Monday, August 18, 2014
What if they gave a postseason and no team was good?
Baseball’s two richest teams find themselves at the opposite end of the scheduling spectrum. Presenting, then, a complete breakdown of the stretch schedules for all 19 – 19! – playoff contenders, going from hardest to easiest, and starting with the ...
1. New York Yankees… 2. Tampa Bay Rays… 3. Cincinnati Reds… 4. Miami Marlins… 5. Los Angeles Angels… 6. Toronto Blue Jays… 7. Seattle Mariners… 8. Milwaukee Brewers… . Washington Nationals… 10. Pittsburgh Pirates… 11. Cleveland Indians… 12. Detroit Tigers…13. Atlanta Braves… 14. Oakland A’s… 15. San Francisco Giants… 16. St. Louis Cardinals… 17. Baltimore Orioles… 18. Kansas City Royals… 19. Los Angeles Dodgers
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
CONSPIRACY THEORY: Bud Selig cancelled the World Series to avoid this embarrassing failure!
When the strike hit on August 12, 1994, the AL West had four teams with a losing record out of four, with the first-place Rangers sitting at 52-62.
That alone is bad enough, but let’s slap some context on this to drive home how absurd it would have been for the 1994 Rangers or one of the teams trailing them—after all, the last-place Angels were just 5.5 back of Texas at the time of the strike—to make the playoffs. Were the Rangers playing in a division that had even one half-decent team in it, they would have been chasing the newly introduced wild card instead of the division. Except their .451 winning percentage would have put them behind eight other teams gunning for the wild card—another way to say that is the Rangers trailed every single team in the American League for a playoff spot, except for their three pals in the AL West who were somehow worse….
What’s especially odd is where all this poor production came to be a problem. The Rangers went 21-20 against the far superior AL East, and posted a 23-20 mark against the Central, but had all of eight wins in 30 tries against their AL West opponents. They were 20-19 against teams over .500 and 32-43 against teams under that threshold, and their complete inability to beat teams that they theoretically should have was their undoing.
Thursday, May 01, 2014
This is the time of year when announcers, talk show hosts and web columnists start asking “How many games does a team need to play before we know what kind of team they really are?” So far this year, I’ve heard anything from 30 all the way to 60. I almost choked when I heard 60—at that point the season is almost 40% played, and absent drastic and unpredictable events (trades, injuries, phenoms like Yasiel Puig who totally outperform any reasonable expectation) the team has moved beyond the prediction phase to that of actual. [...]
Of the teams [since 1995, when the divisional playoff level was added] playing at less than .400 at the 60-game mark (a 23-37 record or worse), none made the playoffs. Conversely, almost 72 percent of teams with a record of 36-24 or better eventually made the playoffs. The demarcation point seems pretty clear—at the 60-game mark, teams need to be playing around .550 ball (33-27) in order to have reasonable chances of making the playoffs.
I don’t find these numbers surprising, but I’m more curious how many fewer games can be played before reasonable inferences can be made.
Posted: May 01, 2014 at 12:35 AM | 18 comment(s)
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