The Rangers lost game one of the World Series -- again -- but this time they made it close, thanks to another play making the list.
If you have not followed this list for a while, this is the top 20 moments in the history of the Texas Rangers' postseason play in terms of Win Probability Added (explanation). It is, essentially, how much a play alters a team's expected probability of winning; what happens after, or other sorts of context are irrelevant, and to be added by the reader. These are the 20 largest positive swings on one play the Rangers have ever had in the postseason.
With Napoli's homerun now making the list, Josh Hamilton's first inning homerun in last year's ALCS game three is bumped off of the list. Read past the jump to find where Napoli's unfortunately-wasted blast lands.
20. 2011 ALCS, Game 4: The sixth inning in Detroit started with Texas down 2-0, and their shot slipping away with a 22.9% Win Expectancy. A rally involving David Murphy, Ian Kinsler, and Elvis Andrus, however, tied the game and brought Michael Young -- previously sporting an awful postseason -- to the plate with a runner on second and two outs. Young singled softly to center, giving the Rangers the lead, a 63% Win Expectancy, and 16% Win Probability Added. The Rangers surrendered the lead, but still went on to win the game and the series, making Young's hit huge.
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 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.
17. 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.
16. 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.
15. 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.
14. 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.
13. 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.
12. 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.
11. 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.
10. 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.
9. 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.
8. 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.
7. 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.
6. 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.
5. 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.
4. 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.
3. 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.
2. 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.
1. 2010, ALCS Game 4: If you didn't see this list last year, I'm guessing you still knew what would be No. 1. This is by far the victor. 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.