Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday Pythagorean, 6/29/2009

Another 4-2 week, as the roll continues. Sort of.

  • 2-of-3 from Washington, even on the road, is a disappointment. 2-of-3 from the Braves on the road probably shouldn't be, but given that they won the first two, was anyway. It feels different to lose the first and win the next two than to have a chance as the sweep and fail to get it. Which they did this week. Twice.

  • With the AL East playing the NL East, 4-2 wasn't good enough to maintain their lead, as they lost a game in the standings to both the Yankees and Rays. Each of those teams lost their first game, and finished the week with a five game winning streak.

  • We all knew that the AL East was loaded. Well, Pythagoras thinks that the four best teams in the AL are all in the East, and I don't necessarily disagree. The Blue Jays may well finish the season as one of the four best teams in the league while at the same time finishing fourth in their division.

  • The way that the Mets lay down for the Yankees this year was pathetic. Yes, they did win one of the six games, but they had the first one won also and lost it on a dropped pop-up. After taking the second game, they lost the next four by a combined score of 33-3. I hate the Mets, of course, and have no objections to them humiliating themselves, but would rather have had the Yankees lose at least one more of those games.

  • Speaking of ugly losses, Atlanta avoided one yesterday. Bobby Cox's head may have exploded if Ellsbury had gone deep in the ninth yesterday. The game should have ended on Ortiz' ground ball to second, but Braves' second baseman Kelly Johnson inexplicably ran at Youkilis instead of just tossing the ball to second to start the double play. When Youkilis stopped, he had to throw to first to get Ortiz, then Youkilis avoided the rundown and the game continued. Varitek drove in Youkilis with a single, and Ellsbury could have put the Sox ahead with a home run. I'm guessing that Cox "spoke" to Johnson after the game...

  • The Red Sox pitching for the week was, with one (Smoltz) exception, excellent. The offense, on the other hand...wasn't.

  • As to the Smoltz start, let me just say this about that: I saw a lot to be encouraged about. Yes, the first inning was a disaster. It was his first Major League inning in a year, and he clearly struggled - badly - with his command. Once that was out of the way, however, he looked pretty good to dominant over the next four innings. If the latter was more representative of what we can expect to see than the former, then it was a great signing.

  • I wrote about this yesterday, but let me mention it here again - as good as story as it might be, there is no legitimate case to be made for Tim Wakefield as an All Star.

  • You can all look forward to the June audit on Wednesday, as the month finishes Tuesday, and there are some players who have struggled - badly - this month. Struggled the way that Ortiz struggled in April and May. For today, let's just say that the offensive performance this week, as a team, was unimpressive. At best. Yes, they scored a bunch of runs against the Washington bullpen on Tuesday. After that, however, it was 6-3-4-1-1, for an average of 3 runs per game. That's weak. That they went 3-2 in those five is a tribute to the pitching.

  • How good was the pitching? In three games in Atlanta, the starters went 19 innings, and allowed a total of 2 runs. The bullpen allowed 1 run, a solo HR which Papelbon gave up with a four-run lead. This pitching excellence is, of course, the source of the aforementioned disappointment with only taking 2 of 3 against the Braves. The Red Sox went in to Atlanta, allowed only 3 runs in 3 games, and still couldn't manage the sweep.

  • I know that a lot of people have developed significant man-crushes on Nick Green, and God knows, he has given them far, far more than they had any right to expect when the season began. (Everyone get that? This is not a Green-bash - he's given them more or less consistent, nearly average defense at SS with some offensive production. He's not been a gaping hole, and he's done more than they could possibly have expected.) That said, all of the objective evidence continues to suggest that he's a below average defensive shortstop, and that he cannot maintain his offensive performance. His Major League OPS right now is exactly what his career Minor League OPS is. Some would suggest that that means he's playing to his level - I'd suggest that it means he's over his head. His career Major League OPS+ is 76, and that includes the 92 he's put up in Boston. It was 72 coming into this season. Rather than rooting for him to keep the job, Sox fans should be hoping that Jed Lowrie returns before Green completely turns in to a pumpkin.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week: Not a lot of great performances. Mark Kotsay had some production in few at-bats, Varitek had a decent week, Youkilis took some walks to put together a decent OBP. The prize goes, again, to Mr. Papi, David Ortiz, who hit .333/.389/.733/1.122 with 2 HR on the week. He's got two games left to finish off what has been an outstanding month of June.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week: Beckett was awesome again, with 7 scoreless innings on Friday. Wakefield threw 6 scoreless on Saturday. The bullpen was excellent. But the award goes to Brad Penny, who threw 2 good starts, allowing five runs in 11 2/3 innings over two starts. They won one and lost one, but he pitched well enough for them to have won both.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 6/29/2009


Tampa Bay5.64(1)4.51(5)0.601(1)46314235-4


New York5.53(2)4.8(10)0.565(3)423343321





Los Angeles5.08(5)4.84(12)0.523(8)383541323






Kansas City4.05(13)4.82(11)0.421(14)314332421

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)

New York9369


Los Angeles9171

Tampa Bay8874

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

Tampa Bay9369

New York9270



Standings for the week


New York6.17(2)3(1)0.789(1)51510

Tampa Bay5.5(4)3.67(4)0.677(2)42511


Los Angeles7(1)4.83(9)0.663(4)42511








Kansas City3(14)3.67(4)0.409(12)24331



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