Monday, June 03, 2013

Monday Pythagorean, 6/3/2013

Any week where you win more than you lose is not a bad week. So they follow last week's 4-3 with another 4-3, and increase their lead in the East...
  • Yes, since you can't go 3 1/2-3 1/2 in a seven game week, 4-3 is the best you can do without losing more than you win, and it doesn't look like much. That's all true. This is also true - the baseball season is about 26 weeks long, and winning one more than you lose in each of those 26 weeks would result in a 94-win season. Winning 4-of-7 all season long is about a 93-win pace. In other words, you don't need to play any better than that, consistently, to be a good team. Obviously, you can't make up for long bad stretches that way, but if you've got consistent 4-3, 3-3, 4-2 weeks punctuated with extended streaks of good play, you're going to end up with a good record. For the most part, that's what the Red Sox have done so far, and they're on a 98 win pace with a 2 1/2 game lead in the east, and the 2nd best record in the AL.
  • Uncle Pythagoras liked this week a lot better than their actual record indicated, though. That's what happens when you win by 3 and 6 and 7 and 10 while losing by 1 and 2 and 3.
  • Three weeks ago this morning, the Red Sox were struggling, having lost 8-of-10 and fallen two games back in the AL East. They had an off day, followed by their longest unbroken stretch of games of the season, 20 straight days from 5/14-6/2, with 14 on the road and only six at home. If they win the division, we may look back on that 20-game stretch as a turning point. They went 13-7 (.650) during that stretch, 4-2 at home and 9-5 on the road. They outscored the opposition by 40 runs, scoring 108 (best in baseball) and allowing only 68. They increased their lead over TB, who also played very well, by 1/2 game, over Baltimore by 3 1/2, and made up 5 games against the Yankees, going from 2 behind New York to three ahead of them.
  • You can count me among those who were utterly disinterested in the presence of Jonathan Papelbon in Boston this week. He was a good pitcher for the Red Sox for several years. Now he's not. I find that I've no residual affection or interest beyond that. And, being extremely skeptical that he will provide $13million worth of performance this year, regardless the team for which he's pitching, I haven't any use for discussions of the "should the Red Sox have paid and kept Papelbon" variety. The answer is, to my mind, self-evident, with no significant countervailing case to be made.
  • It was exciting to see Jacoby Ellsbury set a Red Sox record with five steals in one game. It would have been even more exciting to see him take the field again afterwards, but alas, you can't have everything.
  • If Jose Iglesias can hit .400, he can be a productive Major League player.
  • If Jose Iglesias can hit .300, he might be better than Will Middlebrooks.
  • The worst pitching performance of the week was Jon Lester's Friday night start, in which he allowed 4 runs over 6 1/3 innings. When you can say that, chances are that your pitching staff had a heck of a week. Which it did, allowing only 17 runs in 57 innings on the week.
  • It looks as if Buchholz survived the shoulder soreness that pushed him back twice, with a strong five-inning performance against the Yankees to finish the week. And the rain gave the bullpen an extra day off.
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Ellsbury was outstanding, albeit in only four games. In fact, he was so good during the four games that he played that he finished the week with more runs created than anyone else on the team despite the relatively few at-bats. Which makes this difficult for me. I think that, despite his performance, I can't award him, because he completely missed nearly half of the games. Which sends me looking again, and seeing Jose Iglesias (.400/.400/.600/1.000) and David Ortiz (.286/.423/.619/1.042), who both had very productive weeks. But both fall just short of Mike Napoli (.417/.462/.750/1.212), whose Grand Slam on Saturday night set the Red Sox up to take the middle game of the Yankee series, and is this week's Player of the Week.
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Another tough call. There are not two-win starters - in fact, there weren't even any two-start starters this week. There are no stellar relief lines. No one pitched fewer than 1 inning or more than 7; no one gave up more than 4 runs. Buchholz allowed no runs but only pitched five innings; Dempster had the longest start (7 innings) but gave up two runs; Aceves and Doubront each gave up 1 run in six innings of work. In short, while the staff was excellent, there really wasn't a "pitcher of the week"-worthy performance, and while, in other weeks, I might give it to Buchholz or Aceves or Doubront or Dempster, there's nothing that makes one of them more worthy than the others. So I'm not giving one out this week.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 6/3/2013
Tampa Bay5.04(2)4.5(9)0.551(5)312531250
NY Yankees3.98(12)3.89(2)0.51(8)292731252
Kansas City3.96(13)4.13(7)0.481(9)26282331-3
LA Angels4.48(8)4.73(12)0.475(10)27302532-2
Chicago Sox3.44(15)4.09(5)0.422(13)233124301

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Tampa Bay9072

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

Standings for the week
Tampa Bay6.43(1)3.57(5)0.746(2)52611
LA Angels3(12)4.14(9)0.356(12)25250
Kansas City3(12)4.67(11)0.308(13)24250
NY Yankees1.71(14)4.43(10)0.15(14)16160
Chicago Sox1.5(15)5.5(15)0.085(15)1506-1

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