Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Pythagorean, 8/31/2009

You don't need me to tell you that 6-1 is a productive week. The lead in the Wild Card is now up to 3 1/2 over Texas and 5 1/2 over Tampa.

  • The odds of the Red Sox catching the Yankees are slim. That's life. As we know, it does not matter. In the age of the Wild Card, the only thing that matters is making the playoffs. The Yankees are a great team and have had an unbelievable month and a half. They met up with the Yankees riding high and the Red Sox struggling, and the result was a sudden shift from a tight division to a significant Yankee lead. But here's the thing - if they meet again in the post-season, the 8-0 Red Sox start vs. New York will be exactly as relevant as the four-game sweep in Yankee Stadium.

  • Tampa's loss yesterday, late to the Tigers, made this weeks journey south a lot more comfortable. The Red Sox are going to arrive in Chicago on Friday with at least a 2 1/2 game lead over the Rays, even if they get swept. If they can sweep, they'll effectively eliminate the Rays from, if not contention, at least my concern. More likely, the series finishes 2-1 or 1-2, and they leave Tampa with a lead of 4 1/2 or 6 1/2 over the still scary Rays.

  • It's starting to look as if the Rangers might be more of a threat than the Rays. I can't quite get my brain to buy it. The concept of Texas allowing the fewest runs per game in the league is foreign to me.

  • So is the concept of the Angels leading the AL in runs.

  • Five weeks left. 32 games. 15 home, 17 away. The Rays have 18 home, 15 away remaining. The Rangers have 16 home, 17 away. BP's playoff odds report says that the Red Sox are 77% likely to make the post-season. Looks/sounds about right to me.

  • There was substantial panic in Red Sox nation a couple of weeks ago. A lot of that seems to have died out. 'Twould have better had it not started in the first place, but the second-guessing fatalists are always going to be with us, and they've got megaphones in 'EEI and the Globe.

  • Over the last 3 weeks, the Red Sox are score 6.5 runs per game, first in the AL.

  • I've made this point before, but I'll make it again. There are a lot of people who say, "Alex Gonzalez is here for his glove - it doesn't matter what he does with his bat." That's wrong. Yes, it does matter. When they start the game, Ellsbury, Pedroia, Youkilis, etc. all hit. None of them gets another at-bat until Alex Gonzalez gets one, too. When you've got an automatic out at the bottom of the order, it stops rallies. During the rare weeks of productivity (like this one) you score lots of runs.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - They scored 6 runs per game, so it should come as no surprise that there were a lot of good performances this week. Including the annual short alien possession of Alex Gonzalez. The top performance was J.D. Drew, who hit .364/.500/.864/1.364 with 3 HR.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - The best single performance of the week was Clay Buchholz' domination of the Blue Jays on Saturday night. But he had an awful outing earlier in the week. Obviously, Beckett's struggles continued. Tazawa had a disaster start. Lester's start was good, not great - hopefully he's saving that for Tampa this week. There were a bunch of good bullpen performances, but there are two performances that really stand out. I've had weeks without giving this out - this week I'll give out two. The first is for Tim Wakefield, who returned (albeit temporarily) from the DL and was stellar, allowing only one run in seven innings of work. The second is for the most unexpected performance of hte year thus far, the six-inning short shutout of Toronto by old Father TimePaul Byrd. I can't believe that anyone saw that one coming.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 8/31/2009


New York5.68(2)4.72(8)0.585(1)765482486


Tampa Bay5.14(4)4.52(5)0.559(3)72577059-2

Los Angeles5.75(1)5.09(11)0.555(4)725777525










Kansas City4.11(13)5.19(12)0.395(14)51795080-1

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
New York10260

Los Angeles9765



Tampa Bay8874

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
New York10161

Los Angeles9567



Tampa Bay8874

Standings for the week


New York7.17(1)4(5)0.744(1)42420





Tampa Bay4.83(5)4(5)0.586(6)4233-1

Los Angeles5.29(3)4.43(8)0.58(7)4334-1


Kansas City4.57(7)4.86(10)0.472(9)34340






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