Monday, August 05, 2013

Monday pythagorean, 8/5/2013

A 5-2 week and the Red Sox stretch their lead from 1/2 game all the way up to ... a full game...
  • For the second straight week, Boston drops out of first place, albeit very briefly.
  • Monday's loss to Tampa was one of the more frustrating losses of the season. First, they faced David Price for the second time in a week, rather than the expected night off, because they lost a game to weather with one of Tampa's weaker starters scheduled. Then, down by one in the 8th, pinch-runner Daniel Nava failed to score from 2nd on a long double, moving over to third. Then, on the next play, he scored anyway to tie the game, only to have the umpire blow the call. Instead of batting with a runner in scoring position in a tied game in the 8th, the inning ended with the Sox still down. They lost, and dropped out of first again.
  • The rest of the week went much better. After the Monday frustration, the Sox won five of their remaining six games on the week. Once of these was a scintillating ninth inning-come from behind against Seattle about which I wrote elsewhere. Getting a little help (once from Arizona and once from San Francisco), they moved back into first place, a game ahead of the Rays. They still have the best record in the AL. They have still won 60+% of their games.
  • Boston not only won games, they won the trading deadline. The Red Sox improved their pitching staff with the addition of Jake Peavy, and all they gave up was some cannon fodder from the low minors, and Jose Iglesias. Peavy made 13 starts with the White Sox before the trade, with an ERA of 5.275 and WHIP of 1.15, and is not the same pitcher he was when he won the 2007 Cy Young award. But those numbers are a little bit misleading, too. Suffering from a broken rib, he allowed 6 runs in 2 1/3 runs against Seattle on June 4, following which performance he went on the DL. In his other 12 starts, his ERA is an impressive 3.71 and his WHIP is 1.09. In other words, he's been a very good pitcher. Better than Lester and Dempster, and the collection of talent that have taken up the non-Lester,Buchholz,Doubront,Lackey,Dempster starts. He makes the team better. The loss of Iglesias doesn't make them worse. So, win-win.
  • Some leather fetishists were appalled by the loss of Iglesias. A couple more outings from Peavy like the first one (7 innings, 2 runs) and that will quiet down substantially.
  • Speaking of moves, Cherington made a move early in the "transaction season," picking up Matt Thornton from the White Sox when Andrew Miller went down for the season three weeks ago. And Thornton's been very effective. We don't know yet what the injury was that took him out of the game yesterday, but we can hope that it's neither serious nor long-term. UPDATE: Farrell just said "a little bit of a right oblique issue." So, it's in the ribcage, not the elbow, not the shoulder. Those can linger, but as I write this, I'd expect him back for the stretch run and the playoffs.
  • Even when the Rays don't play well (outscored on the week 18-14, scoring only 2.3 runs/game), they keep winning, going 4-2 when 2-4 would have more accurately reflected their runs scored/allowed. Three of their four wins were one-run games.
  • There is no perfectly equitable method of choosing playoff teams and setting up playoff series. But the addition of a 2nd Wild Card team, with the two Wild Cards playing each other in a one-game playoff has introduced new issues. The two best teams in the AL are Boston and Tampa. If the season ended today, Tampa would face Cleveland in a one-game playoff while both Detroit and Oakland, with inferior records, get full series. Maybe that won't be the case at the end of the year, but would anyone be surprised?
  • What is it with Daniel Nava, late innings of close games, and umpires? The Red Sox' June 23rd loss at Detroit was set up by an "error" on Nava, when he dropped the ball while flipping ("transferring") the ball from his glove to his hand to start the Tigers' eventual 3-run, game-winning eighth-inning. Most of us think that he caught the ball and had control long enough. Of course, not even the umpire thinks that the right call was made in the 8th inning of Monday's game against Tampa, when Nava was called out despite clearly scoring the game-tying run in a game that the Red Sox went on to lose, 2-1.
  • Ellsbury, Pedroia, Ortiz, Napoli - .221/.297/.372/.669, 12.83 runs created, 3.45 RC/25 outs. And they went 5-2 anyway, on the strength of performances from Victorino, Drew and Saltalamacchia, plus contributions from Ryan Lavarnway (.429/.429/.571/1.000, 1.53 runs created, 9.56 RC/25 outs) and Brandon Snyder (.429/.429/1.000/1.429, 2.49 runs created, 15.57 RC/25 outs). And good-to-excellent pitching (other than Lester and Dempster).
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - An excellent week from Stephen Drew (.400/.484/.560/1.044, 6.47 runs created, 9.51 RC/25 outs falls just a little short of the performance of Shane Victorino (.400/.441/.700/1.141, 8.60 runs created, 11.31 RC/25 outs).
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - With twelve good innings (2 ER, 1.50 ERA) over two good starts (one win, one loss to David Price and the umpires), this week's award goes to Felix Doubront.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 8/5/2013
Tampa Bay4.55(7)3.94(4)0.566(3)634866453
Kansas City4.05(12)3.92(3)0.514(8)565256520
LA Angels4.67(5)4.75(13)0.492(9)54565159-3
NY Yankees3.82(13)3.92(2)0.488(10)545657533
Chicago Sox3.61(15)4.41(9)0.41(14)45644069-5

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Tampa Bay9666

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Tampa Bay9567

Standings for the week
LA Angels6(1)5.14(11)0.57(5)4334-1
Tampa Bay2.33(14)3(2)0.387(11)24422
Kansas City6(1)3.2(3)0.76(2)41511
Chicago Sox2.14(15)4.29(9)0.22(15)2507-2
NY Yankees2.6(13)3.2(3)0.406(9)23230

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