Archive for the category “egi”

7 Games, 0 Drama

A Game 7 is the most exciting thing in sports–the ultimate in win-or-go-home, do-or-die intrigue. A seven game series with no drama is like a Shakespeare play with no drama, and yet somehow the Giants and Royals are on the verge of providing just that.

Discussions of Madison Bumgarner’s brilliance, of Yordano Ventura’s unheralded dominance (2-0, 12 1/3 innings pitched, 2 earned runs), of the whether this’ll be KC’s Cinderella Year or the third installment of San Francisco’s Grover Cleveland-ish non-consecutive championship run are all great, but the games themselves? Not so much. After Game 5, we concluded that this was on pace to be the most boring six or seven game series ever, as measured by the Exciting Game Index. After last night’s 10-0 snoozer, with an EGI of 11.90, the 2014 World Series is one marginal game away from being the least exciting 7-game World Series of all time.

Game 6 was the least exciting World Series game in 46 years, and 6th least exciting World Series game ever.

Least Exciting World Series Games by EGI
Year Game
1960 Game 3 8.71 Yankees scored 6 in the first against the Pirates as Vinegar Mizell only recorded one out in the shortest start in World Series history.
1959 Game 1 9.46 White Sox jumped out to an 11-0 lead by the 4th and crushed the Dodgers in the opening game.
1967 Game 4 10.42 Cardinals score 4 in the first and Bob Gibson throws a complete game shutout against the Red Sox.
1923 Game 5 11.35 Yankees score 7 in the first two innings to roll over the Giants.
1968 Game 6 11.36 Tigers score 10 in the 3rd and beat the Cardinals 13-1.
2014 Game 6 11.90 Last night’s game.

Across all World Series, the cumulative scores range from 80 – 310. The 2014 World Series is currently at 148, which is 46 points below average. Because there’s only one game left in the 2014 World Series, Game 7 would have to be significantly above average, roughly on par with this 12-inning Game 4 from 2003, just to be an above average World Series. But that’s considering all World Series, even ones that only last 4, 5, and 6 games. When only comparing to other 7-game World Series, the 2014 has a chance to be the worst. More stunning, in order to become an average 7-game World Series, tonight’s Game 7 would have to be the most exciting game ever played in playoff history. Even if an exhilarating Game 7 materializes, the 2014 World Series will likely rank in the bottom-10 of 7-game World Series.

Least Exciting 7-Game World Series
Year Number of Games
Cumulative EGI
2014 6+ 147.97+
1965 7 167.76
1968 7 167.78
1967 7 177.96
1945 7 184.49

The 1965 series featured amazing pitching from both sides, just never on the same day. Koufax and Kaat matched up three times, including in Game 7 on two days’ rest. Koufax’s bullpen let him down in Game 2, and Kaat couldn’t get past the 3rd inning in Game 5 or 7. In all of the games, the eventual winning run was scored by the 6th inning, and in six of the games, it was scored by the 4th inning. In every game, the winning team’s starting pitcher threw a complete game, with no situations requiring the use of their bullpen.

There’s only about a 13% chance that this World Series ends as less exciting than the 1965 Series. The chart below illustrates the range of possibilities for 2014, compared to 1965. The high end shows what would happen if the Royals and Giants teamed up to play the most exciting game in World Series history.

2014 the Least Exciting World Series Ever?

It’s very possible that you’re witnessing history in the 2014 World Series, but not the kind that’s very memorable. The 2014 is stacking up to be one of the worst World Series ever in terms of exciting games, as measured by EGI.

  • Game 1 was an absolute sleeper, with the Giants jumping out to a 5-0 lead before winning 7-1. EGI: 16.62.
  • Game 2 was slightly better, as the Royals waited until the 6th before opening it up against the Giants and winning 7-2. EGI: 32.97
  • Game 3 was another below average game, as the Royals took a 3-0 lead, and while the Giants came back to make it 3-2, they never really threatened beyond scoring those additional runs, and the Royals cruised to a 3-2 win. EGI: 32.72.
  • Game 4 had a bit of back and forth, as the Giants came back from a 4-2 deficit in the 5th inning, but they piled on quickly and put the game out of reach. EGI: 32.58.
  • Game 5 was another boring game, with the Royals never threatening the Giants lead after the 5th. EGI: 21.16.

