Monday, July 31, 2006

Monday Pythagorean - 7/31/2006, and trading thoughts

A lackluster week for the Olde Towne Team. They took the first two in Oakland, guaranteeing at least a .500 trip, then played a getaway game in which it seemed they were really eager to get away.

  • They had their best three starters go against LAnaheim at home over the weekend, and none of them were great. Schilling was bad, particularly in the 3rd last night, when he gave up 3 rockets out of the ballpark. Beckett and Lester were OK, but the bullpen struggled every time they were called, giving up a total of 8 earned runs in 11 2/3 innings, in addition to allowing both of Lester's inherited runners to score. Manny Delcarmen was bad. Craig Hansen gave up a bad HR to Curtis Pride. Mike Timlin gave up a run in his inning. Javier Lopez allowed an inherited runner to score. Jermaine Van Buren was awful. Tavarez only gave up 1 run in 3 1/3, but also allowed 3 inherited runners to score. Seanez was fine, but only mopping up. Papelbon was Papelbon, but only got into one game, because they were behind badly late in the other two. All in all, an ugly weekend for the pitching staff. I know that the Angels have been hot, but this was not an impressive weekend.

  • The Yankees have acquired Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle from the Phillies in exchange for the various colored beads left over from the Manhattan Island negotiations. This makes the Yankees better. Abreu replaces a hole in the lineup and, even though his HR swing has disappeared over the last year, he reaches base at a prodigious rate. I don't think much of Lidle, but he isn't replacing a real pitcher - he's replacing Chacon and Ponson. Upgrade. Given that the Red Sox and Yankees are tied in the loss column with [Boston - 59, New York - 60] games left, I think that the Yankees have to be objectively considered the favorites to win the East.

  • There were reports that Boston was in the Abreu discussions, though possibly only to jack up the price for the Yankees. One wonders whether the trade news today might read differently had Nixon hurt himself swinging Saturday afternoon instead of Sunday night...

  • For all the certainty that they Wild Card was coming from the central, the Red Sox and Yankees have the 2nd and 3rd best records in the AL this morning.

  • If you look at the American League right now (and look carefully at those rate lists), what you see is 4 teams in a race for 2 spots. The Tigers are going to win the Central. Someone's going to win the West. But Boston, New York, Chicago and Minnesota, all of whom are better than anyone in the AL West, or anyone (other than possibly the Mets) in the NL are in competition for two spots, the AL East and the AL wild card. Two of the best Six teams in baseball are going to miss the post-season this year, just because of the way they're bunched into two divisions in the same league.

  • There were many who thought, coming into the year, that Toronto was likely to finish ahead of Boston, New York, or both. I wasn't one of them. As of this morning, the Blue Jays are 7 behind both Boston and New York in the loss column. No way, absolutely no way, do the Blue Jays win the East. How can I say that so confidently? Toronto has played .543 baseball so far. If they significantly jack up their winning percentage and place .650 ball the rest of the way, they'll go 37-20 and win 94 games. Boston, which has played .602 ball so far, would have to finish 32-27 (.542) to win 94 games. New York (.598) would have to finish 33-27 (.550) to win 94 games. One or two of those things might happen - no way do all three. So Toronto's on the outside looking in, as far as the East goes.

  • The Blue Jays are also 5 and 6 in the loss column behind Minnesota and Chicago, respectively, in the Wild Card race, even if they do catch one of the east teams ahead of them. In other words, Toronto should rationally be a seller today, or at least looking to 2007 - they're not going to the play-offs in 2006. Their role in 2006 is almost certainly as a spoiler, and nothing else. Now, having done that, I check out the BaseballProspectus playoff odds, which indicates that, simulating the rest of the season 1,000,000 times, Toronto has about a 10% chance of making the play-offs. About right, I'd say - maybe a little high...

  • Big start for David Wells tonight. A successful return would be a help to a Red Sox pitching staff that's been scuffling for the past week.

  • The more I look at that Yankees/Phillies trade, the more I wonder whether Philadelphia GM Pat Gillick isn't harboring some sore of pathological grudge against Theo Epstein or Larry Lucchino. What are the Yankees two big needs? An offensive outfielder and a mediocre 5th starter. What is the Yankees weakness? Not much in terms of high-value minor league prospects. Solution? Get Philadelphia to give you the a) best available offensive outfielder and b) a mediocre Major League starting pitcher while receiving...nothing. I'd be willing to bet that Abreu and Lidle provide more Major League value over the next 60 games than the 4 minor leaguers which Philadelphia received back will in their entire baseball careers. The Yankees got exactly what they needed and gave up almost exactly nothing. This trade is, from a Red Sox point of view, an absolute killer. I said up above that the Yankees have to be considered the favorites to win the East. I mean big favorites. Possibly prohibitive favorites.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 7/31/2006




New York5.59(2)4.8(6)0.569(3)584461413





Los Angeles4.92(9)4.71(5)0.52(8)545054500





Tampa Bay4.44(14)5.42(12)0.41(13)436243620

Kansas City4.57(12)5.89(14)0.385(14)40643767-3

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)


New York9765



Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)


New York9567



Standings for the week


Los Angeles8.33(1)5(3)0.718(1)42420



New York6.17(3)5.67(7)0.539(4)33512







Kansas City5.33(9)6(9)0.446(11)33330

Tampa Bay6.17(3)7(14)0.442(12)3324-1



Technorati tags: Pythagorean, deadline, RedSox, Yankees, Abreu, MLB, BlueJays, Boston



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