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May The Best Team Win...

Discussion in 'Red Sox Forum' started by ponch73, Dec 20, 2018.

  1. ponch73

    ponch73 Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    669
    Not sure this means all that much. It didn't work out so well for the presumptive favorites in '18.
     
    #1 ponch73, Dec 20, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
  2. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    4,401
    The presumptive favorites went to the ALCS. That would be a very successful season. Once you get there, anything can happen, as we all know.
     
  3. ponch73

    ponch73 Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    669
    Actually, I think they lost in the ALDS in deliciously-excruciating fashion. I'm not sure that result in 2019 would be considered "successful" on this message board, although John Farrell certainly might disagree.
     
  4. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    11,584
    The playoffs are a coin flip. If you win your division, you’ve had a very successful season. After 4 WS in 15 years, it’s about enjoying the whole summer of contention, in which every game is either meaningful or prep for the inevitable playoff run, not winning it all.
     
  5. edoug

    edoug Member SoSH Member

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    1,840
    Tell that to my nerves. For me this was the most nervous of any of the championship teams. I also enjoyed this win the most.
     
  6. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    4,401
    The Astros were the presumptive favorites. The defending champs, coming off a 103-win season?

    Check this out: https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/...es-projections-all-favor-the-dodgers-red-sox/

    Here were the Vegas odds heading into the 2018 playoffs:
    So Sox first at 3:1, then Houston at 7:2, and the Dodgers at 9:2. The Yankees were tied for fourth at 7:1
     
  7. SirPsychoSquints

    SirPsychoSquints Member SoSH Member

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    3,905
    I believe the "presumptive favorites" line was referring to prior to the season, when the Astros were 21-4


    https://bleacherreport.com/articles...ch-mlb-team-at-the-start-of-the-season#slide0
     
  8. geoduck no quahog

    geoduck no quahog Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    10,563
    I simply don't believe the whole "coin flip" concept.

    Maybe in football...or NCAA basketball, or the Wild Card play-in where single elimination can be impacted by too many outside forces.

    This year in particular, it was clear that the Red Sox were simply the better team (the best team, actually) out of all the contenders. They were also the best managed team. No one wanted to play them.

    Yes, there are individual series in baseball history where un-deserving teams happened to win. 2018 wasn't one of those years. All the better teams advanced until the Bostons took care of them.
     
  9. drbretto

    drbretto guidence counselor SoSH Member

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    8,935
    The argument I keep seeing repeated supporting the playoffs are a coin flip theory cites regular season wins compared to post season success, where the "best team" ends up winning the playoffs 25% of the time. But you can just as easily conclude that means that the best team isn't necessarily measured by number of regular season wins. I think it's a little of both working at the same time, and that's pretty obvious since they're measuring different things.

    A regular season measures the strength of a team's expanded roster as well as endurance, while the playoffs test a team's best players in a shorter series. That alone is enough to explain the results. Flukes can happen, sure, but I don't buy that it's a coin flip at all. In fact, I think someone like Eovaldi who can step in different roles as needed is exactly the kind of real advantage a team can have to stack those odds in their favor.
     
  10. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    11,584
    What is the probability that a team with a true talent of .620 win percentage will beat a team with a true talent of .600 win percentage.

    According to SABR, it’s .521

    https://sabr.org/research/probabilities-victory-head-head-team-matchups

    The probability of winning a 5 game series is then the probability of a sweep .141, + probability of winning in 4 .203, + probability of winning in 5, .195 = .539.

    That’s playoff baseball odds.

    So, it’s not a completely fair coin flip, but it’s a very modestly weighted coin flip.
     
  11. Lowrielicious

    Lowrielicious Member SoSH Member

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    3,796

    Is that really surprising?

    The difference between 600 and 620 is 3 wins over the 162 game season.
    You would expect a 5 game series between two such teams to be very evenly matched with the 620 team to have a slight edge and those probabilities bear that out.
     
  12. TheoShmeo

    TheoShmeo Skrub's sympathy case Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    12,522
    On a very simple level, baseball's uniqueness is shown by how much we all value the 108 win season. That level of winning is well below the dominance or even pedestrian division winning levels in basketball, hockey and football.

    The Pats going 14-2 is impressive but hardly unheard of. Apply that winning percentage to a 162 game season for the Yankees and John Sterling would have to call his doctor after five hours.
     
