I should probably consider that my last post, blasting J.A. Adande and anyone else who says Joel Skinner single-handedly cost the Indians the AL Pennant, is in a way not true to the blog's name. After all, when evaluating Skinner's decision and what it really cost the Tribe, what happened afterward should not be considered. Since Lofton scores basically 100% of the time he is sent, Skinner's stop sign cost the Indians about 10% in win expectancy, from 50% to 40%. That's an unforgivable sin in a Game 7, probably far worse than Grady Little's choice to leave Pedro in. It's hard for any coach to hurt his team more than that with one decision.
Still, while Skinner did his job terribly in a clutch spot, there's simply nothing behind the argument that this play "changed the whole rest of the game," as so many column inches opined on Monday. Not even a butterfly flapping its wings in Australia could have stopped the Boston offense in the late innings Sunday. Joel Skinner cost the Indians 10% of a trip to the World Series at the time, and 0% in hindsight. No more, no less.