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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rob Neyer: AL pitchers feasting on NL?

Have you noticed something strange lately? Seems like every time a starting pitcher does something fantastic, he just happens to be pitching for an American League team against a National League team.

Just my imagination? To check, I scanned ESPN.com’s scoreboard pages, from last Friday through last night’s games, looking for headlines in which the winning starting pitcher was mentioned. I found 15. See if you notice any sort of pattern ...

No, it’s not scientific. No, the list doesn’t include fine games pitched by the likes of National Leaguers Matt Cain and Brad Thompson (or for that matter, American Leaguers Kevin Millwood, A.J. Burnett, Brad Bergesen, and Brian Bannister). But among the 15 starting pitchers who made headlines for winning, 12 made headlines for pitching brilliantly (or near-brilliantly) against National League teams. Jered Weaver threw his first shutout, Luke Hochevar needed only 80 pitches to dispatch Cincinnati, and Gil Meche threw his third shutout in 225 career starts. CLiff Lee took a no-hitter into the eighth, and Felix Rodriguez took a one-hitter into the ninth.

Sure, it’s only 15 games, and 15 games that were subject to the whims of ESPN.com’s headline writers. But I mean, c’mon. It’s obvious, isn’t it, that the American Leaguers are playing a different game? A better game?

sigh.

Tripon Posted: June 17, 2009 at 08:54 PM | 226 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. BringBackTimTeufel Posted: June 17, 2009 at 10:17 PM (#3222784)
Says Rob to someone who saw the Tigers pitching staff up close and personal this weekend.
   2. Boots Day Posted: June 17, 2009 at 10:30 PM (#3222794)
Jason Marquis would have become the NL's first nine-game winner on Saturday night after he threw seven innings of one-run ball against the Mariners, except that the bullpen blew the 3-1 lead. The Rockies won anyway, but the fact that Marquis wasn't in the headline is evidence of AL superiority.

Similarly, the fact the Ubaldo Jimenez went the distance to beat the M's on Friday, and the fact that Jason Hammel (!) allowed the Mariners only one run on Sunday, also show how much better the AL is. If those guys were any good, they'd be in headlines.
   3. Steve Treder Posted: June 17, 2009 at 10:34 PM (#3222799)
There may be substantial and persuasive evidence that "American Leaguers are playing a different game, a better game." This ain't it.
   4. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 17, 2009 at 10:42 PM (#3222804)
There may be substantial and persuasive evidence that "American Leaguers are playing a different game, a better game." This ain't it.


Agreed.
   5. Hugh Jorgan Posted: June 17, 2009 at 11:08 PM (#3222829)
#4 and #5, spot on.
Needless to say there are countless articles that other posters(who are less lazy than I am) will bring up showing how the AL betters the NL year in, year out.
It's kind of odd sometimes how the guy who helped popularise some sabermetrics will revert to the "But I mean, c'mon" and "not scientific" arguments once in awhile. For us from overseas it almost has that American aw shucks type of feel to it...
   6. McCoy Posted: June 17, 2009 at 11:18 PM (#3222836)
So is Neyer becoming your standard sports journalist now? Simply writing to fill space regardless of content.
   7. Northpaw Posted: June 17, 2009 at 11:24 PM (#3222842)
So is Neyer becoming your standard sports journalist now? Simply writing to fill space regardless of content.


He did hold out longer than most of the Prospectus gang.
   8. Chris Dial Posted: June 17, 2009 at 11:42 PM (#3222861)
I guess he missed Fernando Nieve handcuffing the Yankees. Oh, he looked at the paper on a different day.

Basically, thus far, the AL is feasting on the extra teams in the NL - the Baaaaaaad ones. The Nats are 1-6, the Padres are 0-4 and the Astros are 0-4. Great - last place teams getting pumped. The *other* 13 teams are +2 games on the AL.

The AL beating the NL overall is largely a function of expansion/dilution.

Another stupid, stupid thing in what Rob wrote is that Grienke went forever before he gave up a run this season - ALL against the AL.
   9. Kolmo Posted: June 17, 2009 at 11:52 PM (#3222867)
Basically, thus far, the AL is feasting on the extra teams in the NL - the Baaaaaaad ones. The Nats are 1-6, the Padres are 0-4 and the Astros are 0-4. Great - last place teams getting pumped. The *other* 13 teams are +2 games on the AL.


Yeah, the Mets totally deserved making the playoff the last couple of years if not for the season being dragged to 162 games.
   10. Kirby Kyle Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:09 AM (#3222883)
AL regular-season winning percentages against the NL over the past five seasons:

2005 .540
2006 .611
2007 .544
2008 .591
2009 .556 so far

It's a bit surprising that the AL has maintained such a healthy margin over the NL for that long a period.
   11. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:11 AM (#3222889)
It's a bit surprising that the AL has maintained such a healthy margin over the NL for that long a period.
Page 1 of 1 pages


we've had this discussion a couple of times this week. I personally think the AL has an innate homefield advantage because the dh, others argue differently. And last season the AL feasted on extra games by the lesser teams and this season as post 9 pointed out, they have been feasted on the worse teams.
   12. McCoy Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:14 AM (#3222898)
I've always wondered and have always been too lazy to actually find out what the most common matchups were based on winning %. In otherwords how often does a .590 AL team play a .420 NL team and vice versa.
   13. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:16 AM (#3222899)
we've had this discussion a couple of times this week. I personally think the AL has an innate homefield advantage because the dh, others argue differently.

What do the home-road splits look like? Is the NL over .500 in its home games?
   14. Hugh Jorgan Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:16 AM (#3222900)
I personally think the AL has an innate homefield advantage because the dh

Its a sound argument as the NL squads basically throw a league average hitter out there in the DH spot when in an AL stadium. In the NL stadiums, many of the NL pitchers hit just as poorly as the AL ones so the AL doesn't lose too much ground. Of course guys like Zambrano are the exception to this.
   15. Kirby Kyle Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:22 AM (#3222904)
I personally think the AL has an innate homefield advantage because the dh, others argue differently. And last season the AL feasted on extra games by the lesser teams and this season as post 9 pointed out, they have been feasted on the worse teams.

