Monday, July 07, 2008

Monday Pythagorean 7/7/2008

From the OED:
disaster, n. - Anything that befalls of ruinous or distressing nature; a sudden or great misfortune, mishap, or misadventure; a calamity.

I think that this week qualified...

  • Sometimes a 2-5 week can be acceptable, not a big deal, but it is never a good thing. And when it comes against division rivals, and causes you to lose five games in the standings over that week, it's a very bad thing.

  • I was hearing the kind of panic on Thursday that is laughable when a good team is 3 1/2 games down at the beginning of July. Really, one bad trip to Tampa and the organization needs to be razed and rebuilt? It sounded like it from some of the reactions I heard. I don't think so. And I'd take strong exception to the analyses which said that Boston was "outclassed" in Tampa. Please. It was a three-game sweep by a total of four runs, and brought the head-to-head series to 6-6 for the season.

  • There are, of course, some ways of losing which are more frustrating than others. When the bullpen keeps melting down, well, that's particularly frustrating. The Wednesday game in Tampa was about as painful as it gets, as Manny Delcarmen and Craig Hansen combined to retire 0 of the 6 batters they faced in the process of turning a 4-1 lead into a 7-4 deficit. But it wasn't the only example. Javier Lopez, the only relief pitcher who didn't look lost against the Rays gave up the lead to the Yankees last night, and Papelbon lost the game. The bullpen gave up the winning run in three of the five games played on the week, and that's just ugly.

  • For the week, the starting pitchers allowed 15 runs (14 earned) in 45 1/3 innings, an ERA of 2.78. The bullpen allowed 11 runs (all earned) in just 14 1/3 innings, an ERA of 6.91.

  • And Saturday's game was a frustration, too, loading the bases with no outs in the ninth and failing to get the tying run in from third. Strike out, pop up, strike out. Just as ugly as it could be. (Well, after the first strike out, I predicted that Varitek would ground into a double-play. That would have been just as ugly, I suppose. At least this way, they had three chances to fail to score the tying run as opposed to just two.)

  • The week was actually almost the definition of frustration. They went 2-5 while outscoring the opposition. They outscored the Yankees by 9 runs in their two wins, while being outscored by 6 runs total in the five losses. Pythagorus says that they should have been 4-3 on the week. Those things happen, but they are not pleasant.

  • All that said, everyone who's ready to concede the division is over-reacting. Significantly. When the Red Sox take the field tonight, they will have played 50 road games vs. only 41 home games. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, will have played 50 at home vs. only 38 on the road. There's a big home/road schedule advantage the rest of the way for the Red Sox, as there has been thus far for the Rays. Also, it's important to consider that the Rays have built this lead on the strength of the kind of stretch (16-4 since the start of inter-league play) that is unlikely to continue, and they've done that while the Sox have struggled. That five game lead may be smaller, or even much smaller, when the All Star Break gets here next week (though it won't shrink today, as Tampa gets one more against the Royals).

  • And speaking of the All Star game, I'd say that the Red Sox are significantly overrepresented. I've got no problem with Youkilis starting. I think Drew is worthy as a reserve. Pedroia's a mistake, not because of his performance, but because Ian Kinsler's been so much better - I wouldn't object to Dustin as a reserve. Manny gets enough "been a superstar for a long time even if he hasn't been great this year" points so that he's not an awful selection, but Varitek's presence on the roster is an embarassment. And the one pitcher named Jon from the Boston staff who should be there is Lester, not Papelbon.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 7/7/2008



Tampa Bay4.83(4)3.93(4)0.593(2)523555323




Los Angeles4.24(11)3.99(5)0.528(6)464253357

New York4.69(7)4.43(7)0.526(7)474247420







Kansas City4.07(13)4.82(13)0.423(14)385139501

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Tampa Bay10260

Los Angeles9864




Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Tampa Bay9963



Los Angeles9270


Standings for the week


Tampa Bay6.33(3)2.5(1)0.846(1)51601


Los Angeles5.5(4)3.83(6)0.659(3)42420




New York4.57(6)4.29(9)0.529(7)4334-1







Kansas City3.86(10)6.71(12)0.266(14)25250

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