Shine on me crazy lady luck

August 6th, 2007 → 2:08 pm @ // 13 Comments

For folks interested in how the Yankees are now just a half-game behind Detroit in the Wild Card, let’s look at what’s been happening over the last several months. Since July 1, New York has gone 23-10, good for a .700 winning percentage. (For the record, that’d be good for a season total of 113 wins, just off the record of 116 set by the (19)06 Cubs and the ’01 Mariners.) Add in June, and the club’s record is 39-21, which works out to a .650 winning percentage. To do this, they’ve averaged about 800 runs per game over the past several weeks.

The Sox, meanwhile, have gone 19-13 since July 1 (.593) which is still good enough to lead every division in baseball. (They’ve gone 32-27 since June 1, for a .542 winning percentage, which would only bring them to the top of the heap in the NL Central.)

So: are the Sox lucky to have a 7 game lead, or are the Yankees lucky to have gone through this torrid hot streak? The former, actually. The Sox’s Pythagorean W-L is 69-42 (they’re actually 68-43), while the Yankees P W-L is 68-42 (they’re actually 61-50). (The Baseball Reference link above explains P W-L, which is “an estimate of a team’s winning percentage given their runs scored and runs allowed,” a stat developed by Bill James that uses a team’s runs scored and runs allowed.)

That doesn’t mean that entire seven-game lead can be attributed to luck; one thing the Yankees’ record shows is the importance of a bullpen. And Torre’s continued abuse of his pitchers wouldn’t inspire much confidence in me if I were a Yankees fan (which, of course, I am not). Exhibit A: Mariano was called on yesterday to, for the eighth time this year, record more than three outs…this after Torre said in spring training that he wanted to limit the 37-year-old Rivera — who strained a muscle in his right elbow last September — to pitching in the ninth: “I’m not of a mind to use him in the eighth inning.” What’s that saying about best laid plans?


Post Categories: 2007 Season & Bill James & Oblique References to Pink Floyd Songs & Red Sox & Yankees

13 Comments → “Shine on me crazy lady luck”


  1. johnw

    10 years ago

    If Torre called on Rivera in the 8th inning with a three-run lead over the Royals, what does that say about his confidence in the rest of the bullpen? Joba Chamberlain can’t save that sorry mess by himself, even if he does turn out to be the Bobby Jenks of 2007. Indeed, if he does come up and perform well, he’ll probably pitch himself into arm surgery.

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  2. HFXBOB

    10 years ago

    Today Torre used Vizcaino for 2 full innings, even leaving him in to face 2 left-handed hitters with the game on the line. Now that Proctor’s gone, Vizcaino is the 6th to 8th inning Go-To Guy, and though he has been pitching well, he better be prepared to be abused by Torre remorselessly. And by the end of the year he will probably be ready to join Proctor as the latest member of Joe’s ‘Burn ’em out and ship ’em out’ club.

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  3. kgilpin

    10 years ago

    Strength of schedule has got to have something to do with the fact that most people intuitively feel that the Red Sox are a better team. Let’s see how the Yankees are doing after playing Cleveland away, Detroit twice, the Angels away, and the Red Sox all in August. If they still keep pace while the Sox are playing a fairly steady stream of losing teams then I’ll be more impressed.

    Reply

  4. mattymatty

    10 years ago

    I think the Yankees schedule gets more difficult soon, i.e. after Toronto (not that Toronto is as lousy as Tampa, but they aren’t Cleveland either).

    Pythagorean records are fine and good, but they’re more about predicting the future than explaining the past. I think they are often incorrectly used to do the former, rather than the latter.

    There are several differences between the Yankee team that had a bad first half and the one in the second half. A big part of that is injuries and underperformance. Abreu, Damon, Melky Cabrera and to a lesser extent Matsui all had bad first halfs, and are in the process of making up for it now.

    The Yankees rotation is also much different now with Clemens and Hughes in place of Igawa and I don’t know who.

    In short, this is a healthier and better team than in the first half. Still, they have no bench or bullpen (short of Rivera), and their manager is an idiot. This will likely get closer than the 6 games it is now, but I still like the Sox in the end.