Neither of those arguments hold up well to scrutiny, although I'll grant that there's still a lot of interleague play to go this year, and the margin may not match those of prior years. Naming three NL teams that have done poorly is cherry-picking -- Houston is a .500 team against NL opponents. Does Oakland (1-6) get thrown out of the comparison as well? The DH argument isn't convincing either. All NL teams carry pinch-hitters, and one could argue that AL pitchers are at a significant disadvantage by not having much experience at the plate. I'd be curious, though, to see how AL pitchers compare to NL pitchers in hitting performance. I'd also like to see the home/road splits that Eric J suggests.
   16. Kurt Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:23 AM (#3222905)
Dial seems to be defining "extra" NL teams as those teams specifically handpicked for their bad interleague records, given that all three franchises have been in the league for thirty years. Also, if the Astros are so bad, what does that say about the rest of the NL, which is exactly .500 against them?
   17. Chris Dial Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:23 AM (#3222908)
Kirby is right - the AL had a good run (the NL was dominant up to that run), but the "extra" teams really add to that significantly.
   18. Chris Dial Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:25 AM (#3222910)
Dial seems to be defining "extra" NL teams as those teams specifically handpicked for their bad interleague records, given that all three franchises have been in the league for thirty years.
That's of course, complete horseshit. I went to B_R and looked at the bottom of the NL. THere's no subterfuge there.
   19. Chris Dial Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:26 AM (#3222913)
The DH argument isn't convincing either. All NL teams carry pinch-hitters
Are you arguing that pinch hitters perform (could or should) in an equivalent manner to DHs?
   20. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:30 AM (#3222920)
Neither of those arguments hold up well to scrutiny, although I'll grant that there's still a lot of interleague play to go this year, and the margin may not match those of prior years. Naming three NL teams that have done poorly is cherry-picking -- Houston is a .500 team against NL opponents. Does Oakland (1-6) get thrown out of the comparison as well? The DH argument isn't convincing either. All NL teams carry pinch-hitters, and one could argue that AL pitchers are at a significant disadvantage by not having much experience at the plate. I'd be curious, though, to see how AL pitchers compare to NL pitchers in hitting performance. I'd also like to see the home/road splits that Eric J suggests

I disagree, I think the arguments hold up pretty well. The NL has more teams and have 4 teams each season play 3 extra games, last season the three teams that played the extra games were among the worse in baseball (Giants, Nationals, Houston, and Padres--only Astros were worth a crap) So the Al had extra games against the NL's worse.

and the counter to the DH argument is silly. The American league teams can develop a professional hittter for a DH, for a Nl team to have a guy of an Ortiz quality sitting on the bench because he can't play defense is an utter waste of a roster spot, for a league that does a lot more switching of players. Sure there are occassions where an AL team has to bench one of it's best bats in a few NL games, but even that can be an advantage as a team now has an elite level pinch hitter if needed. To deny the advantage is ridiculous in my opinion, it's clearly there. Does it completly negate the superiority that the AL has shown over the past few years? of course not.
   21. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:31 AM (#3222921)
So your contention is that the best 13 teams in the NL are as good as the AL? That's probably true.

Maybe part of what's going on is that "The NL is as good as the AL" is ambiguous. What does that mean? That the average NL player is as good as the average AL player? That the best NL team is as good as the best AL team? That it's just as easy for an abstract team to make the playoffs in the NL as in the AL? That an abstract team in the AL would have the same record as the same team in the NL?
   22. Alberto Gilardino Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:38 AM (#3222926)
Kirby, I kinda agree with you about the cherry-picking teams bit, although there might be more there. However, there is a huge difference in advantage for the AL team in the other point.. the AL DH is way better than the NL 1st-guy-off-the-bench, and this difference is not negated by the supposed NL pitchers are better hitters than AL pitchers. I don't have the numbers, but it's not even close. On average, your NL pitcher might be more used to hitting, but he is not going to be significantly better than any pitcher from the AL who comes up to bat in an NL ballpark. But over the past few years, AL DHs are guys like Hafner, Ortiz, Matsui, Thome, Thomas, even Juan Rivera or Kubel/Cuddyer.. etc. There are no NL pinch hitters who are close to that level. On an average interleague night, with 7.5 games in AL parks, that's 30 extra ABs from those levels of players against guys like Olmedo Saenz, Mike Sweeney, Tony Clark, Matt Stairs, Juan Cruz, etc. That will skew the win percentage for the AL significantly.

The AL game is not better.. it is just different. As a soccer player growing up, we had a similar problem that I think explains this difference as well. I played indoor 5 on 5 soccer, but we'd play tournaments sometimes and most tournaments play 6 on 6 indoor soccer. Because our teams were used to playing 5 on 5, and most of the best players in our leagues did not want to come off the bench, our 6th best guy was average at best, and some years dreadful. The other teams usually had 6 guys who would be starters on other teams in their leagues and that difference always showed in tournaments, if not so much in one off matches. Hope that analogy is not way off.. I think of the AL/NL discrepancy in that light... it's just a different game with different rules.
   23. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:39 AM (#3222928)
So your contention is that the best 13 teams in the NL are as good as the AL? That's probably true.

anyone that tries to make a claim like that almost always gets blasted, according to some the AL is so much superior to the NL that the Kansas City Royals would be contending for best record in the NL. And teams like the White Sox, Rays, Blue Jays, Angels, Red Sox, Yankees, Twins, Rangers would be making a mockery of the NL.
   24. Kirby Kyle Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:40 AM (#3222932)
Are you arguing that pinch hitters perform in an equivalent manner to DHs?

Pinch-hitters have hit significantly worse than DHs in both the AL and NL this year and last, and I think that's generally true. In my opinion that has to do with the role, not the quality of hitter. Presumably a pinch-hitter is kept on the bench because he can hit, and if such a player is put in as DH and allowed to get four or five appearances against pitchers of varying quality, he'll see the same boost whether he's in the NL or AL.
   25. Kurt Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:44 AM (#3222938)
That's of course, complete horseshit. I went to B_R and looked at the bottom of the NL. THere's no subterfuge there.

If you want to define "extra" teams as the ones at the bottom of the standings (excluding Arizona and Pittsburgh), be my guest. I'd say it's a bit like the Big East snarfing up as many teams as they can and then proclaiming themselves as the "best" conference because their top ten teams match up with anyone; "extra" teams like DePaul, Rutgers and South Florida don't count.

