Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday Pythagorean, 4/27/2009

Well that's a dandy week. And a nice homestand. If you'd told me before the season started that the Sox would be 12-6 after three weeks, I'd have thought it pretty likely - they're a very good team. If you'd told me that they'd be 12-6 after starting 2-6, I'd have thought it pretty unlikely. 10-game winning streaks don't come along every day, or even every year.

But that's what can happen when a very good team has a very good stretch. They can win games in which they're down 6-0 and 7-0, and games in which they only score 2 or 4. All of which they've done during the current winning streak. For the week, they scored 9 runs per game while allowing only 3 1/2.

  • Organizational depth was, once again, on display. After the bullpen, which has been a strength, was ground down by the Yankees over two games, they went to the minors for an additional arm. Hunter Jones and Michael Bowden combined to give them 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. The bullpen, which was run ragged during the first two games of the Yankee series, has all hands on deck again.

  • Speaking of depth, they lost their number three starter to injury, and have seen no decrease in performance either in the rotation, or in the bullpen. And they've not yet called up Daniel Bard or Clay Buccholz or John Smoltz, and Michael Bowden's only been up to pitch two innings in one game. They're deep. They've got more pitching depth than any other team. We knew this, of course, before the season started, but there's a difference between knowing and seeing, and now we're seeing.

  • How good has the bullpen been? Ramon Ramirez, Takashi Saito, Jonathan Papelbon, Hunter Jones, Michael Bowden, Manny Delcarmen and Javier Lopez combined to throw 17 1/3 innings over 16 appearances. They allowed 18 baserunners and 2 runs total, 0 earned.

  • I've said, several times, that I think Justin Masterson would be one of the best two or three starters on half the teams in Major League Baseball. I'll say it again now. In two starts this week, all he did was throw 10 2/3 innings and give up two runs. In 11 Major League starts, he's 6-3 with a 3.34 ERA. Since the start of the 2008 season, there are 26 pitchers, fewer than 1 per team, that have started 11+ games with an ERA better than 3.34. (Two of them are Masterson and Chamberlain, who have compiled lower ERAs by working primarily out of the bullpen.)

  • A big part of the reason for the prolific run-scoring was the awakening at the top of the lineup. Ellsbury and Pedroia combined to hit .408/.474/.571/1.045 for the week. When your table setters are on-base 47% of the time, there's a lot of opportunity for the guys in the middle of the lineup to do damage. And Youkilis, Drew, Bay and Lowell continue to be productive.

  • Ortiz still hasn't gone deep, but has shown signs of productivity anyway, hitting .320/.321/.600/.921 for the week.

  • I do not know if there has ever been a double-header in which both games were completed early due to weather, but when they called the first game on Wednesday after 7 innings, I thought it possible.

  • The Blue Jays are off to a terrific start. I remain unconcerned. They aren't that good - they've put together their best three-week stretch of the year at the beginning. They won't lead the league in runs scored when it's all said and done, and their pitching won't be as good as it's been, either. They've played well AND matched up against weaker competition at times when that competition's been struggling. Good for them, but they aren't as good as Boston or New York or Tampa, and won't be in first place in another month.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week: Youkilis continues to be the best hitter, but the big hit this week came off the bat of Jason Bay, who had an outstanding week, too. As exciting as Youkilis' walk-off was, we're not looking at a 10-game winning streak and a three-game lead over the Yankees without Bay beating Rivera.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week: Not quite a no-brainer, but close. In his first two starts of the season, after pitching in relief for the first two weeks, Justin Masterson goes 10 2/3 innings and allows two runs, as the Red Sox win the first and last games of the week.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 4/27/2009





Kansas City3.89(14)3.56(1)0.541(4)10899-1





Tampa Bay4.42(10)4.74(8)0.468(9)910712-2

Los Angeles5.06(8)5.5(10)0.462(10)810711-1



New York5.56(5)6.78(14)0.41(13)711992


Top 5 projections (using current winning %)




Kansas City8181

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




Kansas City8775

Standings for the week




Los Angeles7.17(2)6.17(12)0.568(3)33330

Tampa Bay3.67(11)3.67(2)0.5(4)3324-1





New York6(4)7(14)0.43(9)23230



Kansas City3.33(13)4.33(4)0.382(12)24240



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