Thursday, July 27, 2006

An interesting statisic

Because i'm such a frigging geek (and because i'm in a fantasy league... not that those are mutually exclusive, come to think of it) I decided I would subscribe to ESPN "Insider" and did so tonight. Well, baseball guru Jayson Stark (by the way Jayson, I love your baseball acumen but you've got to lose the "y", dude) offers a series of stats indicating the leaders in various categories using the All-Star games in '05 and '06 as signposts. While there were a couple of Sox entries (Papi having the most HRs and RBIs and Papelbon with the lowest ERA for a reliever, both in the entire major league over that time period), one stat stood out for me: the Sox have the most wins with the least losses. Between the two summer classics, the Sox have been 99-62 - the best in the majors. The White Sox - the only team in the neighborhood - also had 99 wins but logged three more losses, with 65. (He only listed the top couple of teams so I don't know where the Yankees stand but i'll bet they're not too far in the rearview. They do have a knack for always being closer than they appear, no?) Anyway, I didn't expect that they had topped the crowd but I suppose it makes sense. They had a great second half last year, almost unbeatable for a stretch until the late season (and playoff) doldrums. This year... well, we all know about the general excellence tempered by some rare but significant stretches of sloppy baseball. Nonetheless, they find themselves still in the driver's seat. Therefore I think the most important aspect of this stat is that although they drastically altered their roster and game strategy this year, it hasn't hampered their success in the least. It's amazing that with the huge differences in the lineup and staff between this year and last there hasn't been some sort of alteration to their win ratio in one direction or the other. On the contrary. With the consistency, one would never know that there was such wholesale change over the winter. Has the whole offseason soap opera paid off?


LittleCuz said...

Well I certainly think the changes they made have made them a better team. I think the thing that has to be considered is that the Jays have also improved their team, and the Yankees are on par for last year as well. So that may account for the better team of this year not having a better win percentage than last years squad. I think we all agree the defense is exponentially better and the starting pitching, even with fill ins, is on par with last year. While the bull pen, at least in the closer role more stable this year as well.

Zebster said...

Were it not for all the pitching bad luck (injuries), we'd be way ahead. My concern is that if the Yanks continue to get half decent pitching, that murderers row offense is going to be enough.
The addage may be that good pitching beats good hitting, but great hitting beats good pitching and there's not much good pitching.

AA said...

Yes, but good pitching is also related to solid defense, something the Yanks are generally lacking and we are not. (Aside: Think of what Lowe could have accomplished during his good years with this crew behind him.) One of our strengths this year is that with the exception of the aforementioned sloppy periods, we are not giving away runs as a rule. Again, that's not something that the Yankees can claim, at least to the extent that we can. With all else being equal, I think that gives us a slight edge.
I could just be blindly optimistic, of course.

Zebster said...

I for one never wanted to see Lowe go. I'm just concerned that that Yankee offense is great enough to overcome whatever other problems they have. I think their liabilities will catch up with them in a short series but through a season where you face bad pitching I'm afraid they could end up winning more games than us, and the way things are looking the wild card may not be an option.

LittleCuz said...

I wouldn't count the wildcard option out yet Zeb, the Yankees are only a game and half back in the wild card, which makes the Sox tied in the race.

Now having said that I agree we have the stronger team, and better depth. I do share Zeb's concern about the Yankee offense, they win a lot of 7-5 and 8-6 games. However the stat I loved was that at one point last year, this after the All-Star break, they hadn't won a game where they scored less than 3 runs.

Good, not even great, pitching will doom the Yankees.

TrotRocks said...

At about the same winning percentage that they have now for the rest of the season, they will have 100 wins. I think that gets them into the playoffs. the wild Card is a wild card; fun. Until they play Detroit starting 8/14, they have 17 games that I think they should win 2/3 of.