Random odd note on interleague play - the NL hasn't feasted on the AL's last place teams at all. From 2006-2008, 8 of the 9 last place AL teams were .500 or better against the NL, including all three 100 loss teams.

-----

The DH argument isn't convincing either. All NL teams carry pinch-hitters...

NL teams can't pay their pinch hitters eight figure salaries.
   26. Chris Dial Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:46 AM (#3222941)
Presumably a pinch-hitter is kept on the bench because he can hit, and if such a player is put in as DH and allowed to get four or five appearances against pitchers of varying quality, he'll see the same boost whether he's in the NL or AL.
That's fair, that he'll see some boost over PH, but the AL isn't taking a PH and making him a DH. They employ DHs, which has to be a distinct advantage. Someone with half a brain (not me) can tell you want NL DHs hit.
   27. Alberto Gilardino Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:47 AM (#3222943)
Pinch-hitters have hit significantly worse than DHs in both the AL and NL this year and last, and I think that's generally true. In my opinion that has to do with the role, not the quality of hitter. Presumably a pinch-hitter is kept on the bench because he can hit, and if such a player is put in as DH and allowed to get four or five appearances against pitchers of varying quality, he'll see the same boost whether he's in the NL or AL.

This is not true. It has everything to do with quality. Your average DH is a better hitter than your average bench guy. I don't think too many people will argue that. If the bench guy would be as effective as a DH batting 4 times everyday, he'd be batting 4 times everyday.
   28. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:50 AM (#3222952)
I guess he missed Fernando Nieve handcuffing the Yankees. Oh, he looked at the paper on a different day.


RTFA, Chris. That's one of the 3 NL headlines.
   29. Chris Dial Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:51 AM (#3222954)
If you want to define "extra" teams as the ones at the bottom of the standings (excluding Arizona and Pittsburgh), be my guest.
Just don't accuse me of cooking the books.
I'd say it's a bit like the Big East snarfing up as many teams as they can and then proclaiming themselves as the "best" conference because their top ten teams match up with anyone; "extra" teams like DePaul, Rutgers and South Florida don't count.
Except there's a big difference in how teams get placed in MLB ratehr than NCAA.
   30. Chris Dial Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:52 AM (#3222956)
RTFA, Chris. That's one of the 3 NL headlines.
Your expectations are OUTRAGEOUS!
   31. Kirby Kyle Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:59 AM (#3222977)
I decided to look up the league splits for the years 2006-2008, focusing on pitchers and DHs. We can assume that nearly all hitting stats for AL pitchers and (of course) NL DHs were from interleague play. Here are the overall OPS splits for the two leagues (AL first):

2008 756/744
2007 761/757
2006 776/761

For DHs:

2008 775/716
2007 802/787
2006 819/675

For Ps:

2008 312/354
2007 361/366
2006 328/341

There are big problems with independence in these numbers (AL DHs face NL pitchers and vice versa), but they do appear to support the idea that AL DHs have an advantage over their NL counterparts. In some years the edge is greater, like in '06 when the AL laid waste to the NL. In '07, though, the difference was nearly negligible. On the other hand, there seems to be only a minor difference in hitting by pitchers.
   32. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: June 18, 2009 at 01:00 AM (#3222980)
Your expectations are OUTRAGEOUS!


That's nothing. Wait till you see my expectorations! [/groucho]
   33. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: June 18, 2009 at 01:01 AM (#3222983)
I'd say it's a bit like the Big East snarfing up as many teams as they can and then proclaiming themselves as the "best" conference because their top ten teams match up with anyone; "extra" teams like DePaul, Rutgers and South Florida don't count.

This is a good analogy. I can't tell whether or not the BE's proclamations in that case are reasonable or not either (I would vote yes.) It depends on what the meaning of "best" is.
   34. AROM Posted: June 18, 2009 at 01:01 AM (#3222984)
The DH would be a clear advantage for the AL if every AL team kept a Pronk Ortiz type as a DH, and the NL was filling that roster spot with guys who can pinch hit, play 1st,3rd, and corner OF, say Greg Norton. But not every team has that. Some teams just rotate guys through the DH spot. The average DH this year is hitting 250/337/436. Last year it was 256/339/435, so that's no fluke. Basically a league average hitter.

NL DH's hit:

2009 234/306/368
2008 242/314/402
2007 274/343/444
2006 243/311/364

So overall, about a 250/320/400 player, slightly below average hitter, which makes sense since you are playing a hitter who otherwise would not be in the lineup. This advantage, if it were the only difference, should make the AL a .505 or .510 league against the NL. It does not come close to explaining the observed .560-.570 recent advantage.
   35. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: June 18, 2009 at 01:05 AM (#3222993)
NL DH's hit:

2009 234/306/368
2008 242/314/402
2007 274/343/444
2006 243/311/364


Don't NL teams sometimes use the DH to give a regular player a rest from fielding? To the extent that they do that, it should result in the rest of the lineup producing less. (Of course, that's true of AL teams as well, but it wouldn't affect the normal production of their lineups, because they do it all the time, not just in interleague games.)
   36. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: June 18, 2009 at 01:08 AM (#3222996)
I thought that the typical player performed worse at DH (or is that just pinch hitting)? If I'm right (always a dubious assumption) then this would still be a significant advantage for the AL, especially since first-hitter-off-the-bench is probably quite a bit worse than a league-average hitter.*

* - DH numbers won't necessarily reflect this, since a lot of NL teams choose to have an out-of-position DH (like an end-of-career Bonds, or a Dunn) play DH while a guy off the bench fills their spot in the field.
   37. Alberto Gilardino Posted: June 18, 2009 at 01:08 AM (#3222998)
Kirby, thanks for looking up the numbers. I was curious but being lazy :). One other way that the DH also makes a difference is how a lineup looks and how you pitch to it. I'm going to cherry-pick here, but I think the point stands, but if the Dodgers are playing the Red Sox last year (or in the past 3-4 years) their DH is Ortiz who bats 4th and protects Manny in the lineup. The NL would have Sweeney or Saenz batting 7th or 8th usually. Numbers aside, I would have to think a pitcher facing the two lineups would pitch differently to the other players in the lineup as well. The impact (or the difference in impact) is huge. I would think this applies if your DH is any of those guys I mentioned earlier. Your team OPS goes up, I would think, even if these players perform similarly, because no one is pitching around Manny if Ortiz is on deck, but you can pitch around Martin or Ethier if they are followed by Sweeney or DeWitt.
   38. Kiko Sakata Posted: June 18, 2009 at 01:19 AM (#3223010)
"the AL DH is way better than the NL 1st-guy-off-the-bench, and this difference is not negated by the supposed NL pitchers are better hitters than AL pitchers"

