Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Pythagorean, 5/21/2012

For the second week in a row, a performance that's good - not great, not awful, but good - more wins than losses, the kind of consistent performance you expect to see from a good team...

  • Encouraging - despite the fact that Ellsbury, Crawford, Youkilis, Bailey, etc., are still missing, and that the initial magic that accompanied the appearances of Middlebrooks and Nava was a little less potent, they still went 5-2.

  • Encouraging - their latest five-game win streak came at home against Cleveland and Seattle.  But they continued their good play in taking 3-of-5 on the road from Tampa and Philadelphia.

  • Here's something interesting - the Red Sox are 6 1/2 games behaind the Orioles, and 4 1/2 games behind the Rays, but they've got a better run differential than either of them.  In fact, in the AL, only the Texas Rangers (+85) and the Toronto Blue Jays (+35) have outscored their opponents by more than the Red Sox (+17).  It was inevitable that we'd start to wonder whether this was really a good team.  They're still a game under .500, but when you look at the injuries and what they've done so far, it's pretty clear that the answer is (or at least should be), "yes."

  • How well have things gone the last couple of weeks?  They have actually moved onto one of the "top 5 lists."  If everyone in the AL were to play to their current pythagorean projections for the rest of the season, the Red Sox would finish with the 5th best record in the AL.

  • Of course, as three of the four teams ahead of them would also be from the AL East, they'd be out of the playoffs.

  • The other AL East also-ran?  The New York Yankees.

  • This probably sounds strange, but one of the most encouraging things I saw this week were what I'm going to term the "orphan losses."  From the beginning of the season through Wednesday night in Tampa, they'd only had a one-game losing streak once.  Otherwise, everytime they followed a win with a loss, there were several losses.  Three games, two games, five games, five games - the losses all came in bunches.  This week, they lost twice, and each time, they limited the damage to one game.  You can't win 'em all, but you can limit the long season-killing losing streaks.  This week, they started to do that.

  • Unlike last week, I don't know whether and when Josh Beckett golfed.  Like last week I don't care.  Unlike last week, most of Red Sox nation doesn't care, either.

  • For the season, the pitching still looks awful, and will for a long time because they gave up so many runs early.  So this may come as a surprise to some.  The Boston bullpen, in the month of May, has allowed 14 runs (13 earned) in 73 innings over 59 appearances.  That's a 1.60 ERA, with a 1.01 WHIP.  They've been very good.

  • The starters haven't had as good a month as the bullpen, but they're on a strong, albeit shorter, run right now, too.  Over the last nine games, they've average 6 1/3 innings per start with an ERA of 2.51.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - The most offensive production, based on straight Runs Created, came from Mike Aviles this week.  The best weighted run production (Runs Created/out) came from Cody Ross.  Therefore, the player of the week award goes to ... Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who hit (.421/.421/.895/1.316) and gets the positional bonus of having done it while catching five games.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - You might thing that, with the kind of pitching they got this week, this would be a tough call.  Uh, no.  Josh Beckett was very good-to-excellent.  Twice.  In 14 2/3 innings, he allowed only 11 hits and 1 run, while striking out 14 on his wasy to two wins.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 5/21/2012
Tampa Bay4.33(8)4(6)0.537(3)231925172
New York4.61(4)4.44(9)0.517(7)212021200
Los Angeles3.64(13)3.9(2)0.468(10)20221824-2
Kansas City4(10)4.55(12)0.441(13)18221624-2

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Tampa Bay9666

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Tampa Bay8973

Standings for the week
Tampa Bay3.43(11)2.71(2)0.605(5)43430
Los Angeles3.29(12)3(4)0.542(7)4334-1
Kansas City3.86(10)3.57(7)0.535(8)4334-1
New York3.29(12)4.71(11)0.341(14)25250

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