Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Pythagorean, 8/14/2009

After a dispiriting and desultory loss on Monday, the Sox came home and went 5-0 for a 5-1 week. Three more of those will obviously result in playoff games.

  • I know I said this a couple of weeks ago, and I know that it still isn't actually mathematically proven, but Tampa Bay is done.

  • Today is the last off-day. 20 games left. 3 at home, 10 on the road, 7 at home. 6 against division leaders (LAA 3, NYY 3) and 14 against, well, dregs. Baltimore. Kansas City. Toronto. Cleveland. Texas has 9 at home, 11 on the road. And a lot more traveling than Boston has. If Texas is going to make a move, it has to be soon. During the last week, Boston hosts Toronto and Cleveland while the Rangers travel to LAnaheim and Seattle.

  • Boston's magic number to clinch a playoff berth is 17, vs. Texas. Any combination of Red Sox wins and Texas losses totalling 17 would eliminate the Rangers from Wild Card competition.

  • All predictions carry the risk of being wrong and making the predictor look silly. Particularly predictions which are just phrased as statements of fact. Anyway. Texas is not going to make up four games in three weeks to catch Boston.

  • There seem to have been a lot of concessions made about the Red Sox chances of winning a World Series this year. We're talking about a team that has the third best record in all of baseball, and the third best run differential in all of baseball. A team that can close out games with Okajima, Bard, Wagner and Papelbon. A team that lost its number 3 starter for essentially the whole year due to the World Baseball Classic. I don't say that Boston's going to win the World Series this year. I do say that there's no way of knowing yet, and their chances, assuming they make the playoffs, will be as good as anyone else's.

  • The Yankees are not unbeatable. They're on an incredible roll, going 53-20 since June 23. It's worth noting that they've actually allowed more runs than the Red Sox over that stretch, despite all of the Smoltz and Penny starts for Boston. The Yankees have also exceeded their Pythagorean record by 8 games over that stretch. Have they been the best team in the AL this year? Yes. Is there some unbridgeable chasm between them and everyone else so that the outcome of a playoff series is a foregone conclusion? Not by a long shot. I don't say that Boston's going to win the World Series this year. I do say that there's no way of knowing yet, and their chances, assuming they make the playoffs, will be as good as anyone else's.

  • Daisuke Matsuzaka returns on Tuesday. Assuming that they've worked out the health and strength issues, I'd be very comfortable going into a playoff series with Beckett, Lester, Buchholz and Matsuzaka starting, with Ramirez, Saito, Okajima, Bard, Wagner and Papelbon in the bullpen. That looks to me like the makings of a scary pitching staff.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week: - When a team goes 5-1 and averages 5.7 runs/game, you can bet that there were a bunch of good individual performances. The best was probably that of David Ortiz, who hit .538/.647/.923/1.570 with a home run and a couple of doubles, including a pinch double on Sunday to set up the winning run, and walked four times.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week: - Several candidates, including Jon Lester, who allowed only 2 hits and no runs in 8 innings during his only start of the week. Beckett seems to be back, or close to it. But this week, it's the guy with two starts, both of which were excellent. Clay Buchholz threw 14 innings in his two starts, and allowed a total of one (1) run. That's tough to beat.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 9/14/2009


New York5.76(1)4.7(7)0.592(1)855992527


Los Angeles5.57(2)4.82(11)0.567(3)806286566


Tampa Bay4.96(6)4.64(6)0.53(5)76677271-4









Kansas City4.13(13)5.13(12)0.403(14)58855786-1

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
New York10458

Los Angeles9864




Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
New York10359

Los Angeles9765




Standings for the week



New York6(2)3.71(3)0.706(2)52520

Los Angeles4(11)2.57(2)0.692(3)52520

Kansas City5.71(4)3.86(4)0.672(4)52611










Tampa Bay1.14(14)5.43(10)0.055(14)07070

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