The counterbalancing NL advantage in NL parks is that AL teams have to sit one of their better hitters - e.g., Thome, one of Ortiz, Youk, or Lowell, etc. - because they don't have the DH slot. If you assume, for example, that an AL team and an NL team have the same payroll for non-pitchers, the NL team can afford a slightly better quality of starters because they only have to pay for 8 starters whereas the AL team has to spread their budget over 9 starters.
   39. Chris Dial Posted: June 18, 2009 at 01:19 AM (#3223011)
This advantage, if it were the only difference, should make the AL a .505 or .510 league against the NL.
Sure, but it isn't. There's the bottom of the league as well, where they create/exacerbate the difference. IN one year, they *double* the AL win differential. Those two characteristics do go a long way to take the shine off those differences.
   40. Chris Dial Posted: June 18, 2009 at 01:20 AM (#3223013)
that AL teams have to sit one of their better hitters
No they do not.
   41. Kiko Sakata Posted: June 18, 2009 at 01:23 AM (#3223017)
No they do not.


I'm pretty sure that Ozzie Guillen isn't going to try putting Jim Thome at third base this week.
   42. The Buddy Biancalana Hit Counter Posted: June 18, 2009 at 01:32 AM (#3223034)
So is Neyer becoming your standard sports journalist now? Simply writing to fill space regardless of content.

I think you're underestimating the shock value of a Royals fan watching Luke Hochevar throw an 80-pitch complete game. Had I space to fill I would try and make sense of this. Because I don't I can accept that this does not make sense and carry on with existence.
   43. Rough Carrigan Posted: June 18, 2009 at 01:33 AM (#3223036)
Maybe the AL just has more teams putting out serious money than the NL and trying to build a really good team not just a team that *might* contend for a wild card.
   44. Kurt Posted: June 18, 2009 at 01:39 AM (#3223042)
The counterbalancing NL advantage in NL parks is that AL teams have to sit one of their better hitters - e.g., Thome, one of Ortiz, Youk, or Lowell, etc. - because they don't have the DH slot. If you assume, for example, that an AL team and an NL team have the same payroll for non-pitchers, the NL team can afford a slightly better quality of starters because they only have to pay for 8 starters whereas the AL team has to spread their budget over 9 starters.

Sure, the AL is disadvantaged by its "extra" starter. But if you compare the AL team's best 8 starters to the best 8 starters on an NL team, the AL would probably come out ahead.
   45. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: June 18, 2009 at 01:40 AM (#3223045)
Sigh... somehow I knew I'd end up doing this. Home/road splits from interleague for the last 3 years:

2008: NL 56-70 home, 47-79 away
2007: NL 61-65 home, 54-72 away
2006: NL 58-68 home, 40-86 away

So there's an average home-field advantage of about .045 - that is, NL teams win 9% more often at home than on the road. But NL teams have a losing record at home every year, so it obviously doesn't explain the entire difference.
   46. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2009 at 01:40 AM (#3223046)
So overall, about a 250/320/400 player, slightly below average hitter, which makes sense since you are playing a hitter who otherwise would not be in the lineup. This advantage, if it were the only difference, should make the AL a .505 or .510 league against the NL. It does not come close to explaining the observed .560-.570 recent advantage.

well since I'm the one that brought up the DH, you will note that I also said it doesn't explain away all the advantage, but it does make a difference. Not sure if I agree either about it only being a .510 difference but I know it's not a .570 difference.

The counterbalancing NL advantage in NL parks is that AL teams have to sit one of their better hitters - e.g., Thome, one of Ortiz, Youk, or Lowell, etc. - because they don't have the DH slot. If you assume, for example, that an AL team and an NL team have the same payroll for non-pitchers, the NL team can afford a slightly better quality of starters because they only have to pay for 8 starters whereas the AL team has to spread their budget over 9 starters.

I even touched on this, and understand that some AL teams will have to bench one of their best hitters, but it's also somewhat negated by the better Pinch Hitter on the bench allowing them to choose a place for one of their best bats to make a difference.
   47. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2009 at 01:45 AM (#3223052)
Sure, the AL is disadvantaged by its "extra" starter. But if you compare the AL team's best 8 starters to the best 8 starters on an NL team, the AL would probably come out ahead.

You think so? I'm not so certain about that. I wouldn't doubt that the Red Sox or Yankees come out well in that comparison, but I just don't see the Angels, Rays or Tigers coming out better.
   48. Kirby Kyle Posted: June 18, 2009 at 01:45 AM (#3223053)
Thanks for getting those numbers, Eric. That's a rather large deficit for NL teams when all game conditions are in their favor. When they're on the road, well, never mind.
   49. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2009 at 02:02 AM (#3223066)
I'll join Kirby in thanking Eric for this (prevents me from doing it tomorrow)

So there's an average home-field advantage of about .045 - that is, NL teams win 9% more often at home than on the road. But NL teams have a losing record at home every year, so it obviously doesn't explain the entire difference.

again, agreed that it doesn't explain the entire difference but it does cover some of the gap.
   50. zonk Posted: June 18, 2009 at 02:05 AM (#3223069)
Frackin' Jon Danks sure did today. Jeebus. My hatred for this edition of the Cubs grows daily.
   51. Kiko Sakata Posted: June 18, 2009 at 02:07 AM (#3223071)
So there's an average home-field advantage of about .045 - that is, NL teams win 9% more often at home than on the road.


