in franchise history, as the Rangers forced extra innings and won from there.
4. 2011 ALCS, Game 4: Following Cruz's incredible throw, and Hamilton's double, Michael Young struck out, Adrian Beltre was intentionally walked, bringing Mike Napoli up with two on and one out in a 3-3 11th inning. Napoli floated a soft single to centerfield, bringing home Hamilton for the lead and an 85% Win Expectancy. That meant 27% Win Probability Added. The Rangers tacked on more insurance runs, and finished with a 3-1 series lead.
3. 2011 ALDS, Game 3: With the Rangers trailing 1-0 in the top of the seventh in Tampa, Adrian Beltre opened the inning up with a single, bringing up Mike Napoli. Napoli continued his amazing display of power from the regular season, sending a towering home run to left and giving the Rangers a one-run lead. With 32% Win Probability Added, the Rangers' Win Expectancy soared to 72.2%, and the runs provided critical in a 4-3 victory.
2. 2010 ALCS, Game 4: In the sixth inning in New York, the Rangers trailed 3-2, and were one out from wasting a pair of baserunners when Bengie Molina came to the plate. TBS began playing a montage of Molina home runs against the Yankees in the playoffs, as though they knew the future. For a second it seemed like the montage was just continuing when Molina shifted his weight around for a home run down the left field line, and a 5-3 lead for the Rangers. 73% Win Expectancy. 40% Win Probability Added. The Rangers coasted to victory from there, taking a dominant 3-1 lead in the ALCS.
1. 2011 World Series, Game 6: With one out in the top of the 10th, after the Rangers blew the lead in the 9th, a hobbled Josh Hamilton came up with Elvis Andrus on first. Hamilton blasted a home run to right center, giving the Rangers a 9-7 lead, and a win expectancy of 93%, putting up 43% Win Probability Added by himself. The Rangers then blew the lead again and lost.