Friday, September 20, 2013

Magic numbers, 9/20/2013

Thursday's Games:
Boston 3,Baltimore 1
Texas 8, Tampa 2
Oakland 8, Minnesota 6
Detroit 5, Seattle 4
If Boston wins 3 of their remaining 8 games (3-5, .375, 96 wins):
Tampa Bay cannot tie
Baltimore cannot tie
NY Yankees cannot tie

Detroit must go 7-2 to tie
Oakland must go 6-3 to tie

AL East:
Any combination of Boston wins and Tampa Bay losses totaling 1 ensures that Boston finishes ahead of Tampa Bay

Best Record in AL:
Any combination of Boston wins and Detroit losses totaling 6 ensures that Boston finishes ahead of Detroit
Any combination of Boston wins and Oakland losses totaling 7 ensures that Boston finishes ahead of Oakland

  • In their last two wins, the Red Sox have eliminated the Yankees and Orioles from division contention. Not that either was really in it, at this point, but it was still satisfying to eliminate them head-to-head.
  • Everyone is acknowledging that the Red Sox have clinched a playoff spot, which is clear - they've won 93 games, and only four other AL teams still have a shot at getting to 93.  So they will definitely play October baseball.  What is not clear to me is whether they have clinched the division, too.  Tampa is one of the team's that can get to 93, so the two teams could still finish in a tie.  But, given that the only possible tie is at 93 wins, getting them both in to the post-season, and given that Boston took the season series between the two clubs (12-7), it seems as if Boston has already clinched the "division winner" playoff spot.  Maybe MLB has changed the rules with the one-game Wild Card playoff, and they'd have to have a one-game playoff for the division with the loser playing the Wild Card playoff.  (Update:  Apparently, that's true.  "If just one game is needed to settle the issue, it will tentatively be played on Monday, Sept. 30. That applies to determining the division championship whether or not the losing team would still qualify as a Wild Card."  That game would be played in Boston.)
  • Unless Boston goes 0-8 while Tampa goes 10-0, the preceding was entirely academic.
  • One can make the case that last night's game was John Lackey's best start in a Red Sox uniform.  It's only his second complete game, and it is the first time that he's gone 9 innings (his other CG was 8 scoreless2 innings in a loss in LA earlier this season).  He has had three starts in which he allowed no runs, but two of those were shorter than 7 innings and the third was 8 (in 2010).  Using Bill James' Game Scores1, he scored an 85 last night, which is his highest game score in a Boston uniform.  (The previous high was 81, in an 8-inning, 1 run, 0 earned performance against Seattle in 2010.)

1 - It's kind of a toy, but an interesting one.
  1. Start with 50 points.
  2. Add one point for each out recorded, so three points for every complete inning pitched.
  3. Add two points for each inning completed after the fourth.
  4. Add one point for each strikeout.
  5. Subtract two points for each hit allowed.
  6. Subtract four points for each earned run allowed.
  7. Subtract two points for each unearned run allowed.
  8. Subtract one point for each walk.
2 - Update:  Oops.  Obviously, MLB's next "scoreless loss" will be its first...

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