How does that compare to intra-league home-field advantages? That looks about the same as what I thought typical home/road splits were (I thought home teams won 53-54% of games). If so, that really surprises me. I would have thought that both AL and NL teams would have bigger homefield advantages in inter-league from the combined advantages of being at home and having their roster set up specifically for the rules of their own league.
   52. Kirby Kyle Posted: June 18, 2009 at 02:07 AM (#3223072)
It won't hold up, but so far tonight the AL is 4-1 against the NL. The lone NL win was by, yep, the Nats. Over the Yankees. On the road.
   53. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2009 at 02:19 AM (#3223074)
It won't hold up, but so far tonight the AL is 4-1 against the NL. The lone NL win was by, yep, the Nats. Over the Yankees. On the road.

if the Tigers didn't have Granderson, the Cardinals would be pretty sure of winning their game tonite.
   54. Chris Dial Posted: June 18, 2009 at 02:20 AM (#3223077)
I'm pretty sure that Ozzie Guillen isn't going to try putting Jim Thome at third base this week.
But he can. They don't "have to sit" him.
   55. Erik, Pinch-Commenter Posted: June 18, 2009 at 02:22 AM (#3223079)
The AL is simply better because on the average they spend more money competing with each other. The NL is like a closed ecosystem that gets invaded by a foreign species for which it has no defense! The AL has to spread their money out over 9 starting position players compared to 8 in the NL, thus no built in advantage, but the AL teams are likely still spending more on each position anyway.
   56. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2009 at 02:36 AM (#3223086)
The AL is simply better because on the average they spend more money competing with each other. The NL is like a closed ecosystem that gets invaded by a foreign species for which it has no defense! The AL has to spread their money out over 9 starting position players compared to 8 in the NL, thus no built in advantage, but the AL teams are likely still spending more on each position anyway.

using Espn numbers I come up with AL averaging 93mil, and NL averagin 84mil. But almost all of that is made up by the Yankees. If I drop the Yankees equal to the second highest payroll(Mets) the AL average comes down to 89mil. And if I drop the bottom two teams from the NL making it 14 teams the NL goes to 88 mil. The average is in favor of the AL by a large amount, but the difference is made up at the extremes (Yankees on top, Florida and San Diego on bottom.)

of course this also ignores the Dice-K bonus which isn't included in payroll.
   57. kthejoker Posted: June 18, 2009 at 02:41 AM (#3223090)
Since the AL is empirically doing better than the NL, isn't the better question what the *expected* win percentages for the respective leagues in the current interleague games thus far *should be*?

For previous years, just use team win percentages for each team minus interleague play and Monte Carlo to assign win percentages to each game. (Yeah I'm lazy, somebody do it.)

If it shows 55/45 AL/NL, then there's no surprise in the results. If it's more 50/50, then the AL is getting some sort of additional advantage by fact of it being interleague.
   58. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2009 at 02:55 AM (#3223094)
For previous years, just use team win percentages for each team minus interleague play and Monte Carlo to assign win percentages to each game. (Yeah I'm lazy, somebody do it.)

If it shows 55/45 AL/NL, then there's no surprise in the results. If it's more 50/50, then the AL is getting some sort of additional advantage by fact of it being interleague.


only problem with that is that people are arguing that the AL is inherently superior and doing it the way you are suggesting would be assuming that the two leagues are equal.

think of it this way there is a league of teams made up of 16 years old that have the exact same name as the Nl teams and the same record, if the al teams was playing these guys and you do what you are talking about you would be treating the 16 year old team as if they are equals. Of course in my scenario the AL will win even more games, but to automatically assume that the difference is because of an advantage of interleague would be wrong. (the advantage in my scenario would be attributed to superior competition)
   59. AROM Posted: June 18, 2009 at 03:06 AM (#3223098)
But he can. They don't "have to sit" him.


If Ozzie plays Thome, then he has to sit Konerko. Angels sit Vlad in NL parks. If Vlad were healthy enough to play the field, then Rivera or Abreu has to sit. If Red Sox don't sit Ortiz, then they have to sit Lowell or Youkilis. One way or another, almost every team that loses the DH rule has to sit one of their better hitters.
   60. Tripon Posted: June 18, 2009 at 03:07 AM (#3223101)


If Ozzie plays Thome, then he has to sit Konerko. Angels sit Vlad in NL parks. If Vlad were healthy enough to play the field, then Rivera or Abreu has to sit. If Red Sox don't sit Ortiz, then they have to sit Lowell or Youkilis. One way or another, almost every team that loses the DH rule has to sit one of their better hitters.


The Angels are a team that has Robb Quinlan, and Macier Izturis batting DH, and 3rd in the lineup.
   61. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: June 18, 2009 at 03:10 AM (#3223107)
The White Sox can't play Jim Thome in the field. He's not healthy enough to do it- his back is totally screwed up. He can barely run the bases.

Even when Paul Konerko missed two games in Milwaukee this weekend, Jim Thome didn't play. This isn't a David Ortiz "we're going to protect our guy from fielding whenever possible" situation. This is a "he's not capable of bending over to pick up the ball" situation.

In any case, I don't know if the value of having an extra pinch-hitter is really that high. How many at-bats does that come into play? How many extra hits is that? How many extra runs? A half-dozen? Less?

I think what it boils down to is that the NL doesn't have an equivalent of the Yankees or Red Sox, and the AL doesn't have an equivalent of the Nationals or Pirates. The other teams are fairly interchangeable.
   62. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: June 18, 2009 at 03:20 AM (#3223113)
Tripon, you sure sigh a lot.
   63. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2009 at 03:27 AM (#3223121)
Even when Paul Konerko missed two games in Milwaukee this weekend, Jim Thome didn't play. This isn't a David Ortiz "we're going to protect our guy from fielding whenever possible" situation. This is a "he's not capable of bending over to pick up the ball" situation.

and if this was the nl, one of their best hitters would be on the dl. So the White Sox can have a legitimate great hitter for a pinch hitter who if it was an NL team would have to bring up a minor leaguer to take his spot.

In any case, I don't know if the value of having an extra pinch-hitter is really that high. How many at-bats does that come into play? How many extra hits is that? How many extra runs? A half-dozen? Less?

not sure what the numbers are, but it's higher leveraged, the AL team is more than likely going to have a better bat on the bench and is going to be able to pick the best opportunity to take advantage of that advantage. It probably isn't much, but having the better bat on the bench is something helpful. Basically almost all the advantages for interleague play take advantage of the construction of the AL rosters. (and it doesn't mean they are better, because if the AL went to 162 games under NL rules they would almost have to change their roster construction costing them the advantage they get by paying for a pure bat)
   64. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: June 18, 2009 at 03:38 AM (#3223123)
Actually, if the White Sox were a National League team, they never would have gotten Jim Thome in the first place, and they would $8-10 million more to spend on other things.
   65. bookbook Posted: June 18, 2009 at 03:56 AM (#3223130)
+The DH argument isn't convincing either. All NL teams carry pinch-hitters...

