Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 5/8/13
Mlb-braves-astros-mar
Win probability said the Reds had a 4.3 percent chance of winning when Devin Mesoraco stepped to the plate against Craig Kimbrel. There were two outs and nobody on base. Win probability obviously didn’t know Craig Kimbrel was pitching. According to Tom Tango’s run frequency calculator, given Kimbrel’s career .154/.240/.208 line against, a run is expected to score off Kimbrel 2.3 percent of the time with two outs and the bases empty. Actual win probablity, then, is more like 1.0 percent, considering Atlanta would be expected to win half the times Kimbrel gets out of the inning with a tie. Naturally, then, Mesoraco and Shin-Soo Choo hit back-to-back home runs, and the Reds left with likely the most improbable walk-off win of the season. Kimbrel was arguably the most unhittable pitcher in major league history last season. He demolished Eric Gagne‘s strikeout percentage record (50.2 percent to 44.8 percent, minimum 40 IP) and posted top-10 marks in contact rate and swinging strike rate. Kimbrel somehow still blew three saves (four meltdowns), but he recorded 42 saves (37 shutdowns) and his 0.78 FIP was half that of his nearest competitor. And when Kimbrel recorded two clean outs to open the frame, as he did against Cincinnati, he was actually unhittable. In 63 appearances last year, Kimbrel reached two outs and nobody on 38 times. In those 38 plate appearances, hitters managed a .000/.079/.000 line — three walks, one reached on error, 19 strikeouts and 15 other outs. Neither of the four baserunners came around to score. Until last night, Kimbrel’s streak had continued undisturbed through 2013. In eight of his 13 games, Kimbrel had reached two outs and nobody on, and in all eight he recorded the out — four strikeouts, a groundout, a lineout, a popout, and a flyout. Forget a comeback, and forget a home run, and forget even a run of any sort. The last time Kimbrel had given up a single with two outs and nobody on came September 19th, 2011, the last time he faced a two-out, nobody on situation that season. Emilio Bonifacio, then with the Florida Marlins, singled on a “Ground Ball to Weak 3B” according to Baseball-Reference. Kimbrel was bound to eventually slip up in this situation. In 2011, he gave up nine hits in 39 at-bats with two outs and nobody on, and there wasn’t any reason to believe his streak was predictive of his ability to turn a 1-2 start into a 1-2-3 inning. But from the streak to Kimbrel’s absurd career numbers to the unhittable heights he reached in 2012, the Reds were clearly up against one of the most difficult one-run deficits possible when Mesoraco stepped up last night. The last 46 attempts to break Craig Kimbrel with two outs and nobody on had failed miserably. Cincinnati’s accomplishment last night gave them what will almost certainly go down as 2013′s most unlikely one-run comeback victory.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: JPP 'severely injured' hand in fireworks mishap

Blatter: European politicians helped Qatar land World Cup

Report: Cavs considering trading for Joe Johnson

Andrew Quarless found hiding in plant after firing gun

Odell Beckham: I don't want to be known only for 'the catch'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Borland on retirement: Health 'more important' than money

Three NBA teams that improved most early in offseason

Adam Eaton gets 4th of July surprise from brother

Clippers in talks with JaVale McGee, Amar’e Stoudemire

Report: LeBron won't negotiate with Cavs until Thompson is signed

Andrei Kostitsyn interested in return to NHL

WATCH: Carli Lloyd scores three goals in 17 minutes

WATCH: Jake Marisnick makes fantastic running catch

WATCH: Carlos Gomez leaves gum, note for Billy Hamilton

Kansas to wear new USA jerseys after request from FIBA

What can the Saints expect from CJ Spiller in 2015?

Isaiah Thomas trolls Kings after Rajon Rondo signing

Kosta Koufos agrees to deal with Kings

Report: Blues in trade talks about Kevin Shattenirk

Report: Gregg Popovich plans to fulfill five-year contract

4-Star LB commits to Kentucky, zings Louisville

Clay Buchholz not worried about trade rumors

All hope isn't completely lost for this year's Milwaukee Brewers

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Carli Lloyd scores 3 goals in 17 mins

JPP injured in fireworks mishap?

Odell Beckham doesn't want to be known for 'the catch'

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.