What is going on with the Royals? This was one of the most exciting teams ever early in the playoffs. All of a sudden, they can’t even have an above average (33.5) game. Well, a lot of this is luck, but it doesn’t stop us from taking a look at where this World Series could rank.

Year Number of Games
Cumulative EGI
1989 4 80.41
1963 4 111.82
2007 4 114.51
1928 4 120.50
1966 4 121.55

The 2014 Series is currently sitting at 130.89, which puts it 11th overall. But they’ve already played 5 games!

Year Number of Games
Cumulative EGI
2014 6+ 136.05+
1951 6 171.42
1930 6 174.32
1977 6 177.09
1906 6 177.68

This series is going to have a 6th game, and unless we see something in the top 120 games in World Series history (79th percentile), it’s going to be the least exciting 6 game World Series in history.

Open EGI Data

In case you wanted to see all of the World Series data, check this Google Spreadsheet.

You will see individual game rankings on the first tab, and cumulative series totals on the second tab.

I also have put the 2004 to 2013 complete game index (not including playoffs), up if you want to take a look.

Was the Wild Card Play-In Game the Most Exciting Game … Ever?

In a word, no. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t one of the best games of the year.

Many people watched the Royals beat the Athletics in 12 innings on Tuesday night and proclaimed it as the most exciting game of the year. It was an incredibly exciting game, but clearly not the most exciting game. How does it compare to the other 2427 games played this year? How does it compare to the other elimination games in baseball history?

The AL Wild Card game scored a 52.20 on the Exciting Game Index (EGI), which is calculated by taking summing the difference in Win Probability on each individual play, and dividing by the total number of plays in the game. Thus, a game where it’s never in doubt (like the Giants/Pirates NL Wild Card game which scored 15.58) will have a low score, and a game like the Royals/Athletics game, where the lead kept changing, will have a high score. EGI 33.6 is the decade historical average, with a minimum of 6.59, and a maximum of 73.78.

I swear, it won't be this hard.

I swear, it won’t be this hard.

The distribution of games (2004-2014) follows a roughly normal distribution (bell curve) as shown below. The 52.20 for the AL Wild Card Game puts it near the top of the chart – actually in the 93th percentile for exciting games since 2004. It is ranked 1,765th out of 26,727 games played (including playoffs).

AllGames 2005-14

Unsurprisingly, most of the very exciting games need extra innings to be decided. There are large swings in extra innings, as even 2-out baserunner will dramatically improve a team’s win probability. The average extra innings game has an EGI of 51.15, and the below distribution. In fact, only 9 games out of 2,334 extra innings games are lower in excitement than the average game (EGI 33.6). It is worth noting that there were 775 (3.2%) of 9 inning games that were more exciting than the AL Wild Card Game. If you knew that the 2014 Wild Card game was going to go into extra innings, you would have expected a game of roughly this caliber. It is right in the middle of the distribution, ranked 891st out of 2,115 extra inning games this decade.

ExtraInnings 2005-2014

The real drama, as many have pointed out, was not derived from the actual game, but from the win-or-go-home nature of the one-game playoff. There have been 16 one-game playoffs in history. As a result, the population isn’t big enough to do a fair comparison for this game. However, the playoffs provide a proxy, as the importance of each game is extremely high compared to a 162-game regular season. Since 1903, there have been 1406 playoff* games. When compared to all playoff games, the game ranks in the 93rd percentile. The average was 33.9, which is very close to the 33.6 historical average EGI.


*includes all playoff series, all one-game playoffs, and all Wild Card playoffs (since 2012)

Lastly, there are the Game 7s (or Game 5s in some series) where both teams have to win. The population is getting very small now, only 100 games, and the AL Wild Card game holds up against other high pressure situations, showing up as the 9th best do-or-die game in history.

There are two recent one-game playoff situations that show up higher than the 2014 Wild Card game. The 2007 one-game playoff between the Rockies and the Padres, which went 13 innings (EGI 58.66) and the 2009 one-game playoff between the Twins and the Tigers, which went 12 innings (EGI 72.81). The 2009 game is the highest ranked playoff game of all time. It is also the second highest ranked of any game in the last decade.

Given the stakes – both teams must win – and the level of play, it’s not hard to conclude that the 2014 AL Wild Card Game between the Royals and the Athletics was a game that should go down in history as one of the most exciting ever played, but the “Best Game Ever” title still belongs to the 2009 one-game playoff between the Twins and the Tigers.