NL teams can't pay their pinch hitters eight figure salaries.+

AL teams can't take the eight figures they need for a DH and reinvest it in Chase Utley or Manny Ramirez (bad example!).

NL teams, if they know what they're doing, divvy their resources for position players mostly among 8 regulars. AL teams must split the bulk of their own non-pitching resources amongst nine. All else being equal, NL teams should end up with better OFs & 1Bs & even SS and Cs because they have more money to throw at those players in free agency & relatively more prospects to trade for them.

(All else is decidedly not equal, of course. Forgetting about other aspects, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have a humongous resource advantage over the rest of baseball.)
   66. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: June 18, 2009 at 04:18 AM (#3223133)
New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have a humongous resource advantage over the rest of baseball.

I don't think the Red Sox have a real structural advantage over the very top of the NL -- the Mets and Cubs both have significantly higher opening day payrolls this year. The Yankees stand head and shoulders above the rest, really.

edit: Including a pro-rated Dice-K bonus, the Sox draw even with the Mets and Cubs, or come close to it. Forgot about that.
   67. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: June 18, 2009 at 05:05 AM (#3223144)
Its a sound argument as the NL squads basically throw a league average hitter out there in the DH spot when in an AL stadium. In the NL stadiums, many of the NL pitchers hit just as poorly as the AL ones so the AL doesn't lose too much ground.

If that's the case, that the AL teams each have one more good hitter, then that means they're better.

The interleague games use both sets of rules, half of the time each. If the AL is winning as many as they are, they are better in these games. I don't see how they have an innate advantage, unless you're saying that the games in which they have an advantage are less important.
   68. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2009 at 05:22 AM (#3223152)
The interleague games use both sets of rules, half of the time each. If the AL is winning as many as they are, they are better in these games. I don't see how they have an innate advantage, unless you're saying that the games in which they have an advantage are less important.

because baseball is a marathon. An Al team which had to play 162 games with NL rules would be at a distinct disadvantage because they don't have the defensive bench depth, it's something they can get by with a three game series, but over the course of the season keeping a big bat on the bench is not a good plan, and is a waste of resources. And of course the AL homefield advantage for DH has been stated before.

don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of interleague play, but the different rules make it a different game and tougher for the NL and a little easier for the AL to win.

again, the AL is probably superior, but head to head record will overstate this as the AL has an inherent advantage.
   69. SuperGrover Posted: June 18, 2009 at 05:47 AM (#3223159)
The DH argument isn't convincing either. All NL teams carry pinch-hitters...

NL teams can't pay their pinch hitters eight figure salaries.


Ok, then the NL should be superior at every other position because the 8 figures they aren't spending on the DH position is spread across the other 24 positions. That is logical, no?
   70. Tripon Posted: June 18, 2009 at 05:49 AM (#3223160)

Ok, then the NL should be superior at every other position because the 8 figures they aren't spending on the DH position is spread across the other 24 positions. That is logical, no?


No, of course not.
   71. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: June 18, 2009 at 07:39 AM (#3223182)
An Al team which had to play 162 games with NL rules would be at a distinct disadvantage because they don't have the defensive bench depth, it's something they can get by with a three game series, but over the course of the season keeping a big bat on the bench is not a good plan, and is a waste of resources.

But why is the standard 162 games with NL rules? Of course teams (attempt to) optimize their rosters for the rules they play under the most. But then for interleague, they split the rules, and each team has to play half the games with rules they're not optimized for (against a team that is optimized).
   72. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2009 at 07:53 AM (#3223184)
But why is the standard 162 games with NL rules?

it's not, it's to point out that there is an advantage for an AL team in a short series, that is all I've said about that. If the AL team had to play a full season under NL rules they would have problems maintaining the overall quality of their team because of the need for a bigger bench. If an NL team went to the AL it would be easier for them to play a full season. (and don't interpret that AL is better because of the DH, it's that it's different rules and allows for better roster construction to help in a short series with the other rules)

My point is that because of the rules that the AL play under they do not face as big of a challenge in a short series while using the other rules.
   73. paulkersey Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:20 PM (#3223220)
I think you (at the top of the thread) are missing something critical here: Neyer isn't writing this stuff for people like us. He's writing for ESPN.com's visitors. The distinction is crucial. It's pretty clear from his track record that Rob has better arguments for the AL's superiority than the ones he presented, but most ESPN readers are going to be hostile to anything too wonky. He gives anecdotal evidence, because many of his readers are only persuaded by such evidence. It's like, "Remember how I keep saying that the AL is the better league? Well, here's what that superiority in action." Obviously it's not scientifically rigorous, but he's not pretending that it is. Rob is a popularizer more than he's an analyst these days. And that's okay! He's in a position to change a lot more minds than Rally or Tom Tango or Sky Andrecheck and provides a more than serviceable introduction to their work. He's a jumping off point for those with sabermetric inclinations, not to mention a gifted writer. We should all be thankful that people like he and Poz exist. It's kind of like how FDR's Brain Trust had some great ideas, but none of them would have seen the light of day were it not for their boss's political skill.
   74. Chris Dial Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:36 PM (#3223227)
If Ozzie plays Thome, then he has to sit Konerko. Angels sit Vlad in NL parks. If Vlad were healthy enough to play the field, then Rivera or Abreu has to sit. If Red Sox don't sit Ortiz, then they have to sit Lowell or Youkilis. One way or another, almost every team that loses the DH rule has to sit one of their better hitters.
Again, no he doesn't. These are choices. Put Lowell at SS. Put Drew in CF and Youk in RF. You DO NOT have to sit a player - you choose to.
   75. Chris Dial Posted: June 18, 2009 at 12:37 PM (#3223228)
But why is the standard 162 games with NL rules? Of course teams (attempt to) optimize their rosters for the rules they play under the most. But then for interleague, they split the rules, and each team has to play half the games with rules they're not optimized for (against a team that is optimized).
Basically the DH vs PH gap is significantly larger than the AL pitcher/NL pitcher hitting gap.
   76. AROM Posted: June 18, 2009 at 01:30 PM (#3223266)
Again, no he doesn't. These are choices. Put Lowell at SS. Put Drew in CF and Youk in RF. You DO NOT have to sit a player - you choose to.


