Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Pythagorean Standings

First Half Analysis

Heading into the start of the second half of the season, the Brewers' record stands at 42 wins and 46 losses, 14 games back of the St. Louis Cardinals.  They also are 7.5 games back in the Wild Card standings to Atlanta.  While there is virtually no chance of catching the Cardinals in the Central this year, the Brewers' record is not as bad as it appears to the naked eye. 

As you may or may not be aware of, the Pythagorean method (or formula) that applies to baseball is a Bill James creation that predicts a team’s wining percentage given a team's ratio of runs scored to runs allowed using the formula:

Expected Winning % = (RS^2) / ((RS^2)+(RA^2))

Pythagorean expectation is a formula invented by Bill James to estimate how many games a team "should" have won based on the number of runs they scored and allowed.  Win% is the winning percentage generated by the formula. You can then multiply this by the number of games played by a team to compute how many wins one would expect them to win based on their runs scored and allowed.

Empirically, this formula correlates fairly well with how baseball teams actually perform, although an exponent of 1.81 is slightly more accurate. This correlation is one justification for using runs as a unit of measurement for player performance.

With that explanation out of the way, here are the Pythagorean standings heading into the All Star Break:

American League East

TOR 90-72
NYY 89-73
BOS 89-73
BAL 85-77
TBD 55-107

American League Central

CWS 97-65
CLE 90-72
MIN 89-73
KCR 61-101

American League West

LAA 94-68
TEX 89-73
OAK 84-78
SEA 79-83

National League East

ATL 98-64
FLA 84-78
NYM 82-80
WAS 80-82
PHI 80-82

National League Central

STL 103-59
MIL 85-77
HOU 82-80
CHC 81-81
PIT 73-89
CIN 67-95

National League West

SDP 85-77
LAD 73-89
SFG 69-93
ARI 65-97
COL 62-100


Cleveland Indians @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Toronto Blue Jays @ Chicago White Sox
San Diego Padres @ St. Louis Cardinals
Milwaukee Brewers @ Atlanta Braves

Monday, July 11, 2005

Softball Update

We ended up playing the top team in the league on Wednesday who were undefeated. We should have beaten them, but the umpire apparently held a personal vendetta against us. I'll elaborate. First, Player A stretches a single into a double, but he didn't slide (had shorts on) -- ump calls him out when he was clearly safe. Team lets him hear about it, I said nothing 'cause I could have cared less. That just meant I might go home earlier. Two plays later, we had a speedy guy on third w/one out. The rummy at bat hits a weak chopper to third, looks runner back, and makes the play at first. The runner at 3rd takes off on the release and is safe by an entire step, not sliding, and the ump calls him out even though the tag was terribly late almost to the point of why even tagging him. Bench luckily didn't slice his throat, w/some of the guys on this team, I'm surprised it didn't happen. His explanation was that we wouldn't get any of those close calls unless we slide, even if we were safe! I let him have it after I heard his explanation. As a result, I didn't receive one strike call the rest of the game, even the obvious ones. In the bottom of the 7th, we didn't get an out, allowing 3 runs to lose the game. Thanks Blue, you blew.

And if that umpire wasn't enough, it got better this weekend during what turned out to be our elimination game for a tournament. In Racine, we play with 11 fielders, normally four outfielders and five infielders. As it happened, we started the game off with only 10, so we were behind the eight-ball from the get go (thanks, Tuna). In the 4th inning, there was a bit of an innocent tangle-up on a play at second base. The other team's runner took it personally and shoved our guy. Everything settled down pretty quick and nothing was thought of it even though both teams were warned by the umps. A couple plays later, there was a runner on first w/only one out. Ball hit back to the pitcher, throws to second to get the lead runner, but he doesn't slide and damn near tackles our same guy in his own little way of breaking up a double play. Tempers begin to flair, choice phrases were being bandied about. If the umps had any semblance of a clue about official rules, they would have called both guys out for the lead runner not sliding, but obviously that didn't happen. We get out of the inning, but after we allowed a few more runs that really shouldn't have happened. So then we come to hit, and our shortstop, who is our "vocal catalyst", singles and reaches first. Everyone on the bench could just tell what was going to happen next. Our guy coaching first even told him to go in clean at second. Well, technically he did. He looked like Carlos Lee breaking up two during a Cubs series earlier this year when he busted up Todd Walker. He slid about a foot before the bag, hard, but clean. Ump in the field immediately throws him out. First base goes ballistic on the ump, he gets thrown out. The ump was trying to defend his call by coming up with some pretty flimsy excuses saying he came in hard with both knees....and then later said that he spiked the fielder, and that he threw a sucker punch at him too. There was not one punch thrown, and how is it possible to go in with both knees AND spike someone? I didn't think he had three legs, or was carrying an extra shoe in his hand just to take a swipe at someone....So that left us with only eight fielders for the last two innings -- three outfielders, two infielders on the left side, myself to man the entire right side, and our pitcher and catcher. We only gave up 4 runs with such an alignment, and lost only 16-12 to a team that we would normally beat 9 times out of 10 if we had 11 warm bodies. Just a frustrating way to exit a tourney in which we were one of the two or three best teams out of 24.

83 45 .542 1 .548 24 11 5 5 42 .976 1.524