Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Pythagorean, 4/25/2011

Well, that's a little more like it. 6-1 is a good week in any circumstances - when you've been struggling below .500 in each of the first three weeks, it's a godsend.

  • I was going to say, "now they're starting to look like the team we expected." And it's true, but they actually look like the team we expected last year, not this year. Last year, we expected dominant pitching ("run prevention") and OK offense. And that's just what we've seen for the past week-plus. This year, we've expected dominant offense and OK pitching. I think that the offense is going to be really good, but it hasn't been yet.
  • There are positive signs, though, on the offensive front. Neither Carl Crawford nor Jacoby Ellsbury were good, this week, but they didn't have to be good to be much, much better than they'd been thus far. They put up identical .259/.310/.444/.755 lines, each going 7 for 27 with four singles, two doubles, a HR, two walks and two stolen bases. Crawford's week was a little more productive because he was only caught stealing once and Ellsbury was caught three times (OK, he was charged with being caught three times - on one of them he was clearly safe) and Crawford only struck out four times to Ellsbury's 11. And they each finished the week strong, as they hit well in the four games in LAnaheim, .333/.400/.444/.844 (Ellsbury) and .267/.353/.533/.886 (Crawford).
  • Other positive signs from the offense included J.D. Drew (.316/.435/.632/1.066) and Kevin Youkilis (.286/.348/.762/1.110) having productive weeks.
  • And, of course, if they continue to allow fewer than two runs per game, as they've done for the last nine, then the offense doesn't really need to get any better. If you're going to outscore your opponents by nearly three runs per game, as they did this week, you're generally going to be successful.
  • The pitching, particularly the starters, has been on a tremendous run that's now into double digits. Since Matsuzaka's disaster start against the Rays on the 11th, they've played eleven games, and the starters have averaged 6 2/3 innings pitched and 1.09 runs allowed, for an ERA of 1.47. In the last nine games, starting pitchers have allowed six runs in 61 1/3 innings, for an ERA of .88. Coincidentally (or not [probably not ;-) ]), they're 8-1 over those nine games.
  • In any event, the early panic has, rightly, subsided, and comparisons to the 1995 Red Sox have ceased to be relevant. They're 3 1/2 games back with 141 to play. They're probably not out of the division race yet...
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - As his hot stretch continues for a second week, Jed Lowrie(.400/.407/.720/1.127) takes the prize, and the bulk of the playing time at SS.
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Most weeks, John Lackey's performance (two starts, 14 innings, 1 run) is enough to win this handily. Josh Beckett pitched well again. Jon Lester pitched well again. Daniel Bard was really good in three outings. But there's really no contest here, as Daisuke Matsuzaka finally showed the form that caused the Sox to post a $51 million bid for his rights. In two starts, he pitched 15 innings and struck out 12 while allowing only two hits and six total baserunners. Total dominance, twice, and with enough strikes that he was able to last through seven innings in one game and eight in another.
AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 4/18/2011
New York6.06(1)4.56(10)0.627(2)1171261
Kansas City5.09(3)4.77(11)0.529(5)121012100
Los Angeles3.86(9)3.64(2)0.528(6)121012100
Tampa Bay3.59(12)3.82(4)0.472(10)101211111

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
New York10854
Kansas City8874
Los Angeles8874

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
New York10260
Kansas City8676

Standings for the week
New York8(1)3.5(4)0.819(2)31310
Tampa Bay3.57(11)3(3)0.579(5)43521
Los Angeles3.57(11)4.57(8)0.389(11)3425-1
Kansas City4.29(8)6(14)0.351(12)25250

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