If there is one thing that Sabremetrics and Beane-ball have illustrated beyond a shadow of a doubt, it's the value (or cost on the flip side) of an out. Outs are the ultimate scarce resource in baseball.
The 3rd base umpire in last night's Cardinals - Astros game cost the Astros two outs, in part because he was too lazy to get in position to view the plays. Lankford trapped Biggio's sinking liner to left, but the ump called him out. Far worse, Everett was clearly safe at third on Bagwell's single to center. The ump blew the call in part because he was on the outfield side of third base and couldn't see the tag. The difference between men on first and third with 1 out and a man on first with two, is large: 1.3 runs in expected value by my calculations. The 'Stros lost 2-1 in 12 innings on a dribbler, stolen base + throwing error (Ausmus is now 0 for 12), and a squeeze play. What a way to lose a game.