To stick with the Carl Crawford appreciation theme, I thought it would be fun to count down CC's Ten Greatest Hits according to WPA (Win Probability Added). These moments don't take into account the context of the season, but they are his ten biggest impact plate appearances over the course of his career with the Rays, counted down from 10 to 1. When possible, I linked to the DRB game recap. (Thanks to Doug09 for tracking down video links)
Dan Wheeler had just blown a 6-4 lead in the bottom of the 8th playing in New Yankee Stadium. The Yanks sent out future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera to start the 9th innning with a tie score. Jason Bartlett was sent back to the dugout by Mo, which brought Crawford to the plate. CC quickly fell behind 1-2, before fighting off three foul balls to stay alive. The count was worked full and on the ninth pitch the ball soared over the fence in right field. Evan Longoria followed suit in the only back-to-back home runs off Rivera ever in 1150 innings pitched as the Rays won 8-6.
The Rays were knotted up with the Royals at 2 a piece in Kansas City with two outs in the 8th inning facing lefty Horacio Ramirez. Aki Iwamura would single to start a two-out rally, followed by a BJ Upton double. On an 0-1 pitch Crawford lined one deep into the right field gap for a two-run go ahead triple. Carlos Pena added a home run in the 9th and the Rays went on to win 5-3.
Carl Crawford was given the day off with the Jays in town. With the Rays trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the 9th, Crawford would enter the game as a pinch runner for Jonny Gomes who had drawn a base on balls. Crawford stole second base, and scored to tie the game on a two-out base hit by Josh Wilson. Crawford's turn in the order would come around again to lead off the bottom of the 11th with the score still tied. He would launch a 3-2 pitch from Brian Wolfe to the opposite field for the walk-off home run as the Rays won 5-4.
7. May 11th, 2008; 3 Run Home Run Down 2 WPA .41 6(Video)
The Rays were down 5-4 in the bottom of the 6th versus the Angels with Aki Iwamura on 2nd base and Dioner Navarro on 3rd. Justin Speier was on the hill for the Angels with 2 outs and Crawford at the plate. Crawford uncorked a 2-1 pitch deep into the right field seats to put the Rays ahead 7-5. They would go on to win 8-5.
6. August 18, 2006; Come from Behind Walk-Off Single WPA .452 (Video)
The Rays trailed at home to the Indians 5-3 heading into the bottom of the 9th with Brian Sikorski on the mound for Cleveland. Travis Lee would lead off with a double, followed by a Dioner Navarro base hit. Following a Greg Norton strike out, Lee was singled home by Rocco Baldelli. The Indians then turned to Jason Davis who would walk Ben Zobrist to load the bases. Crawford quckly fell behind 0-2 before hitting a grounder through the right side that would score the tying and winning runs as the Rays walked off as 6-5 victors.
The Rays were in danger of falling opening night at home to the Orioles. They trailed 3-2 and the O's bright in their shiny new $6 million dollar closer Mike Gonzalez to close the game. Gonzalez quickly sent Pat Burrell down on strikes, before Sean Rodriguez hit a liner into left for a base hit. Kelly Shoppach then came on to pinch-hit for Dioner Navarro in what would be his first plate appearance for the club. Shoppach hit a towering fly ball that narrowly missed being a walk-off home run instead settling for a double. Jason Bartlett was then walked to set up a potential double play and bring a lefty to the plate to face their southpaw. On a 1-0 count, Crawford lined a double into rightfield scoring the tying and go-ahead run getting the Rays season off to a nice start.
4. August 19th, 2007, Game-tying Base-Hit in Extras WPA .460 (Video)
The Indians visited the Trop and had taken a 3-2 lead in the top of the 10th on a Victor Martinez sacrifice fly off Al Reyes. The Indians turned to their closer Joe Borowski, who would finish with 45 saves on the season. Borowski disposed of Jonny Gomes and Greg Norton on strikes, before walking Dioner Navarro. Akinori Iwamura followed up with a base hit advancing pinch-runner Josh Paul to 2nd base. Crawford came to the plate with the Rays down to their final out. On an 0-1 count, CC laced a game tying base hit to centerfield. In the bottom of the 12th Joel Guzman would single home Jonny Gomes to win the game for the Rays by a score of 4-3.
The Devil Rays were hosting the Yankees and trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the 7th. With two outs, and Dioner Navarro, BJ Upton, and Rocco Baldelli on the basepaths, Carl Crawford stepped into the box. They Yanks called to the bullpen to bring in lefty Mike Myers. Crawford took the southpaw deep to right on a 2-2 count to give the Rays a 6-3 lead. They would not look back taking a home a 6-4 victory over their future rival.
2. July 4th, 2003; 3 Run-Walkoff Homer WPA .792
On Independance Day, the Devil Rays were hosting the White Sox, trailing 3-1 heading into the bottom of the 9th inning. Billy Koch came out of the pen to begin the inning and struck out Jason Tyner. Javier Valentine followed up with a walk, and Al Martin advanced him to second on a base-hit to right-field. Crawford fouled off the first pitch before lauching a 3-run walkoff home run as the Devil Rays won 4-3.
1. March 31st, 2003: 3 Run-Walkoff Homer WPA .823
The Devil Rays were hosting the Red Sox and trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth. Ben Grieve led off the inning with a single against Alan Embree. The Sox went to the bullpen to bring in Chad Fox, whop promtly struck out Toby Hall. Brent Abernathy hit into a fielder's choice leaving the Rays down to their final out. Abernathy stole second, followed by a walk to Marlon Anderson. Trailing by two with two down, Carl Crawford walked to the plate representing the winning run. Crawford would quickly fall behind 0-2 fouling off the first four pitches. Pitch five was a ball, and pitch six left the ball park. The Devil Rays defeated the Sox 6-4 on a 2-out 3-run walk-off home run by Carl Crawford in yet another opening day walk-off hit.