Statcast: The Improbable Comeback Was Nearly Impossible

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Updated: April 10, 2017

It’s been nearly 24 hours since yesterday’s magical 10-9 Halo victory and no, it wasn’t just a fever dream. The Angels did score seven runs in the ninth to win the game. Albert Pujols did hit home run #592 and have three RBIs in the same inning. Cliff Pennington did have the last laugh. It was all crazy. What’s even crazier was how improbable the victory actually was.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Halos had just a 0.6% chance to win the game at the start of the inning. For context, those are the same odds the Denver Nuggets have of winning the number one overall pick in the NBA Draft lottery.  Those odds are also less favorable than the Athletics odds to win the World Series at 100-1 or 1%. In case I haven’t gotten it across, the win was damn near impossible. Lady luck was on our side and the Statcast numbers prove it:

The ninth started off with Albert Pujols hitting his 592nd home run of his career and it was far from a sure thing. According to MLB.com and Statcast, Pujols’s homer travelled 403 feet from home, but had 23 feet of help from wind. If there had been no wind at Angel Stadium, the ball would have been caught just before the track.

Six batters, a pitching change and two outs later, Yunel Escobar got the team started again with a two-RBI double down the right field line. Again, the Statcast numbers show the odds were never in our favor. Escobar hit the ball with a launch angle of -22 degrees, nearly straight into the ground. The hit probability on his double: 12%. Pujols’s second hit of the inning wasn’t a walk in the park either. After walking Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout, Albert hit a ball to the RIGHT SIDE of the infield! The probability on his hit was 37%. Combine both Esky’s double and Pujols’s single and you have a hit probability of just 49%.

Then, of course, the guy who hit just .209 last season in Cliff Pennington capped off the inning with probably the hit of his entire Angels’ career. Hats off to you Cliff. The most improbable comeback was capped by hit by the most improbable player.

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