Monday, July 23, 2007

Monday Pythagorean - 7/23

I said last week that 4-3 wouldn't be good enough. But that's what they did, and it wasn't. Losing three straight to the Royals and White Sox - at home - is a tremendous wasted opportunity. The Yankees gained 1 1/2 games. That can happen once in a while - if it happens consistently, the Red Sox will be looking up at them at the end of the year, and we'll have another epic blown season to talk about.

The lead is 7 1/2 this morning, and there is reason to think that it might get closer over the next few weeks. The Red Sox are on the road for 16 of the next 19, with 10 of those at the Indians, Angels and Mariners, the teams with the 3rd, 4th and 5th best records in baseball. Over that same stretch, the Yankees have got 7 with the Royals, 3 with the White Sox, 3 with the Orioles, 3 with the Blue Jays.

The Red Sox have got to find a way to keep the lead at 5 or more by the end of August 12...

  • Early in the year, they won all of the close games. Those things even out, as they've now demonstrated. On June 22, when they beat San Diego 2-1, that ran their record to 47-25, 22 games over .500. It also ran their record in one-run games to 13-6. Since then, they've played 10 one-run games, and lost 9 of them. Over the last four weeks, they're 5-10 in games decided by fewer than four runs, 2-10 in games decided by 1 or 2 runs. Over that same stretch, they're 6-2 in games decided by more than 3 runs. And that's how they've managed to go 11-13 while outscoring the opposition by 23 runs. Their Pythagorean says that they should have been 14-10 instead.

  • The good news is, of course, that things are extraordinarily unlikely to continue in that regard. They're still outscoring teams handily - if they continue to do that, they'll almost certainly have another stretch where they win the close games, and the record will improve again.

  • One of the things that continues to be a truism is that there's an exceptional amount of luck involved in the outcome of any single baseball game. Ugly swings fighting off good pitches can result in bloop doubles that just happen to fall in the right place. And a pitcher can make a bad pitch, and have it hammered, and caught. With the Red Sox down 3-2 in the 7th on Thursday night, Manny Ramirez crushed a ball to center field. 50 feet to the left, it's a double, and the game's at least tied. Two feet to the right, and it's into the bullpen for a 3-run homer. Manny starts that swing a couple of milliseconds later, the Red Sox have a 5-3 lead. But he didn't, and they end up losing.

  • Excepting balls and strikes, MLB umpires generally do a pretty good job. But they directly took two runs away from the Red Sox on Friday night, and one more on Saturday. And who knows how many indirectly, as both of those innings should have continued. I remain stunned that they got together, talked about it, and still missed Drew's HR. The ball bounced up, for crying out loud. It was clearly out, without even seeing the replay.

  • Jon Lester makes his return tonight. It's a great story, but I'd feel better about it if he'd been more dominant at Pawtucket. Tavarez has certainly struggled over his last few outings, though, so it's probably time.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 7/23/2007



New York5.65(2)4.56(7)0.597(2)58395146-7



Los Angeles4.89(6)4.42(4)0.546(5)534457404






Kansas City4.67(10)4.93(11)0.475(11)46514354-3



Tampa Bay4.78(9)6.31(14)0.375(14)376138601

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)



Los Angeles9567


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



Los Angeles9270

New York9072

Standings for the week


New York8.25(1)4.5(8)0.752(1)62620


Kansas City6.33(2)4.33(5)0.667(3)42420







Los Angeles3.67(9)4.83(10)0.376(10)24240


Tampa Bay5.86(4)8.14(14)0.354(12)25341



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