What Were Cubs’ Five Biggest Plays in NLDS?

In one of the most insane baseball series we might ever see, it’s hard to pick the biggest moments. We can, however, use Win Probability Added (WPA) to narrow down which plays actually mattered the most.

WPA calculates the percentage change in win expectancy on a play-to-play basis. For example, if the win expectancy at a given moment is 50 percent and Addison Russell’s clutch hit improves the Cubs’ chances to 60 percent, the WPA of the hit would be 0.1 (i.e., 10 percent increase in WE).

Here are the Cubs’ top five highest WPA plays of the NLDS:

5) 11.8 percent WPA

Game 1, 2nd inning, Cubs up 1-0. Anthony Rizzo singled to right. Kris Bryant scored, Cubs increase lead to 2-0.

4) 16.7 percent WPA

Game 1, 2nd inning, Cubs tied 0-0. Kris Bryant singled to right. Javier Baez scored, Bryant advanced to 2B.

3) 23.4 percent WPA

Game 5, 8th inning, Cubs up 9-7. Adam Lind grounded into a double play to second. Anthony Rendon out at second, Daniel Murphy advanced to 3B.

2) 25.9 percent WPA

Game 3, 8th inning, Cubs tied 1-1. Anthony Rizzo singled to center. Leonys Martin scored, Anthony Rizzo out. Cubs go ahead 2-1. RESPECT ME!

1) 27.1 percent WPA

Game 5, 5th inning, Cubs losing 3-4. Addison Russell doubled to left. Willson Contreras scored, Ben Zobrist scored. Cubs go ahead 5-4.

Addison Russell’s go-ahead double in Game 5 to give the Cubs a 5-4 lead ended up being the most important hit all series, even more vital than Rizzo’s game-winning bloop in game 3. Vroom, vroom.

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