Monday, September 09, 2013

Monday pythagorean - 9/9/2013

There are times when a 5-2 week, good though it is in the abstract, isn't quite good enough. This was not one of those times. The Red Sox 5-2, combined with Tampa's continued struggles, increased the lead in the division to 7 1/2 with just three weeks remaining.

  • The race is not over yet. It is not over yet. It is not over until someone clinches. But for Boston to miss the play-offs at this point, it would take the kind of meltdown that we haven't seen from the Sox since ... well, since last year. And the year before.

  • The best record in Major League baseball this morning, the most wins, best winning percentage, and the best run differential, all belong to your Boston Red Sox. Just as we all predicted before the season started. Ok, maybe not...

  • In games played after August 31 the last two years, the Red Sox are 14-42 (7-20 in 2011, 7-22 in 2012). Thus far, they're 6-1 in 2013. For them to end up with just 7 September wins for the 3rd straight year, it will take a meltdown that would make September 2011 look like a success.

  • That doesn't mean that they're not capable of it, of course, but saying that I think it unlikely is an understatement.

  • We've known for a while, but Saturday's Red Sox win made it official - Toronto will not win the AL East this year.

  • When the week began, the Tigers had a fairly substantial lead in run differential in Major League baseball. The week ends with Boston leading, 162-161, largely on the strength of Wednesday's 20-4 drubbing, a 16-run win that, because it was against Detroit, produced a 32-run swing in the two teams' relative run differentials.

  • Tuesday's game was that rarity - an expected pitcher's duel that lived up to its billing. Scherzer was excellent, and Lester was better. Two 2-out base hits (Iglesias in the 2nd for the Tigers, Middlebrooks in the 5th for the Red Sox) accounted for all of the scoring.

  • On Friday morning, the Red Sox were 3-1 in their first four games of the week. Of the three wins, the one that was the least interesting, the least inspirational, the least impressive of the three was the 20-4 win in which they tied the club record for home runs in a game. If you knew beforehand that one of the games would be that one, you wouldn't predict that there were two better. But it was sandwiched between the Lester-Scherzer duel and the scintillating double-comeback game in the Bronx. And then, on Friday night, Boston came back from an 8-3 deficit to win again. By the time the week ended, the 20-4, 8 HR from 7 different players blow-out of the Tigers was completely overshadowed by what had preceded and followed it.

  • The Yankees are obviously celebrating the spectacular career of Mariano Rivera, and one of the special things they're doing is recreations of some of his memorable moments. I wasn't there, but rumor has it that the public address announcement accompanying Rivera's entry into Thursday's game went something like this: "Ladies and gentlemen, in tonight's re-enactment of the 9th inning of game four of the 2004 ALCS, the part of Dave Roberts will be played by Quintin Berry. Mike Napoli will be playing Kevin Millar, Stephen Drew will be playing the Bill Mueller part, and Mr. Rivera is appearing as himself..."

  • And the Red Sox are back at .600. Again. They were 3-2 in their first five games, and they've been 3-2 for the season. Consistently very good, from start to (almost) finish.

  • From Buster Olney came this tidbit:
    Thursday was Mariano Rivera's first blown save against the Red Sox since August of 2011 and his first against Boston at home since September of 2010. But in his career he's had more blown saves against the Red Sox than any other team, with 15 in total. The Orioles are second, as he's blown nine against them.
    15 blown saves against Boston, vs. 58 saves. That means that, as of Friday, Mariano Rivera had successfully converted fewer than 80% of his save opportunites against the Red Sox. And then he blew another one on Sunday, bringing that up to 58 saves in 74 attempts, which is about 78%. How many of you thought that Rivera's save percentage against the Red Sox was higher - much higher - than that?

  • For the week, the Red Sox had 10 players hit 18 HR over the course of seven games.

  • Injuries giveth, and injuries taketh away. With Clay Buchholz scheduled to start in Tampa tomorrow night, Jacoby Ellsbury is on the sidelines with a fractured navicular bone in the foot. If that sounds familiar, it's because that's the injury that cost Dustin Pedroia the last half of his 2010 season. Reports are the Ellsbury's fracture is not as serious as Pedroia's, does not require surgery, and may not even cost him the rest of the regular season. It would be a detriment to their chances of post-season success to be playing without Ellsbury, but of course, baseball being what it is, anything could still happen...

  • On August 17, Lyle Overbay doubled against Koji Uehara in the 9th inning of a game in the Bronx. Since then, Uehara's pitched a perfect game, retiring the next 27 batters he's faced, 12 by strikeout.

  • Magic Numbers
    If Boston wins 8 of their remaining 17 games (8-9, .471, 95 wins):
    Tampa Bay must go 17-3 to tie
    Baltimore must go 19-1 to tie
    NY Yankees must go 19-0 to tie

    For the AL East:
    Any combination of Boston wins and Tampa Bay losses totalling 12 ensures that Boston finishes ahead of Tampa Bay
    Any combination of Boston wins and Baltimore losses totalling 10 ensures that Boston finishes ahead of Baltimore
    Any combination of Boston wins and NY Yankees losses totalling 9 ensures that Boston finishes ahead of NY Yankees
    For the best record in the AL:
    Any combination of Boston wins and Oakland losses totalling 16 ensures that Boston finishes ahead of Oakland
    Any combination of Boston wins and Detroit losses totalling 15 ensures that Boston finishes ahead of Detroit
    I'll be updating these daily until they're no longer relevant - Magic Numbers

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Obviously, when you average 8 1/2 runs per game, when you score 54 runs in a four-game stretch, there are going to be some gaudy numbers. Like Daniel Nava's (.333/.500/.619/1.119, 6.57 runs created, 11.73 RC/25 outs). And Will Middlebrooks' (.464/.500/.929/1.429, 10.26 runs created, 16.03 RC/25 outs). But the gaudiest were the ones that Mike Napoli (.476/.577/1.143/1.720, 10.68 runs created, 24.26 RC/25 outs) put up.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Even if the rest of the starters had been excellent (they weren't), the first start from Jon Lester was probably enough, as he outpitched 19-1 (now 19-2) Max Scherzer on Tuesday in a game that felt like a playoff game, both before and during. He was very good again on Sunday, albeit without sufficient run and bullpen support to gather another Win.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 9/9/2013
Tampa Bay4.31(9)4.04(5)0.529(6)756778643
Kansas City4.05(11)3.82(1)0.527(8)756875680
NY Yankees4.14(10)4.15(7)0.498(9)717276675
LA Angels4.51(4)4.61(12)0.49(10)70726775-3
Chicago Sox3.74(15)4.35(9)0.431(12)61815785-4

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Tampa Bay8973

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

Standings for the week
LA Angels5.14(5)3.71(5)0.645(5)5243-1
NY Yankees7.14(2)6.71(15)0.528(7)43430
Kansas City4.14(9)5.29(9)0.39(11)34522
Tampa Bay3.43(14)4.57(7)0.371(12)34340
Chicago Sox2.57(15)4.86(8)0.238(15)2516-1

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