Turns out it is really fun when your team wins the World Series. To help us keep basking in the afterglow (not that I’m worried about it wearing off anytime soon), here is a look at the most impactful moments of the Royals 2015 postseason through the lens of championship probability added (CPA). I’m piggybacking on some great work from Sky Andrecheck and Dave Studeman (and this recent post by Rany Jazayerli). The idea of CPA is to take the in-game win probability added (WPA) of every play and multiply it by the game’s impact on the team’s chances of winning the championship. I used Studeman’s chart (see link above) of the various championship leverages of every potential playoff game (ranging from a .094 championship leverage in the first two games of the division series to a full 1.0 for a World Series Game Seven). So if a play has a 10% WPA in-game during ALDS game one, it is worth .94% championship probability added (10% x .094), but if that same 10% WPA happens in a World Series Game Seven, it is worth the full 10% CPA since the champ is definitely being decided in that game.

With a shout out to the Baseball Reference play index, first up are the five plays that most hurt the Royals chances for a championship this postseason:

5. ALDS game five, tied 0-0
top of the 2nd, two outs, runner on first
Luis Valbuena facing Johnny Cueto


championship probability added: -5%

The only blemish on what became one of the great playoffs starts in Royals history.

4. World Series Game One, tied 4-4
bottom of the 12th, two outs, bases loaded
Jarrod Dyson facing Bartolo Colon


championship probability added: -5%

A missed opportunity, but the tie game remained up for grabs.

3. World Series Game Three, ahead 3-2
bottom of the 3rd, no outs, runner on first
Curtis Granderson facing Yordano Ventura


championship probability added: -5%

No silver lining or comeback after this play. But the game proved to be just a minor speed bump on the way to the title.

2. ALCS game six, ahead 3-1
top of the 8th, one out, runner on first
Jose Bautista facing Ryan Madson


championship probability added: -8%

This one felt bad. But of course the Royals just came right back to take the lead for good in the bottom of the same inning (on a play we’ll see in the next list).

1. World Series Game One, tied 3-3
top of the 8th, two outs, runner on second
Wilmer Flores facing Kelvin Herrera


championship probability added: -8%

This one also felt bad, until Alex Gordon washed it away with the biggest play of the postseason in the bottom of the 9th. (Spoiler alert?)

Some decent gut punches at the time of the above plays, but, amazingly, the Royals won four of the games that those five plays took place in. No team has been able to get back up and keep fighting after taking would-be knock out blows like the 2015 Royals.

On to the good stuff. The 10 plays that had the biggest positive impact on the Royals chances of winning the championship:

10. World Series Game One, down 2-3
bottom of the sixth, two outs, runner on second
Mike Moustakas facing Matt Harvey

championship probability added: 5%

Re-tied the score in one of many roller-coaster Game One moments.

9. World Series Game One, down 3-4
bottom of the eighth, no outs, nobody on
Ben Zobrist facing Tyler Clippard

championship probability added: 5%

Unlike the other plays on this list, this one didn’t ultimately mean much. Zobrist ripped a lead-off double as the would-be tying run, which is why it effected the CPA so much. But he ended the inning still on second, rendering it just a missed opportunity.

8. ALCS game six, tied 3-3
bottom of the eighth, tied 3-3
Eric Hosmer facing Roberto Osuna

championship probability added: 6%

How to respond to Bautista’s game-tying blast in the top of the inning? How about a lead-off walk from LoCain followed by a nice piece of hitting by Hosmer, and some tenacious baserunning by Cain meeting the prep work of third base coach Mike Jirschele combining for the winning run of the ALCS. All of it adds up to what will be one of the most enduring moments of 2015.

7. ALCS game six, ahead 4-3
top of the ninth, one out, runners on second and third
Ben Revere facing Wade Davis

championship probability added: 6%

After Cain’s mad dash, Wade Davis let the Blue Jays think they were getting back in the game by putting runners on the corners with no outs. The Blue Jays actually had the better win expectancy at that point (55%), but that doesn’t take into account who was on the Royals mound. Davis struck out the next batter, Dioner Navarro, which swung the win expectancy back in KC’s favor just barely. That set-up the above strikeout which took KC’s chances in the game all the way to 80%. Peak Wade Davis Experience.

6. World Series Game Four, tied 3-3
top of the 8th, one out, runners on first and third
Mike Moustakas facing Jeurys Familia

championship probability added: 7%

The dagger.

5. World Series Game Four, ahead 5-3
bottom of the 9th, one out, runners on first and second
Lucas Duda facing Wade Davis
1:30 mark of video

championship probability added: 7%

Wade Davis was making it interesting again until this happened.

4. World Series Game Two, tied 1-1
bottom of the 5th, two outs, runners on second and third
Eric Hosmer facing Jacob deGrom

championship probability added: 7%

Taking the lead for good in Game Two.

3. World Series Game One, tied 4-4
bottom of the 14th, no outs, runner on first
Ben Zobrist facing Bartolo Colon

championship probability added: 7%

Ben Zobrist had a monster Game One, with no bigger moment than moving the winning run over to third.

2. World Series Game Four, down 2-3
top of the 8th, one out, runners on first and second
Eric Hosmer facing Jeurys Familia

championship probability added: 12%

1. World Series Game One, down 3-4
bottom of the 9th, one out, nobody on
Alex Gordon facing Jeurys Familia

championship probability added: 15%

Thinking back on my favorite moments as a Royals fan, this ranks right up there with the 2014 wild card game and closing out the 2015 World Series. It has been such a thrill to watch Alex work, and work, and work his way from the disappointment of his first few years to be the all-around beast he’s been for the last five seasons. That work ethic, plus his dedication to every aspect of the game, style of defense, offensive approach, and impeccable decision-making on the field turned him into my favorite baseball player. I hope like hell he comes back, but if he doesn’t, this home run and championship are a perfect denouement to his superlative Royals career.