I’m not sure how far Cubs manager Dale Sveum got in mathematics with the Pythagorean Theorem. As most of you know, you can calculate a team’s “Pythagorean” or “expected” won-loss record based on its run differential. I’ll spare you the details here.
Despite their actual won-loss record of 22-30, the Cubs go into this afternoon’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks with a run differential of plus-6, having outscored their opponents 214-208. Their Pythagorean, or expected, won-loss record with that run differential should be 27-25.
“We’ve been in pretty much every single game of the year,” Sveum said. “We’ve had a couple of blowouts. It’s a very odd record for the run differential, that’s for sure, because at one point, we were 11 or 12 games under .500, and it was still really, really good. Now, we’re winning four in a row, and it comes back to earth a little bit. It’s a very strange run differential for being under .500.”
We touched on this yesterday, but the Cubs have seen 43 of their 52 games (83 percent) decided by 4 or fewer runs, 38 decided by 3 or fewer runs and 29 decided by 2 or fewer. The Cubs have gone 13-25 in games decided by 3 runs or fewer, and 18 of the Cubs’ 30 losses have been by 2 runs or fewer. The Cubs are 7-12 in 1-run games.
I asked Dale if he paid attention to the “expected” win-loss record.
“I don’t have to look at any of that; I just know by the way we’ve played,” he said. “Early on, we gave so many games away that it was tough to recover from that. The bullpen problems. Obviously, we played some pretty shady defense the first month of the season. That’s gotten better. Obviously, we’ve shored up the bullpen. Guys have been doing a good job in the bullpen. So you start winning more games that way instead of giving them away.”