Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Pythagorean, 7/22/13

Short week, short report...
  • Two of three, as always, is a good thing. Normally, the fact that it was against the Yankees would enhance that, but the Yankees are not the Yankees, and are very lucky to only be seven games back right now. They are six games over .500 despite having been outscored on the season.
  • And there's no reason whatsover to think that it's going to get better for NY before it gets worse. They were further back in 1978 than they are now, but this is not the 1978 Yankees. The 2013 Yankees are a mediocre team, if that, and other than head-to-head games with Boston and Tampa, they are now irrelevant to the 2013 playoff race.
  • That's right - I'm saying, right now, July 22, 2013, that the Yankees are out of it. Over. Done. Stick a fork in 'em...
  • Frankly, that's not a particularly daring position to take.
  • One thing that the Red Sox have been thus far is consistent. They've played 100 and won 60%, three wins for every five games. Their winning percentage was 60% after 5 games, 10, 35, 45, 50, 55, 60, 70, 85, 90 and 100. They've basically played .600 ball consistently from the start of the season through the All Star break. Over 162 games, .600 ball equates to a 97 win season. That's a good year.
  • They've done it without any obvious statistical flukiness. They're only one game better than their Pythagorean projection, essentially right where you'd expect them to be, given runs scored and runs allowed. They've been good (14-9) in one-run games, but not outrageously so. They've been good (6-4) in extra innings, but not outrageously so. No, they've been a good, solid, consistent, effective team through the first 100 games, with a record that seems to accurately reflect on their capabilities.
  • And that leaves us with two questions. The first is, can the Red Sox sustain that pace? They've been consistently good from the start, and the offense continues to look strong. From a position-player standpoint, they're talented, they're deep and they're (at least relatively) healthy. They've scored more runs than anyone in baseball, and that looks more-or-less sustainable. Maybe they lead baseball in runs scored over the remaining 62, and maybe they're 2nd or 3rd. The pitching is a little (ok, a lot) iffier. Clay Buchholz has now missed six weeks, and we heard his name in the same sentences as "Dr. James Andrews" over the weekend, which is never a good thing. They started the season with two closers; both are on the DL and done for the year. (Not that either of them did much while healthy.) Jon Lester has been poor-to-mediocre for the past month and a half. However, despite all that, they've still been winning 60 percent of their games. So, will they finish with 97 wins? Well, there's no reason, right now, not to think that they'll get close. They've got 62 games left - going 34-28 (.548) would get them to 94 wins. Their worst 62-game stretch of the season, April 21-June 23, saw them go 33-29 (.532). If they did that again, they'd finish with 93 wins and almost certainly a play-off berth. So they are in very good shape right now.
  • And now we come to the second question and the elephant in the room. How good are the Tampa Rays? On May 25, they lost to the Yankees, falling to 24-24, six games behind 1st place New York and five games behind 2nd place Boston. Since then, they're 34-17, the best record in baseball. Their 236 runs scored are second in the AL behind Boston's 266; their 176 runs allowed are 2nd in the AL behind Oakland's 154. They've been scary good. And after sweeping Toronto this weekend, they're now 17-2 in their last 19 games, and have come from 7 games behind Boston to 1 1/2. And, given that they're only 1 1/2 out, if they're a better team than Boston, which is possible, maybe even likely, then they should be the favorites to win the East.
  • The inclination is to solemnly intone, "we'll know a lot more in four days." And we will, I suppose, if one team sweeps. We'll know a lot more about the current standings. What we won't know is a lot more about the quality of the two teams because, again, anything can happen in a short series. If one team sweeps, or the other sweeps, or they split, it doesn't really tell us any more about the teams, only about the week.
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - The impact game of the week was Mike Napoli's (.222/.300/.889/1.189) two-HR game on Sunday, the first turning a 3-1 deficit to a 4-3 lead, and the second providing a walk-off in the 11th. But for the week, Jacoby Ellsbury (.364/.500/.727/1.227) and David Ortiz (.417/.500/.583/1.083) were both better, and the award goes to Jonny Gomes (.364/.385/1.000/1.385), who also went deep twice.
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - There were no great starts, though Doubront was pretty good, and no stellar relief stints, though all of the relievers were pretty good. (Boston bullpen - 11 innings in 12 appearances, 3 runs [1 earned] for a .818 ERA on the week.) No really award-worthy performances, so, in this three game week, there's no award.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 7/22/2013
Tampa Bay4.7(5)4.04(3)0.568(4)564358412
NY Yankees3.95(13)3.97(2)0.498(8)494952463
LA Angels4.64(6)4.69(12)0.495(9)47494650-1
Kansas City3.97(12)4.06(4)0.489(10)46494550-1
Chicago Sox3.81(14)4.4(8)0.435(14)41543956-2

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Tampa Bay9567

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Tampa Bay9468

Standings for the week
Tampa Bay5.33(3)3.67(7)0.665(4)21301
Chicago Sox5.67(2)4.33(9)0.62(5)21210
NY Yankees4.67(4)4.67(10)0.5(8)2112-1
Kansas City2.67(11)3(6)0.446(10)12211
LA Angels2(15)2.33(2)0.43(11)12211

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