Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday Pythagorean Report - 6/21/2010

The unsung hero of the week is whoever managed to convince them that winning the first two games of a series did not actually create a barrier to winning the third.

  • So they've tied the Rays in the Wild Card race, and sit just one game back of NY in the AL East, with the same number of wins (43) as the Yankees and more than anyone else in baseball. It's worth looking back a mere five weeks, to May 17, as Boston lost in New York to fall a season low 8 1/2 games out of first place. In the 32 games since then, they've made up 8 1/2 games on the Rays and 5 1/2 on the Yankees. Their 187 runs scored are the most in baseball over that stretch; their 113 runs allowed better than all but the Mets (who have actually played two fewer games over that stretch and allowed more runs/game than the Sox.) They've obviously got the best Pythagorean record in baseball, and their 24-8 actual record is matched only by Atlanta. And 32 games is nearly 20% of the season. This is an extended run of outstanding baseball by the Red Sox.
  • Their opening day leadoff hitter has played in zero of those 32 games. Their opening day starter has started once, allowing 5 runs in 4 2/3 innings before going to the DL. Their opening day CF has hit .271/.314/.312/.626 while struggling to play in 13 of those 32. None of that means, of course, that we should expect them to play better, because sustaining a 122-win pace for a long time just doesn't happen. But it does mean that they've covered, very nicely, for some of the inevitable problems that crop up in a long season.
  • In other words, this looks a lot like the team that many of us thought it was coming into the season, and not much like the one that so many people were so quick to panic about during that 4-9 start.
  • "Maybe the Sox can catch the Rays this season; maybe they cannot." - Tony Massarotti, four weeks ago today. In that piece, he also said that the Rays were "younger, faster, hungrier and stronger than these Sox," for which I mocked him. Do you suppose he'd like to "revise and extend his remarks?"
  • Potential tough week coming, as they go out on the road to NL West parks, playing without a DH, and face two of the best pitchers in baseball in Ubaldo Jiminez and Tim Lincecum. 4-2 this coming week would be, I think, as impressive as 6-0 this last week.
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - First, let's note that Daniel Nava, who has hit everywhere that he's played, has hit in Boston as well, with a solid .316/.409/.474/.883 week. Then, it's hard to bypass the .353/.538/.882/1.420 that David Ortiz put up. But the award goes to Dustin Pedroia, who's clearly over his slump, and hit a spectacular .522/.556/.783/1.339 for the week. (Yes, Ortiz' OPS was higher. No, OPS is not the be-all, end-all.)
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - As you'd expect in a 6-0 week, there are a lot of good pitching performances. Solid bullpen performances from Okajima, Bard and Atchison warrant mention, as well as a good start from Lester and a solid and promising debut from a clearly not-quite-ready Felix Doubront. But Clay Buchholz with two good starts and Jonathan Papelbon, who finished five of the six games, split the award this week.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 6/21/2010
New York5.45(2)3.99(3)0.639(1)44254326-1
Tampa Bay5.22(3)3.88(1)0.632(2)44254227-2
Los Angeles4.74(7)4.88(11)0.487(8)353739334
Kansas City4.57(8)5.13(13)0.448(11)31392941-2

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
New York10161
Tampa Bay9963

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
New York10260
Tampa Bay10161

Standings for the week
Kansas City5.83(3)5.33(10)0.541(7)3324-1
New York3.5(12)3.83(6)0.458(9)33330
Tampa Bay4.5(7)5.33(10)0.423(11)3324-1
Los Angeles4.67(6)6.33(14)0.364(12)24331

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