Top Ten Plate Appearances by WPA

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

2012 did not work out as well as we all had hoped it would but there were some memorable moments when all types of players came through in big moments.

July 20th - Ben Zobrist - WPA 0.37: Zobrist stepped to the plate in the 14th inning to face Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen after Carlos Pena hit a surprising single off the dominating reliever. Zobrist took the first fastball for ball one and then did this with the next pitch, which was a 96 mph fastball:

May 23rd - B.J. Upton - WPA 0.37: Upton came to the plate in the 11th inning with Rich Thompson on first base after being hit by a two-strike slider and Carlos Pena struck out. Upton worked the count to 2-0, fouled off a fastball, swung through another fastball, and saw a fifth fastball at 2-2 and did not miss it:

April 30th - B.J. Upton - WPA 0.41: In a game that was more remembered for Evan Longoria being injured, Upton helped the Rays rally from an 11th inning deficit. In the top of the 11th, Jesus Montero hit a monster home run off Wade Davis giving the Mariners a 2-1 lead. Brandon League came on to close the game and gave up a lead-off double to Luke Scott who was lifted for pinch-runner Jeff Keppinger (huh??!!). Matt Joyce hit a fly ball to deep center that allowed Keppinger to move to third with just one out. Chris Gimenez failed to drive Keppinger in bringing Upton to the plate. Upton took League's first sinker for a ball and delivered the game-tying hit on the very next pitch:

June 27th - Ben Zobrist - WPA 0.41: The Rays trailed the Royals 4-2 in the top of the 8th inning. Carlos Pena led off the inning reaching base on an error and Jeff Keppinger followed with a walk. Brooks Conrad failed to move the runners over after striking out forcing Zobrist to clean up the mess. He worked the count 2-0, took a strike from the diminutive Tim Collins, and promptly tripled to tie the game at 4:

May 9th - Matt Joyce - WPA 0.46: The Rays entered the 9th inning down 1-0 with David Robertson in to close the game. Sean Rodriguez led off with a single, and Brandon Allen did the same one hitter later. Ben Zobrist then walked setting up bases loaded and no outs, a situation Houdini Robertson has often worked his way out of. He struck out Carlos Pena for the first out and B.J. Upton followed with a sac fly to tie the game up. Joyce came to the plate and quickly fell behind 0-2 before taking a ball, fouling off a fourth straight curveball, and then finally saw a fastball from Robertson and was so anxious to hit it, he rolled his ankle hitting it:

July 8th - Carlos Pena - WPA 0.51: The Rays entered the 9th inning down two runs and facing a rather red hot Chris Perez. After Perez struck out Jose Lobaton, Will Rhymes stunned everyone by hitting a home run. Elliot Johnson followed with a single and Carlos Pena came to the plate. After taking a slider in the dirt for ball one, he took both a fastball and a slider for strikes, fouled off another fastball, and then did this with a slider:

June 24th - Carlos Pena - WPA 0.52: The day after Jim Thome hit a walk-off home run off Jake McGee, the Rays played a double-header against the Phillies to make up the rained out game from the previous Friday. The Rays trailed 1-0 in the 8th inning after Cole Hamels had shut them down for 7 innings. Antonio Bastardo was brought in for the 8th inning and promptly walked Elliot Johnson, induced a weak flyball by Brooks Conrad, and then walked B.J. Upton. Pena stepped up to the plate against the hard-throwing lefty and wasted little time jumping on the first pitch:

September 20th - Desmond Jennings - WPA 0.52: The Rays entered the 9th inning down 4-1 against the Red Sox in one of the many must-win games down the final stretch. Andrew Bailey came in for relief, if that is what you can call it. Matt Joyce led off with a single and Jeff Keppinger did the same. Luke Scott moved the runners over on a groundout. Carlos Pena singled to drive in Joyce, and Stephen Vogt walked to load the bases for Jennings. Jennings pounced on the first pitch which drove in two runs to help set up B.J. Upton hitting a walk-off home run to cap off my 40th birthday:

April 6th - Ben Zobrist - WPA 0.61: This was opening day and it is more remembered for the Carlos Pena homecoming as he hit a grand slam and the eventual game-winning hit, but without Zobrist, Pena may never have gotten that final chance. Jennings led off the inning with a single and Zobrist jumped on a first-pitch cutter to triple off Mariano Rivera to tie the ballgame:

May 27th - Sean Rodriguez - WPA 0.64: The Rays entered the 9th inning down 3-2 at Fenway. Ben Zobrist got on base, but Luke Scott popped up bringing Rodriguez to the plate. Roddy's struggles against righties are well-documented, but the ball he put in play in the fifth pitch of this plate appearance may never land:

April 26th - Brandon Allen - WPA 0.8: Brandon Allen was not long for the Rays' roster and was not very outspoken. But when he spoke, he let his bat do the talking as he did with this walk-off two-run home run off Jordan Walden:

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