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Friday, May 31, 2013

Miles: Dale Sveum, meet Pythagoras

Hypotinuse or not?

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.”

 

Repoz Posted: May 31, 2013 at 02:03 PM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brewers, sabermetrics

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   1. Brian C Posted: May 31, 2013 at 02:53 PM (#4457045)
Well, one thing's for sure, and that's that Sox fans have to be wondering what hit them this week. Along come the lowly Cubs and WHAM! the Sox get clubbed like proverbial baby seals. I know it doesn't mean much in the scheme of things but it's fun. And I don't even hate the Sox.
   2. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: May 31, 2013 at 03:28 PM (#4457101)
Its going to look even weirder after today cubs are up 7-0
   3. Kiko Sakata Posted: May 31, 2013 at 03:35 PM (#4457112)
I have very little doubt that the Cubs actual and Pythagorean records are going to converge toward each other. But I'm not sure which record is going to move toward the other. Wood and Feldman probably aren't going to finish the year with ERAs under 3, but Jackson's ERA will almost certainly be below 6. I doubt Luis Valbuena's a true-talent 127 OPS+ guy, but Castro's better than an 81 OPS+. Schierholtz's and Hairston's numbers are likely to regress in opposite directions (Hairston's already did today). I'm still skeptical about most of their bullpen, but who the heck knows with bullpen guys. I'm finding myself much more interested in how the Cubs are doing than I expected to be before the season.
   4. Brian C Posted: May 31, 2013 at 04:07 PM (#4457148)
I'm finding myself much more interested in how the Cubs are doing than I expected to be before the season.

Same here. Last year was interesting to me in a reset-button sort of way, like it's interesting to watch a building being demolished to make way for something else. But while I don't expect a run at contention or anything from this year's team, I find it pretty easy to get behind them. They're competitive at least, and from time to time they're actually fun to watch.

   5. zonk Posted: May 31, 2013 at 04:12 PM (#4457153)
If only they traded that Castro guy....

....kidding!
   6. Spahn Insane Posted: May 31, 2013 at 04:26 PM (#4457172)
What Brian C said. Echoes my sentiments exactly.

And while I don't advocate trading Castro, he's in a pretty nasty slump. I hope he pulls it together soon. I'd suggest dropping him down in the order for a spell, but I don't know who I'd advocate in his place in the 2 hole. Schierholtz? Sweeney, when he's in the lineup?
   7. Kiko Sakata Posted: May 31, 2013 at 04:31 PM (#4457178)
I'd suggest dropping him down in the order for a spell


It's a shame the Cubs don't have anybody else who can play a passable shortstop (although Barney and Valbuena could probably fake it okay), because I think Castro could stand to have a day off every now and then. He played every game last year and there were times where I thought a day off here or there would have done him some good and I suspect the same is true this year. Not a "benching", just a day off every 2-3 weeks.
   8. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 31, 2013 at 04:38 PM (#4457184)
I agree with No. 7. Walt Weiss has insisted that Troy Tulowitzki take a day off every week or two, and he's having a career year. I think you're likely to get as much out of a guy for 155 games as you do out of 162.
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: May 31, 2013 at 04:41 PM (#4457189)
I think you're likely to get as much out of a guy for 155 games as you do out of 162.


Yeah, I was going to say that I doubt there's anyone who wouldn't stand to benefit from a day off every few weeks. If I were a skipper, I think everyone would sit one out now and then. I think it's good for the player, and probably good for the manager.
   10. SouthSideRyan Posted: May 31, 2013 at 04:50 PM (#4457199)
Barney was a shortstop his entire career. And pretty good at it too IIRC.
   11. Spahn Insane Posted: May 31, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4457202)
I'd have to think Barney could handle short for the occasional game with Valbuena at second.
   12. SouthSideRyan Posted: May 31, 2013 at 05:16 PM (#4457218)
Actually, Ransom has played more SS than anywhere else in his major (and minor) league career.
   13. Spahn Insane Posted: May 31, 2013 at 05:49 PM (#4457244)
Interesting. OTOH, he's 37 (!), so I'm not sure how capable he'd be at short at this point. (I was surprised to learn he was that old; then again, when he first showed up on the roster, my first thought was "Wasn't he a failed prospect with the Giants in, like, 2004?" Turns out I was right.)
   14. Spahn Insane Posted: May 31, 2013 at 05:52 PM (#4457245)
Talk about late peaks--60 percent of Ransom's career home runs (15 of 25) have come in the last season + 2 months.
   15. Spahn Insane Posted: May 31, 2013 at 05:57 PM (#4457248)
Ransom just misses being the oldest Cub--he's about a month younger than Soriano. Other than those two, Gregg and DeJesus are the only ones born in the '70s. If that don't make a brother feel old.
   16. Steve Treder Posted: May 31, 2013 at 08:29 PM (#4457357)
Yeah, I was going to say that I doubt there's anyone who wouldn't stand to benefit from a day off every few weeks. If I were a skipper, I think everyone would sit one out now and then. I think it's good for the player, and probably good for the manager.

