Thursday, August 12, 2004

Running out of time

Typing SoX in the last post made me remember to discuss an anomoly that's been going on for most of the year. If you go to the standings for the AL East, then today (12 August 2004) you'll see the lines:

Team        W  L  Pct GB  RS  RA
NY Yankees 72 41 .637  - 625 551
Boston     63 50 .558  9 643 542

That's right, the Red Sox have scored more runs than the Yankees and given up less, in the same number of games. However, the Yanks are 9 games up. If you use the Pythagorean rule, which is probably the most holy writ in Sabermetrics, over 113 games we should have

Team        W  L  Pct GB
Boston     66 47 .584  -
NY Yankees 64 49 .566  2

where I rounded off to the nearest integer. You see that Boston is slightly underperforming, while the Yankees are, alas, overperforming by 8 games or so. This isn't out of line. Someplace, Bill James says that the Pythagorean rule is accurate to +/- 10 games over a season. So the numbers aren't all that out of wack.

Red Sox fans are, however, allowed to consider this another cruel twist of fate.

Without Wikipedia I'd have nothing to say.