Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday Pythagorean - 8/27

"They need to have another 5+ win week. They haven't done it in a while, and this is the week to do it."
- Me, last week.

Do it they did. In stunning fashion, assisted tremendously by the Chicago White Sox, who appear to be waiting for their tee times. The one loss of the week was by one run - the wins were, on the whole, by much bigger margins.

  • It's very rare, over the course of seven games, to see the Pythagorean say that a team should be undefeated. I don't remember ever actually seeing it before. That's how dominant the weekend in Chicago was - the Red Sox went 6-1 on the week and underperformed their Pythagorean winning percentage.

  • Apparently, the Red Sox streak of four straight games scoring in double-digits is the first such streak for the team since 1950. I suspect that this team won't follow up the way that one did, however. From June 2-June 5, 1950, the Red Sox scored 11, 11, 17 and 12. They lost their next game, scoring only four, and then did something almost unimaginable. They beat the St. Louis Browns 20-4 on the 7th and then beat them 29-4 on the 8th, setting the single game record that Texas broke this week. So over the course of 7 games, they scored 104 runs, almost 15 runs per game - for a week!

  • How bad was Chicago's pitching? Texas not only scored 30 runs in a game, setting a new AL record, they scored 9 in the second game of that double-header. And the Red Sox still outscored the Rangers on the week.

  • When I did this report 5 weeks ago, on July 23, the lead was 7 1/2 games over the Yankees. And I pointed out that "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." It did get closer, and the Yankee trolls went into a frenzy about the Red Sox "collapse," and how the Yankees were going to go sailing past them on their way to the division crown. But funny what's happened now that New York has started playing real competition again - their numbers aren't quite as prolific, the pitching that they're getting is not quite as good, and now they're 5-5 in their last 10, and the lead is ... 7 1/2. That's right - the Yankees have made up 0 games in the last 5 weeks. And that's with Eric Gagne turning 3 Red Sox wins into Red Sox losses.

  • There's still a perception that the Red Sox were great early and have been a .500 team since. Actually, they're nine games over .500 since the All Star break, the second best record in the AL. And they've got the best Pythagorean winning percentage in the league over that span. The Red Sox have underperformed by 3 and the Yankees have overperformed by 2, so New York's got a better actual record. If Gagne hadn't blown those three games, the Red Sox record would match their Pythagorean, and they'd have the best AL record since the All Star Break. This team isn't an illusion - it is legitimately the best team in baseball, and has been all year. The Detroit Tigers, who swept Boston just before the break, who many people were talking about being the best team in baseball, and evidence that Boston "can't beat the good teams," is 18-26 over that period, and should be 17-27 - the Red Sox are 27-17, and should be 30-14.

  • There's been a lot of (justified) concern about the offense. The last few days have skewed that a little bit, but they've outscored everyone in baseball other than the Yankees since the break. For the season, the Yankees, Tigers and Phillies are the only teams that have scored more runs than the Red Sox.

  • If the Yankees win their next 4, they'll go into the weekend exactly where they were a week ago, four games back. The Red Sox will be in first place next Monday no matter what happens this week.

  • The Red Sox magic number is 25. Any combination of Red Sox wins and Yankee losses totalling 25 results in the Red Sox clinching the AL East. (Or at least clinching a better record than the Yankees.)

  • The Red Sox have reached the point were they don't need to play .500 to win 95 games - 15-16 the rest of the way does it.

  • The Baseball Prospectus play-off odds report has the Red Sox at 97.5% winning the east and 99.8% making the play-offs.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 8/27/2007



New York5.96(1)4.75(7)0.602(2)78527258-6

Los Angeles5.06(4)4.48(5)0.555(3)725876544









Kansas City4.53(11)4.84(9)0.47(12)61685772-4


Tampa Bay4.62(8)5.95(14)0.386(14)508051791

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)

Los Angeles9567


New York9072


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

Los Angeles9468

New York9171



Standings for the week







Tampa Bay6.14(5)5.14(8)0.581(6)43430

Los Angeles5.57(6)5.43(10)0.512(7)43430

New York6.67(3)7.17(12)0.467(8)3324-1




Kansas City3.5(12)5(6)0.342(12)24240



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