I couldn't possibly agree more. Playing all 162 is almost certainly a suboptimal idea for just about any ballplayer.
   17. McCoy Posted: May 31, 2013 at 09:45 PM (#4457443)
I mentioned it in the other thread but the Cubs are going through a pretty one sided "blowout" phase this month. Out of the 53 games they played this year 10 of them have been blowouts with the Cubs winning 8 of them. Also all 8 of those wins have come in May and the two losses happened in April. So 8 out of the 13 games the Cubs won this month were by blowout. 6 of the 8 victories happened at Wrigley.

When the Cubs aren't putting up crooked numbers they are underperforming their pyth by 3 games. If the Cubs could get some consistentcy out of the lineup they actually not be that bad of a one year team. As far as the future goes most of it either doesn't matter or is a little worrisome.

Castro is struggling, Barney has turned into a pumpkin, and Jackson is struggling. On the positional side anything DeJesus, Soriano, Valbuena, and Schierholtz do is largely meaningless to 2014 and beyond. For the pitchers Feldman won't be here and outside of Russell you got nothing in the pen you'd want in 2014 and beyond.

The bright side is Castillo is doing okayish, Rizzo, Samardzija, Wood, and Russell.
   18. SouthSideRyan Posted: May 31, 2013 at 10:01 PM (#4457476)
So the Cubs underperform their pythag when you take out their blowout wins. Just like the other 29 teams.
   19. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: May 31, 2013 at 10:12 PM (#4457499)
Barney has turned into a pumpkin

Darwin Barney was always a pumpkin.
   20. McCoy Posted: May 31, 2013 at 11:25 PM (#4457559)
So the Cubs underperform their pythag when you take out their blowout wins. Just like the other 29 teams.

No, the Cubs are underperforming their pythag in non blowout games. Take out the 10 blowout games (8 wins AND 2 losses) and pyth says they should have won 24 games out of the 43 non blowout games. They actually won 21 games.

Not just like the other 29 teams.

Darwin Barney was always a pumpkin.


True and what I felt he was all along but WAR and various fans really liked him last year.
   21. McCoy Posted: May 31, 2013 at 11:33 PM (#4457563)
I also forgot to mention that during those blowout victories the pitchers have hit really well.

In the 7 blowout wins the Cub pitchers have had this line, .389/.389/.722 with 4 runs and 10 RBI. The rest of the time the pitchers have hit .134/.155/.317 with 7 runs and 9 RBI.

   22. SouthSideRyan Posted: June 01, 2013 at 12:58 AM (#4457602)
Yeah, I wasn't reading that right. I don't think there's anything the Cubs can do to make themselves more "consistent," nor does a good record portend a fall-off in the near future.
   23. McCoy Posted: June 01, 2013 at 01:12 AM (#4457607)
Well, get better players and they'll become more consistent.
   24. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: June 01, 2013 at 06:31 AM (#4457632)
True and what I felt he was all along but WAR and various fans really liked him last year.

Yeah 29 rfield, even if accurate, is not sustainable. And I have no idea how bref got a 76 OPS+ to add up to 1.5 oWAR (fangraphs have him right around replacement level fwiw). He's 4 points lower this year, and negative so far. That's over 2 wins difference projecting out the full season, for a 4 point drop? Baserunning and dps can explain about a quarter of the difference, but that's about it. And no way pfs have shifted that much in 2 months.

He's basically a replacement level bat. At that level you need to be the best fielder in the league at your position, just to reach average.You could have talked me into projecting him at +10 fielding at most. At that level, he is a utility infielder.
   25. Walt Davis Posted: June 01, 2013 at 08:27 AM (#4457638)
And I have no idea how bref got a 76 OPS+ to add up to 1.5 oWAR (fangraphs have him right around replacement level fwiw).

18 Rrep + 6 other stuff + 4 Rpos - 12 runs of hitting.

At the moment, for god only knows what reason -- Sean you sure about this -- Wrigley is carrying a 120 PF for this year.
   26. McCoy Posted: June 01, 2013 at 08:53 AM (#4457640)
A ton more runs have been scored at Wrigley than on the road this year but I thought Sean doesn't use this year's PF until after the season.
   27. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: June 01, 2013 at 09:36 AM (#4457648)
So the Cubs underperform their pythag when you take out their blowout wins.

The two best ways to underperform a pythag is to do unexpectedly well in blow outs and unexpectedly poorly in close games. The Cubs are doing both right now.

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