Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday Pythagorean, 4/20/2009

Well, that's a little better. Things looked pretty bleak on Tuesday night (ok, Wednesday morning) but the bats have started to awaken, they've gotten a couple of well-pitched games, and the bullpen's been every bit as good as advertised. 4-2 is a good week. You win two out of three consistently, and you're playing post-season baseball. I remain convinced that this is a very good baseball team.

  • There was concern in some quarters about Jon Lester after his second consecutive "bad" outing on Monday night. From my point of view, however, it wasn't a bad outing - it was an unlucky outing. With two outs in a 1-1 games, he gave up a dinky pop-up to Orlando Cabrera which fell in no man's land between Pedroia and Drew. Instead of being out of the inning tied at 1, it was 2-1 Oakland. Then Giambi hit a ball that most left fielders catch, but Bay didn't quite get to. Instead of being out of the inning at 2-1 Oakland, it was 3-1. They'd go on to score 5, and the Sox offense never did much, and they lost, and looked bad doing it. But that was the only inning out of the six that Lester pitched in which the A's scored. Lester said afterwards that he didn't think he was pitching as badly as the line score would indicate, which prompted some snickering. I agreed with him. Sunday's 7 scoreless innings against Baltimore would seem to support that point of view. From my point of view, there's no pitcher on the staff that makes me more comfortable when he's pitching than Lester.

  • After failing to score more than five runs in any game while getting off to a 2-6 start, the bats came alive, scoring 8, 8 and 10 to kick off a four game winning streak. They're still getting little to nothing from the top of the order, however. On the week, Ellsbury, Pedroia and Ortiz hit .238/.271/.275/.546. Throw in Varitek and Green, and you've got five consecutive batters in the lineup hitting .225/.281/.279/.560. When you consider that they actually scored 5 1/2 runs per game on the week, you know that the Youk-Drew-Bay-Lowell stretch was firing on all cylinders.

  • Tough opening series for the new Yankee Stadium, as the Indians pounded New York pitching a couple of times. The big question at this point is Wang. It is not unusual for a good pitcher to have a bad start or two - it happens to everyone. Even three straight. But these haven't been bad starts that he's made. They've been disaster starts, starts that you fear you might get from a non-prospect in AA called up for an emergency. In three starts, he's thrown only 6 innings while allowing 23 earned runs. To put that in perspective, if he throws complete game shutouts in his next four starts (and I'll bet cash money that he doesn't), his ERA still won't be down to the 4.85 that is the current AL average.

  • Whether or not his shoulder strain is related to the World Baseball Classic, Daisuke Matsuzaka is going to miss a few weeks. There's no team in baseball better equipped to deal with his absence than the Boston Red Sox. Even with Smoltz not ready and Buccholz hurt, they've got Justin Masterson, who would almost certainly be one of the top three starters on half the teams in baseball.

  • Red Sox Player of the week: Kevin Youkilis (with honorable mention to J.D. Drew) - Each player went deep twice, reached base well over 40% of the time while slugging over .700.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the week: While Tim Wakefield is a strong contender with his outstanding performance in Oakland on Wednesday afternoon, the pick here is ... the Bullpen. As a group, the Red Sox bullpen allowed only 4 runs in 23 2/3 innings, compiling a 1.56 ERA and 1.06 WHIP while striking out more than a batter per inning with a 3.125:1 strikeout to walk ratio. On the downside, they took the loss in Oakland on Tuesday night. Offsetting that, of course, is that there may not be another game in the majors this year where a relief staff throws 11 innings while allowing only one run.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 4/20/2009





Kansas City4.17(12)3.17(1)0.623(4)75750






Tampa Bay4.77(8)5.23(9)0.458(10)6758-1

New York5.38(6)6.69(11)0.402(11)58762



Los Angeles4(13)5.17(8)0.385(14)5748-1

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)




Kansas City9567

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



Kansas City10062


Standings for the week


Kansas City6(4)3.17(1)0.763(1)5142-1










Tampa Bay4.71(11)6.29(10)0.371(11)3425-1


New York5(10)8.57(14)0.272(13)25432

Los Angeles3.67(14)6.33(11)0.269(14)2415-1

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