Why are we getting so deep into semantics here? You know what I'm trying to say. Sure, the Angels could choose to play Vlad Guerrero at 2nd base (or Vlad in OF, Juan Rivera at 2B - he's got a game there). This sort of choice is not optimal from a offense + defense perspective.
   77. AROM Posted: June 18, 2009 at 01:34 PM (#3223270)
NL teams, if they know what they're doing, divvy their resources for position players mostly among 8 regulars. AL teams must split the bulk of their own non-pitching resources amongst nine. All else being equal, NL teams should end up with better OFs & 1Bs & even SS and Cs because they have more money to throw at those players in free agency & relatively more prospects to trade for them.


If payrolls were equal (and teams in each league spent with the same efficiency) this would be true, but I think the AL has a payroll advantage as well. Maybe it's mostly from having the Yankees.

Edit: Checked Cot's

AL average = 97.1 mil, NL = 86.0
AL (other than Yankees) = 88.7
   78. ml242 Posted: June 18, 2009 at 02:23 PM (#3223345)
Sure, but the AL teams have to spend more to keep up with the yankees as well.
   79. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: June 18, 2009 at 02:28 PM (#3223354)
the AL teams have to spend more to keep up with the yankees as well.

Which makes the American League better.

There, I'm glad we resolved that.
   80. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 18, 2009 at 02:32 PM (#3223360)
I haven't checked yet, but how many starting pitchers made the ESPN.com headlines this morning? That's the only way to settle this.
   81. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 18, 2009 at 02:39 PM (#3223369)
I haven't checked yet, but how many starting pitchers made the ESPN.com headlines this morning? That's the only way to settle this.

* Jays put Halladay, Downs on DL | Beat Phils Video
* Braves players happy they won't face Smoltz
* Streaking Angels rally past Lincecum, Giants Video
* Penny gets 100th career win Video | Smoltz solid
* Rumors: Rays and Cubs into Pedro Martinez Insider

Four AL pitchers, one NL pitcher, and Pedro, depending on what league you want to put him in. Oh, and Brett Favre.

AL DOMINANCE!
   82. Chris Dial Posted: June 18, 2009 at 03:06 PM (#3223405)
Why are we getting so deep into semantics here? You know what I'm trying to say. Sure, the Angels could choose to play Vlad Guerrero at 2nd base (or Vlad in OF, Juan Rivera at 2B - he's got a game there). This sort of choice is not optimal from a offense + defense perspective.
See, I don't think this is semantics. It's important. Each team puts their *best players*. I mean, the Sox (and Angels) sit some of their better hitters *every day* due to positional constraints. Each team selects players with full knowledge of those constraints. When the Red Sox acquired all tehse players, they were aware of these constraints (including interleague play).

And really, sitting Ortiz? That seems like a plus for the Sox. The offense + defense is an important part of this, even in the context of "best hitter" because the AL teams have better hitters than their worst hitters sitting on the bench every day.
   83. Famous Original Joe C Posted: June 18, 2009 at 03:22 PM (#3223420)
Forgetting about other aspects, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have a humongous resource advantage over the rest of baseball

This is demonstrably false.
   84. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: June 18, 2009 at 03:25 PM (#3223425)
And really, sitting Ortiz? That seems like a plus for the Sox.

Ah, not so fast, my reverse pivoting friend. Have you heard? He lives!
   85. tfbg9 Posted: June 18, 2009 at 03:26 PM (#3223429)
2005 .540
2006 .611
2007 .544
2008 .591
2009 .556 so far


So, for the last 5 years or so, when the AL plays the NL, the AL figures to win that baseball game, no?
When teams from league each play each other in a game, its the AL that's been winning, and we're talking the better part
of 1000 games, right?

The AL is far better. Stop whining about the rules Dial.
   86. FBI Regional Bureau Chief GORDON COLE!!! Posted: June 18, 2009 at 03:43 PM (#3223461)
The Swarzak game has to be the most embarrassing of the lot.

The Cub offense is an abortion.
   87. AROM Posted: June 18, 2009 at 03:49 PM (#3223467)
See, I don't think this is semantics. It's important. Each team puts their *best players*. I mean, the Sox (and Angels) sit some of their better hitters *every day* due to positional constraints.


I'm confused to the point of not knowing what the heck we're arguing. I'd say Ortiz is one of the top 4-5 players on his team when the DH rule is available. When it isn't, he's not one of the top 8. Regardless, at the start of the year he projected to be the team's best hitter, and early slump or not, still probably a top 3 on the team (Bay and Youkilis may have passed him).
   88. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2009 at 04:20 PM (#3223499)
So, for the last 5 years or so, when the AL plays the NL, the AL figures to win that baseball game, no?
When teams from league each play each other in a game, its the AL that's been winning, and we're talking the better part
of 1000 games, right?

The AL is far better. Stop whining about the rules Dial.


I don't think anyone is arguing that the AL isn't better in previous years, but instead are arguing that using head to head records puts the AL in a better position because of the DH advantage. Add in the two extra teams, (last year three of the four worse nl teams played the extra series, so far this year the three worse teams in the nl are bringing the winning percentage below .500.

Heck I'm not that adverse to agreeing that the AL is superior to the Nl this year, but it's not to the level that people have been trying to argue, and head-to-head is a bullshit argument. Again the structure of interleague play unfairly gives an inherent advantage to the AL.
   89. SoSH U at work Posted: June 18, 2009 at 04:29 PM (#3223512)
Heck I'm not that adverse to agreeing that the AL is superior to the Nl this year, but it's not to the level that people have been trying to argue, and head-to-head is a ######## argument. Again the structure of interleague play unfairly gives an inherent advantage to the AL.


And I think many posters, besides you and Dial and a few other NL fans, beileve that structual advantage is being tremendously overblown, if it exists at all. Frankly, I never heard an argument about the DH being an advantage until the AL started beating the NL regularly and NL fans went in search of an argument that would explain it other than the obvious - the AL is better right now.

As for the bottom dwellers sinking the league and the number of teams impacting that number, that would carry a whole lot more weight if the two leagues had distinct supplies of talent with which to complete their rosters, and thus the talent was diluted. But they don't, so there's no reason the Nats and Pads should be worse than their cellar-dwelling counterparts in the AL.
   90. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2009 at 04:45 PM (#3223535)
And I think many posters, besides you and Dial and a few other NL fans, beileve that structual advantage is being tremendously overblown, if it exists at all. Frankly, I never heard an argument about the DH being an advantage until the AL started beating the NL regularly and NL fans went in search of an argument that would explain it other than the obvious - the AL is better right now.