Week 6 EGI: Cubs-Brewers Take Over

This week the Cubs and Brewers have taken over the leaderboard. The Cubs are also pulling themselves from the bottom of the league with two different exciting games. Here are the top 10 of the week.

Teams Date EGI
Cubs Brewers 11-May 66.86*
Diamondbacks Rockies 17-May 61.17
Cardinals Cubs 15-May 60.26
Giants Rockies 15-May 55.93
Braves Cardinals 11-May 55.89*
Orioles Royals 16-May 55.28*
Nationals Reds 13-May 54.32
Mets Marlins 13-May 53.61
Indians Mariners 17-May 52.62*
Giants Rockies 14-May 52.00

*denotes extra innings

Read more…

Correlating EGI: Is It Luck?

It’s important to understand where EGI comes from if we want to predict it for the future. With about 20% of the season past, it’s possible to draw some early conclusions about the underlying factors of EGI. Looking at an individual game, it’s easy to see if that game is going to be scored well: lead changes, late come backs, blown saves – all of these things will drive the score up. But what gets a team into these situations?

Certainly being in close games makes a big difference. Blowing out too many games, or being blown out won’t keep people interested late in the game. Take a look at the Angels, the least exciting team, and you’ll see a lot of blow out games (in both directions). In fact, only 15 of their 34 games have been within 3 runs. Compare this to the Nationals, who have 25 of 33 games within 3 runs, and 16 of 33 within 1 run.

Read more…

Week 5 EGI: Nationals Stay On Top

The Nationals stayed on top this week with another thriller. Their May 8th game had the notable distinction of beating out an Orioles at Red Sox 17-inning game.

Teams Date EGI
Nationals Pirates 8-May 62.94
Red Sox Orioles 6-May 62.17*
Marlins Astros 9-May 58.94*
Braves Rockies 4-May 53.52*
Rays Athletics 5-May 53.40*
Phillies Nationals 4-May 53.22*
Blue Jays Athletics 8-May 52.28
White Sox Tigers 4-May 51.97
Red Sox Orioles 4-May 51.47*
Marlins Padres 4-May 50.93*

*denotes extra innings

Read more…

Red Sox-Yankees: An Unexpected, Unexciting Game

What makes a game exciting? We all know it when we see it: lead changes, a big come back, extra innings, a lot of baserunners. However, the way in which all these things happen matter. On April 21st, there was a particularly interesting game, although it turned out to be less exciting than you’d expect at first glance.

The game was Yankees at Red Sox. It involved a huge comeback by the Yankees over a pivotal two innings. Down 9-0 in the 6th, and 9-1 in the 7th, the Yankees were completely out of the game. And then, over the course of 13 batters, they scored 10 runs to take the lead. Over the next 11 batters they piled on 5 more runs and put the game out of reach. Here’s a chart of their Win Expectancy:

Yankees Win Expectancy

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Week 4 EGI: Harper’s Debut Dazzles

Bryce Harper has landed in the big leagues in a very big way. In his first big league game, the Nationals and Dodgers played a 10 inning game that tops the leaderboard.

Teams Date EGI
Nationals Dodgers 28-Apr 64.40*
Nationals Diamondbacks 2-May 63.38
Phillies Braves 2-May 58.95*
Rays Mariners 30-Apr 56.51*
Cardinals Brewers 29-Apr 55.36
Royals Twins 27-Apr 55.08
Rockies Dodgers 2-May 51.95
Mets Rockies 29-Apr 51.87*
Blue Jays Rangers 1-May 51.19
Yankees Tigers 27-Apr 49.86

* denotes extra innings

Read more…

Week 3 EGI: White Sox, A’s Extra Inning Thriller

The White Sox and A’s played what may very well be the most exciting game of the year. Here’s the top 10 for the week.

Teams Date EGI
White Sox Athletics 25-Apr 62.00*
Mets Giants 20-Apr 61.16*
Red Sox Twins 23-Apr 57.14
Pirates Rockies 24-Apr 55.63
Orioles Angels 22-Apr 54.67*
Reds Giants 26-Apr 49.62
Cardinals Cubs 24-Apr 49.61*
Braves Dodgers 24-Apr 48.47
Rays Twins 20-Apr 47.69
Mets Marlins 26-Apr 47.68

* denotes extra innings

Read more…

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