    Seth – Check out what Buchholz did last night: 7 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. Anyone thinking about bringing him up?

    Reply

  5. Bill Pratt

    10 years ago

    You should not mix luck with statistical analysis. It’s like mixing with ammonia with bleach, fogs the head. Here is the difference. Coco was lucky he didn’t get seriously hurt and the Sox are putting up all kinds of good numbers including the one that matters most. They are the only team with a winning percentage above .600.

    There are a number of statistical analyses of offensive and defensive categories or the Pythagorean theorem you can use to explain it. Keep in mind that wacky theorem puts Arizona down 2.5 games below San Francisco instead of actually being 13.5 games ahead. A 16 game swing from theory to reality does not build confidence, statistical or otherwise.

    The most consistently accurate analysis when compared to the actual W-L record is the RPI (relative power index) because it factors in opponents strength of schedule (tip of the cap to kgilpin). At least you get the same top 6 teams in the AL (not in order which would have been nice) when comparing winning percentages and relative power indexes.

    Just look at the current rankings in strength of schedule between Boston and New York being 2nd and 17th, respectively, and you might see where a why one team is lucky and the other unlucky. I would be surprised if the Yankees play up to their season long record of .554 ball in the August stretch with 17 out of 20 games against 1st or 2nd place teams. It will be closer to .500.

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  6. redsoxrantsfromchina

    10 years ago

    Actually not much at all to do with luck. The Yankees have been feasting on a buffet of AL also-rans while Boston has been playing the likes of Cleveland, Seattle and Anaheim. The AL also rans that have been crushed by the Yankees are the same teams the Red Sox will be playing over the next month. It is really during the next 30 days that we will see if the Red Sox can put New York away for good. For more details see: http://www.redsoxrantsfromchina.blogspot.com

    Reply

  7. tinisoli

    10 years ago

    Hard not to be jittery these days. Red Sox Nation would be much more confident about this team if they could win some games with the kind of offensive authority that the Yankees are currently displaying. It’s unsettling how much the lineup is being shuffled, too. Coco’s sitting for a few nights? Why? Is it related to the Moose incident, or is he being given a breather because he tried to demolish the dugout bench last night?

    Reply

  8. rog

    10 years ago

    Let’s not forget that they’re testing for amphetamines in MLB this year. A smart manager would take the most listless individuals and sit them down…a lot…in the final two months of the season. Ortiz has been crap lately and if you think Pedroia is going to carry the team on his shoulders you’re nuts. I see Kielty providing a lot of relief in his role as the 4th OF. A lot of the jokers on that Yankee team have had considerable amounts of time off due to injuries and, thus, they’re a bit fresher. No more greenies means a lot of tired-ass players limping to the finish line.

    Reply

  9. tinisoli

    10 years ago

    Lester is shaping up to be a burden on this team. His first game back was nice, but the idea of him pitching 7 or 8 innings is a pipe dream.

    I want Bucholz and I want him NOW. Put Lester in the pen or just swap him with Bucholz.

    Reply

  10. Bill Pratt

    10 years ago

    Later in August and throughout September, we will see teams (who were previously kicked around by the Yankees) realize they have a chance to do something special unlike the last 10 years.

    Non playoff contenders will see that they could be a very real part of knocking The Big Bad Bronx Bombers out of a divisional title or better yet, a playoff spot.

    This means the Yankees will be facing both hard fighting playoff contenders and non-contenders that can take the greatest satisfaction of knocking out, of all teams, the Yankees?

    Reply

  11. Jack

    10 years ago

    Hey Seth,

    Did you see this?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/12/opinion/12pubed.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

    I know it is a pet peeve of yours.

    Reply

  12. rog

    10 years ago

    Shit! The sky is falling! Ahhhhhh!!!! Only a 4-game lead!!!

    Reply

  13. tinisoli

    10 years ago

    Wow. Lester may be a keeper after all. And how about Coco, finally getting a game-winner. The guy still looks exhausted and unhappy, even in sweet victory, but he’s been pretty great. Give the man a Gold Glove.

    Reply

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