Monday, June 08, 2009

Monday Pythagorean, 6/8/2009

The Red Sox finish the first of their two weeks playing only first place teams1 with a 4-2 mark. Objectively, that's pretty good, but because they started 3-0 and come into this week having lost 2-of-3, it's actually disappointing.

  • For the first month, the starting pitching struggled, but the offense and bullpen kept the team successful. The offense has struggled mightily for the past couple of weeks, but the starting pitching, at least the front of the rotation (i.e., Beckett and Lester) has started to perform as expected, so the team is still winning.

  • Through April, Beckett and Lester combined to make ten starts. In those ten starts, they compiled a 6.29 ERA in about 5.9 innings per start. Since then, they've made 13 starts with a 3.45 ERA while going almost a full inning per start longer.

  • The defense continues to be a problem. I said earlier in the year that I thought Lester was pitching better than his numbers indicated. I still think so. According to Baseball Prospectus' numbers, the Red Sox are 27th out of the 30 MLB teams in defensive efficiency. And Lester has had less effective defense behind him than most of the Red Sox pitchers2. The Sox have made a lot of errors, led by Nick Green with 9, but that isn't the biggest problem. The biggest problem is the balls that they're just not getting to. In particular the left side,, where Lowell's lost a step, Lugo's lost two, Nick Green was never a Major League caliber shortstop and Jason Bay, who we all love, is not, as we all expected, a defensive upgrade over Manny Ramirez. The team ERA doesn't accurately reflect how well the pitchers have pitched.

  • The offense has struggled for a couple of weeks now. They've had a few players (Youkilis, Bay, Lowell, Varitek) carrying the offense at basically unsustainable levels. Ideally, when those players inevitably cool off, others pick up the slack. Other than Pedroia, who has actually been excellent and pretty consistent all year, there's been no noticeable slack-picking up.

  • The Yankees had another 4-2 week as well, finishing the week with the same half game lead with which they started the week. It may or may not be true that the Rangers struggle against the Yankees more than most teams, but it did feel like a gift when Texas took 1 of 3 in Yankee Stadium.

  • Is there still anyone out there who thinks that New York would be better off with Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen?

  • Tampa continues to lead the AL in run differential. And five games in early June doesn't seem like an insurmountable deficit. Unfortunately for them, it's five games behind what are probably the two best teams in baseball.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week: J.D. Drew. He only played in four of the six games, but he hit .417/.632/.667/1.299 in them, with a home run and a slew ("slew" being used here as a synonym for the number 7) of walks at the top of the order. Some weeks he might not win because of playing time issues, but this week, there was no strong competition.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week: If asked on Thursday, the answer clearly would have been Josh Beckett, who continued a streak of outstanding pitching by taking a no-hitter into the 8th in Detroit. He ended up giving up 3 runs in 7 2/3, but none of the runs were earned. But that performance was eclipsed by Jon Lester, who took a perfect game into the 7th on Saturday night against Texas. Lester gets the prize for his complete game, 2 hit, 2 BB, 11 strikeout, 1 run performance.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 6/8/2009


Tampa Bay5.59(2)4.74(7)0.574(1)33252929-4




New York5.73(1)5.18(12)0.546(5)312533232




Los Angeles4.73(9)4.87(11)0.486(9)272828271




Kansas City3.96(13)4.71(6)0.421(13)243224320


Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
New York9567





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

New York9171



Tampa Bay8973

Standings for the week



Tampa Bay6(2)3(3)0.78(2)41410



New York6.33(1)4.5(8)0.651(5)42420


Los Angeles4.5(6)4(6)0.554(7)33330






Kansas City2.17(13)5.5(13)0.154(13)15150


1 - Twelve consecutive games against Detroit, Texas, NY Yankees and Philadelphia, each of which was in first place in its division when the stretch began. The Yankees and Red Sox are essentially tied, and have bounced back and forth between first, tied and second for the first week, and may do it for the second as well.

2 - Part of the reason that Matsuzaka has struggled is that the defense has been worst behind him.

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