I've said that the DH advantage doesn't cover the difference, it covers some of the difference along with the crappy teams getting extra games last season (explaining the big jump in records from the previous season) and I acknowledge that the AL is probably the superior league but I don't think it's anywhere near where some people are claiming. I do not, and will not ever subscribe to a whacked out theory that the Royals would be a front runner in the NL (because of the interleague record the past couple of seasons, the Royals would beat the Pirates and maybe the Reds or Astros but wouldn't be competitive)

The difference is overstated that has been and will continue to be was my point. The other point is to point out that there is legitimate difference in leagues that can (and in my opinion obviously do) affect a short series (note I do not believe that this effect counts for post season play because the teams are given a chance to optimize their rosters for the post season--so the AL advantage that matters in the regular season is muted a lot in the post season)

And the last point is to point that the NL talent is somewhat diluted because of the extra teams. I don't think dial believes that the leagues are equal, but I'm pretty sure he believes the top teams are very close (top teams I'm assuming would be Mets, Phillies, Cubs, Cardinals, Brewers, and Dodgers vs Red Sox, Yankees, Rays, Angels, Twins, White Sox and depending on how real you take them, Rangers.) The NL bottom is worse than the AL bottom, that is pretty clearly obvious.
   91. SoSH U at work Posted: June 18, 2009 at 04:56 PM (#3223548)
CFB:

I guess it comes down to what you think people think the difference is. If you're objecting to the idea the NL is some sort of minor league compared to the AL, then I'd agree, though I don't think anyone really feels that way. If you're arguing the difference is almost nothing, then I'd disagree.

I don't think the DH/no-DH distinction, extra games for crappy teams last year or any other factor is nearly as significant as the fact the AL has had better players than the NL over the past half-decade (for a variety of reasons). And just as it seems to you that some fans are overblowing the depth of difference, it seems just as clear to me that some NL fans are grasping at any explanation beside the obvious one to explain away the tremendous disparity in the interleague records over the last 5-6 years.
   92. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2009 at 04:56 PM (#3223549)
As for the bottom dwellers sinking the league and the number of teams impacting that number, that would carry a whole lot more weight if the two leagues had distinct supplies of talent with which to complete their rosters, and thus the talent was diluted. But they don't, so there's no reason the Nats and Pads should be worse than their cellar-dwelling counterparts in the AL.

agree there is no reason, but there is just odds, if you have 14 teams vs 16 teams the random odds indicate that there is a better chance that the team with more teams will have a worse team (and of course the best team, but random doesn't figure there as the Yankees and Red Sox distort randomness) And of course the other comment about the worse team was that last season the worse teams got the extra games (four teams in the NL have 18 games, the rest 15, last year the giants, Padres, Nats and Astros got those extra 3/13 games and performed really crappy. The Al still had a clear advantage but it wasn't really a ramping up from the previous years, just luck of the draw of playing the crappy teams a lot.


again the AL is superior, it's just not as massive as it was two years ago, and it's not as massive as people want to claim.
   93. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2009 at 05:03 PM (#3223562)
I guess it comes down to what you think people think the difference is. If you're objecting to the idea the NL is some sort of minor league compared to the AL, then I'd agree, though I don't think anyone really feels that way. If you're arguing the difference is almost nothing, then I'd disagree.

considering that there are people who honestly claim that the AL is so superior to the NL that any team in the Al would automatically be competitive in the NL (including the A's, Royals and Orioles) and I find that to be upsetting. I think on averrage the AL is better, I think that there is a good chance that the AL has more good teams right now, but I do not think that the AL's good teams are any noticeably better than the NL good teams.
   94. DKDC Posted: June 18, 2009 at 05:03 PM (#3223563)
What the hell is an "extra team"?
   95. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2009 at 05:06 PM (#3223565)
What the hell is an "extra team"?

teams, NL has 16 teams, the AL has 14 teams. That is two extra teams for the NL.
   96. Steve Treder Posted: June 18, 2009 at 05:08 PM (#3223567)
I don't think the DH/no-DH distinction, extra games for crappy teams last year or any other factor is nearly as significant as the fact the AL has had better players than the NL over the past half-decade (for a variety of reasons). And just as it seems to you that some fans are overblowing the depth of difference, it seems just as clear to me that some NL fans are grasping at any explanation beside the obvious one to explain away the tremendous disparity in the interleague records over the last 5-6 years.

Yep.
   97. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: June 18, 2009 at 05:09 PM (#3223572)
Frankly, I never heard an argument about the DH being an advantage until the AL started beating the NL regularly
Obviously we weren't arguing 25 years ago when I came to that conclusion :) (for the same reasons others have stated). But I agree that it is a small difference -- my gut says that its a 51-49 type advantage.

The AL is better than the NL the last 5 years. The Yankees drive the AL competition and that makes a difference plus the AL has been managed better as a whole. KC is the only silly franchise in the AL; Pittsburgh and especially the Natspos have been mismanaged horribly in the NL. And maybe it was the AL's turn.
   98. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: June 18, 2009 at 05:10 PM (#3223574)
considering that there are people who honestly claim that the AL is so superior to the NL that any team in the Al would automatically be competitive in the NL (including the A's, Royals and Orioles) and I find that to be upsetting.

"Competitive" is probably overstating it, but I think it's clear that the worst teams in the AL are superior to the worst teams in the NL.
   99. konaforever Posted: June 18, 2009 at 05:11 PM (#3223577)
And the last point is to point that the NL talent is somewhat diluted because of the extra teams.


The NL has the same pool of players to select from as the AL. Why do you keep saying that there is dilution due to extra teams? There is no separate pool of players from which the NL can chose players from that the AL can, and vice versa.

The only dilution would be from the pool of MLB players, and that affects both leagues.
   100. DKDC Posted: June 18, 2009 at 05:19 PM (#3223588)
teams, NL has 16 teams, the AL has 14 teams. That is two extra teams for the NL.


Yes, but how is that relevant to the talent disparity between the leagues? To echo Kona's point in #100, all teams draw from the same pool of players, so the size of the league shouldn't make any difference.
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