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Texas Rangers All-Time Top Fifteen Playoff Moments

. . . at least in terms of Win Probability Added.

This list has been kept up since the start of the 2010 post season, but on the night of October 3, 2011, it got destroyed. Five (5) individual moments from the Rangers super-stressful ALDS game three against the Rays added more win probability than all seven single moments before in the franchise's playoff history. So, in one game, Texas had nearly as many giant swings in Win Expectancy as they had in the 28 prior playoff games they'd played.

That is unreal. Five!

If that isn't enough, in hindsight, they look even bigger than WPA (explanation in the link) makes them look, because of how close the game ended up. Many of the moments from the previous top 10 list came in games that ended up one-sided. As big as Bengie Molina's home run against the Yankees was, the Rangers won the game by seven. In hindsight, they might have won, anyway. With other moments, the swing was big, but wasted in a Rangers loss. But without Napoli's home run or Hamilton's double, the Rangers lose without them, but managed a huge win. Tonight's game was full of unreal additions to Rangers lore.

So, here is the newly-expanded list. Five more moments to the list. Read on to find out where they ended up.

15. 1996, ALDS Game 3: The Rangers' first playoff series was tied 1-1 with Texas trailing the Yankees 3-2 in their home park. Future Ranger John Wetteland came in and faced DH Mickey Tettleton. Tettleton worked a walk, which sounds boring, but getting the tying run on with no outs is pretty significant. The result was still just a 38% Win Expectancy, but 14% Win Probability Added, but no one could capitalize and the Rangers lost the game. And the series.

14.  2010, ALCS Game 1: Such a memorable series began as such a nightmare. The Rangers blew a big game one lead against CC Sabathia and the Yankees. Like '96, Texas opened the ninth at home down one -- this time 6-5 -- and got the lead-off runner on. This time it was a single by Mitch Moreland, but the impact is the same: 38% Win Expectancy, and 14% Win Probability Added. Just like 1996, the Rangers bunted him over and then ended the game without anymore advancement. Fortunately, the series ended up much better this time.

13.  2010, ALDS Game 2: Fresh off the heels of their second playoff victory ever, the Rangers had a 2-0 lead in the fifth when Michael Young came up with two on and one out in Tampa Bay. Young muscled a James Shields pitch to centerfield, turning a tight contest in to a blowout with a 92% Win Expectancy. The home run ended up not being necessary due to a shutout started by C.J. Wilson, but at the moment it was 15% Win Probability Added for the Rangers. At the time, this was one of the best things to ever happen to the Rangers. It got better from there.

12.  2011, ALDS Game 3: Make Napoli had himself a series in his playoff debut as a Ranger, making the list twice just from this game alone. With no outs in the bottom of the eighth in St. Petersburg, Mike Adams walked the tying run, B.J. Upton. Upton attempted to steal, but Ron Washington called a pitch-out at the right time and Napoli gunned him down for the first out, emptying the bases. Napoli's throw put the Rangers' Win Expetancy at 79.3%, good for 16% Win Probability Added. Texas went on to win.

11.  2010, ALCS Game 3: The Rangers set the table in the first inning for Josh Hamilton in New York, and Hamilton made Andy Pettitte pay with a two-run shot, starting the game off with 16% Win Probability Added, and a 76% Win Expectancy. Texas ended up with a dominant 8-0 victory and a 2-1 lead in the series.

10.  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.

9.  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 91.9%, and the insurance runs ended up being critical as the Rangers won 4-3.

8.  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.

7.  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.

6.  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.

5.  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.

4.  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.

3.  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.

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.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.