Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday Pythagorean 8/11/2008

And the water-treading continues...

  • Can a player who hits a three-run HR in the first inning ever end up as the goat in a loss? Mike Lowell made an attempt at that yesterday, following his three-run HR with two errors that directly led to two Chicago runs, and hitting into a one-out bases loaded double play with his team down by one in the seventh.

  • The Red Sox have the best run differential in the AL and the best Pythagorean winning percentage. But they're three games under their projection while Tampa is 6 games ahead of theirs (and the Angels are 9 ahead.)

  • It used to be conventional wisdom that "good teams win the close games." Sabrmetricians have "discovered," though, that teams' records in one-run games is actually a poor measure of quality. The closer any given game is, the more "luck" plays a part, bad bounces, close ball/strike calls, balls that fall just inside or just outside the foul line. What actually seems to be the case is that one-run games are essentially random, and good teams show dominant winning percentages in games decided by more runs. Well, Tampa is 21-12 in one-run games, Boston is 15-19. In games decided by three runs or more, Boston is 41-24 (.631) while they are only 25-27 (.481) in games decided by less than three. In games decided by three runs or more, Tampa is only 33-29 (.532) while they are 37-17 (.685) in games decided by fewer than three.

  • Again, this week, the Red Sox lost by one, two and one, and won by six, six and four. Their timing for scoring and allowing runs has been...poor.

  • What I'm saying here is that Boston is the best team in the AL East. I thought so before the season started, I still think so. But they've underperformed enough, and Tampa's overperformed enough, that the Rays are probably now the favorite to win the division. Everything other than raw won-loss record says that Boston's the better team - despite that, the lead is now 4 1/2 games, and the Red Sox are facing injuries that make a spectacular sprint to the finish look less likely than it once did. I'm certainly not saying the race is over, and I would not be surprised - at all - if the Red Sox come back to win the division. But I'm now saying I'll be less surprised if Tampa wins it than I would have been at any time before this.

  • There's one more thing to consider (beyond the home-road thing that still favors the Red Sox). As the Rays have built this lead over the past month, they have played zero (0) games against teams in the top half of the league standings. The last time they played a team that currently has a better than .500 record (Toronto is currently at .500) was before the All Star break - just over a month ago, when they lost two to the Yankees. That stretch will eventually end, though not yet - they're moving from Seattle to Oakland.

  • The good Jacoby Ellsbury came back for the week. Drew didn't do much with the bat, but did walk 10 times, putting up an OBP of .500 for the week. Unfortunately, the three-four hitters, Ortiz and Lowell, combined to hit .167/.216/.250/.466. Jason Bay had some impact during his first few games in a Boston uniform, but for most of the week he was basically putting together the classic Shea Hillenbrand hitting streak - one meaningless single per game. The .321 batting average looks pretty, but the .321 OBP and .393 SLG reveal it to be quite superficial.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 8/11/2008



Tampa Bay4.61(10)4.05(3)0.559(2)655271466

Los Angeles4.73(8)4.2(5)0.554(3)655274439


New York4.82(7)4.47(7)0.534(5)635563550








Kansas City4.2(12)4.88(12)0.432(13)516754643


Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Los Angeles10260

Tampa Bay9864




Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Los Angeles9963

Tampa Bay9666




Standings for the week


Los Angeles6.67(1)4(3)0.718(1)42511


Tampa Bay6.43(2)4.43(6)0.664(3)52520









New York3.88(11)5.63(11)0.336(12)3525-1

Kansas City2.83(13)5.67(12)0.22(13)15241


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