  13. Max Power

    Max Power thai good. you like shirt? SoSH Member

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    3,413
    Exactly. Baseball itself is a coin flip, whether it's regular season, spring training, the World Baseball Classic, or the playoffs. The best team isn't going to win a lot of the time. You can think it's a bad thing, but you might as well start watching a different sport, because that's what this one is.
     
  14. shaggydog2000

    shaggydog2000 Member SoSH Member

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    4,910
    The variance in winning percentage pretty much tracks the number of games a sport plays. Baseball teams are much closer together after 162 games than football teams are after 16. The has had winless and undefeated teams. And the occurrence of each has gone down as the number of games increased. Baseball is more in a .300 to .700 range. Most of the time teams are in a .400 to .600 winning percentage range. The NBA will see a .250 to .800 range. The NHL we won't get into because of ties and overtime points, etc. A 7 game series between two playoff teams close to each other in win percentage is really not enough to declare one team clearly superior, and a 5 game series or one game playoff is even worse. You factor in luck and pitching rotations and it's really hard to say the MLB playoffs are definitive in any way. But they are the best we have, and I'm not going to advocate for an 80 game playoff. You have to end a series somewhere, and 7 is just as good as any other convenient length series.
     
  15. patoaflac

    patoaflac Member SoSH Member

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    If we consider good pitching is the most relevant part of the game, and your prime pitcher is only involved in around 7 out of each 45 innings (16%), that makes baseball different to any other sport. What would happen in the NFL if the starting QB only played 16% of the snaps, or how would Barcelona do if Messi only plays 14 minutes in each game, or in 1 out of 5 games?
     
  16. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    4,401
    Here were the MLB standings in 2018 after the Red Sox had played 16 games (note: not every team had played the same amount of games):

    American League Overall
    Bos 14-2 (.875)
    LAA 13-4 (.765)
    Tor 11-5 (.688)
    Hou 11-7 (.611)
    Cle 9-6 (.600)
    Sea 9-6 (.600)
    Min 7-5 (.583)
    NYY 8-8 (.500)
    Oak 8-10 (.444)
    Det 5-9 (.357)
    Tex 7-12 (.368)
    ChW 4-10 (.286)
    Bal 5-12 (.294)
    TB 4-13 (.235)
    KC 3-12 (.200)

    National League Overall
    Ari 12-4 (.750)
    NYM 12-4 (.750)
    Pit 11-6 (.647)
    Phi 10-6 (.625)
    Col 11-8 (.579)
    StL 10-7 (.588)
    Atl 9-7 (.563)
    Was 9-9 (.500)
    Mil 9-9 (.500)
    ChC 7-8 (.467)
    LAD 7-9 (.438)
    SF 6-10 (.375)
    SD 7-12 (.368)
    Mia 5-12 (.294)
    Cin 3-14 (.176)

    I mean, that seems pretty much what it would look like in the NFL over the same amount of games.
     
  17. SirPsychoSquints

    SirPsychoSquints Member SoSH Member

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    It's still more middle-weighted than the NFL. I'm comparing against 2017 final records. All %'s are standardized to 16 games.

    Top 4 NFL show a half win more than MLB (13.01 v 12.56)
    Top 8 NFL have an extra half win (11.88 v 11.42)
    Bottom 8 NFL have a half win fewer (3.88 v 4.44)
    Bottom 4 are virtually identical at 3.65 or so

    MLB has 1 more team between .400 and .600 than NFL, even though they have 2 fewer teams. MLB has 2 more teams between .350 and .650.

    It's not as dramatic as I expected, though.
     
  18. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    4,401
    I'm not disagreeing. I'm simply saying that in a 16-game sample, even in baseball, it's gonna look pretty much like the NFL.
     
  19. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    6,701
    I'm not sure it's the fundamental nature of baseball, though, so much as the difference between a 162-game and 16-game schedule. I think back to Joe Posnanski's musings on what would happen if the baseball season were 16 weekly games, and vividly recall how similar it all sounded in the end.
     
  20. Boggs26

    Boggs26 Member SoSH Member

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    1,091
    So the next question in my mind is whether a team that goes 15-1 in an NFL season is actually dominant. Generally I think we would declare them a dominant team, what about 14-2 or 13-3? How many 15-1, 14-2, 13-3 sets of 16 MLB games were there last year? Just in the first 16 games of the season, there was a 14-2, 13-4 (was the last of those games a win or loss?), and in total 4 teams were .750 or above.
     
