Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Pythagorean, 7/11/2011

And the All Star break arrives, not a moment too soon, as the Red Sox are losing starting pitchers at the rate of about one per game...

  • OK, that's an exaggeration. But they did have their two best starters come out of games dinged up this week, with Lester's strained lat being more serious than Beckett's hyperextended left knee. Lester headed to the DL, though it's not believed to be serious or long-term. Beckett is not expected to miss any time beyond the couple of innings he might have thrown, but didn't, had he not tweaked his knee on Friday night.
  • Interesting week for Lester, as he's added to the DL on Thursday, and then to the All Star roster on Sunday. Apparently, he was next in line, so when Felix Hernandez pitched on Sunday, leaving him unavailable for Tuesday, Lester got the nod despite not being active and able to pitch. What an honor! As near as I can tell, about 37%1 of all American League players can call themselves "All Stars" this year. Rumor has it that MLB's next innovation2 will be pizza and ice cream and sportsmanship trophies for everyone that doesn't make the playoffs this year.
  • In one more of their "adventures in short starts," Kyle Weiland was thrown out of his first major league start when a sinker didn't sink and Vlad Guerrero swung his hands into it an inning after both teams had been warned. That was just one way in which his actual first start differed from the first start he had long dreamed of making.
  • The Red Sox-Orioles series was a little ... chippy. Let me say first, that Kevin Gregg embarrassed himself. He was clearly throwning at Ortiz, who had done nothing, and he wasn't even doing it well enough to hit him. And leaving the mound to yell at Ortiz on the pop-up was ridiculous. So I'm not letting him off the hook at all. But Ortiz' reaction was an over-reaction, and they'll doubtless start the post-All Star break schedule without him, and it was his own damn fault. Run to first, David, even if the pitcher's yelling at you. Don't take that left turn, directly to a suspension.
  • Bottom line: The Boston Red Sox enter the All Star break on a six-game winning streak, with the best record in the American League, the second-best record in all of baseball (behind the Phillies) and the second-best run differential in all of baseball (behind the Yankees). All of that despite the 2-12 start, despite the pathetic performances from both outfield corners, despite having two or three of their starters on the DL for most of the season thus far. They're also six games ahead of both the Rays and the Angels, who are the two AL teams with the best records of those not currently in a playoff position. So even if they've only got a one-game lead in the division, they're six games up on the WC contenders. With 72 games remaining, they could fail to make the playoffs, but absent catastrophic injury luck (like Beckett and Lester going down, and taking Ellsbury and Gonzalez with them), they're very likely to be playing October baseball. BaseballProspectus Playoff Odds report has them at 98.5% likely to make the playoffs, tops in MLB.
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Thus far, Jacoby Ellsbury (.467/.515/.900/1.415 on the week) has been the player that everyone hoped that he'd be. His plate discipline has improved, and with it, his power numbers. And he's done that without losing his speed.
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - With no worthy starting performances, I'm going to give out a dual-award this week, to the set-up Dans, Bard and Wheeler, who combined to throw eight innings of two-hit, no-walk, no run ball while striking out eight in seven appearances.

1 - Give or take 35%.

2 - MLB "innovates" by looking to local T-ball leagues for guidance...

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 4/18/2011
New York5.17(2)3.8(4)0.638(1)56325335-3
Tampa Bay4.22(8)3.81(5)0.547(4)494149410
Los Angeles3.86(12)3.59(2)0.533(5)494350421
Kansas City4.42(6)4.93(13)0.45(12)41503754-4

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
New York9864
Tampa Bay8874
Los Angeles8874

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
New York10062
Tampa Bay8874
Los Angeles8775

Standings for the week
Los Angeles4.57(5)2.14(1)0.8(2)61610
Kansas City4.57(5)3.71(5)0.594(6)4334-1
Tampa Bay3.83(8)3.67(3)0.52(7)3324-1
New York3.67(9)3.67(3)0.5(8)33330

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