  21. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    20,240
    Depends on point differential in football and run differential in baseball, although in football it is very hard to have a 13+ win season without a very good point differential - I doubt you'd find a lot of 13+ win teams with the pythag of say a 9 win team. Whereas in baseball it seems much more common to see some 90 win teams with a barely positive run differential.
     
  22. SirPsychoSquints

    SirPsychoSquints Member SoSH Member

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    3,905
    It's also not apples to apples in terms of opponents. A 16 game baseball sample could easily have a very lopsided (good or bad) opponent pool.
     
  23. Papelbon's Poutine

    Papelbon's Poutine Homeland Security SoSH Member

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    17,371
    I didn’t realize Pythagorean applied to football as well, but it seems like it could be much more easily skewed in such a small sample, in either direction. You have your seed locked up so you sit guys and get blown out for last one or two games. You have injuries at beginning of season but overcome them. Baseball at least it tends to even out over literally 10x as many games.
     
  24. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    20,240
    I think it still applies. Winning a bunch of games by a field goal is very different than winning by double digits. Teams that tend to have skewed records in one score games one way or the other tend to regress toward the mean the following season. Looking at that type of thing is one of the easiest predictors of a team improving or declining the following season.
     
  25. Red(s)HawksFan

    Red(s)HawksFan Member SoSH Member

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    10,214
    Not just lopsided but limited. Depending on the sample period, we could be talking about as few as three or four opponents over 16 baseball games. An NFL team is always going to play 13 different teams in their 16 game schedule.

    Even the NFL team with the weakest schedule is facing enough variety of opponents that their record isn't all that fraudulent or misleading.
     
  26. SirPsychoSquints

    SirPsychoSquints Member SoSH Member

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    3,905
    To your point, per DVOA, the biggest difference between non-adjusted and adjusted is for OAK & PIT, which are just over a 5% difference between their ratings after adjustment (adjusted DVOA is higher than without adjustments), indicating strong opponents. In the opposite direction, it's IND at negative 7%, then HOU & CAR around negative 5.5%.

    OAK played KC & LAC twice, plus BAL & PIT & LAR.
    PIT played KC, LAC, BAL twice, NO & NE
    IND played the NFC East & AFC East, plus their own division twice, plus OAK & CIN
    HOU is the same as IND's schedule, except add Broncos & Browns
    CAR... I'm bored now

    Edit: My point is those aren't huge differences for the biggest outliers.
     
  27. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    1,204
    While the Red Sox opponents had a weighted (by games played) winning percentage of just below .500, two of their four opponents in the first 16 games Combined for a .586 percentage (190-134), the other two had a .341 percentage (110-213). In other words, no one was middle-of-the-road, which I think presents problems for your theory. If you apply the log5 method using weighted averages by games played to see how the Red Sox "should" have performed, you get approximately 142-20.
     
  28. LeastSculptedJew

    LeastSculptedJew lurker

    Messages:
    10
    Indeed. There's a new paper, How often does the best team win? A unified approach to understanding randomness in North American sport, but the blog version addresses the question for both the regular season and post-season. Short version, of the major American professional sports, MLB has the greatest proportion of chance in who wins a given game, the NBA the least. By their simulations, if the NBA had a best-of-seven series (within playoff teams), the better team would win the series ~80% of the time. The MLB would need a best-of-75 series to get that same 80% rate.

    So, that falls on the close-to-coin-flip perspective on the playoffs.
     
  29. Rasputin

    Rasputin Will outlive SeanBerry Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    29,148
    That "regular season" link begins with the line "The best team in baseball during the 2013 season was the Detroit Tigers."

    What now?

    The Red Sox had a higher win total and a higher run differential in a harder division.

    Also, it's interesting to me that the sports that are less random are the ones with higher scores and I wonder how MLB and the NHL would sit relative to each other if the NHL made teams play until someone won.

    I also wonder how much of baseball's randomness comes from an inability to concentrate playing time on your best players/hide your worst.
     
  30. Papelbon's Poutine

    Papelbon's Poutine Homeland Security SoSH Member

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    17,371
    Dude, the Tigers were a better team than the Sox that year. We beat them, but only because of Papi.
     
  31. Adrian's Dome

    Adrian's Dome Member SoSH Member

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    4,303
    The 2013 Tigers were the best team in baseball that year...if bullpens didn't count.

    Unfortunately for them, they do.
     
  32. Papelbon's Poutine

    Papelbon's Poutine Homeland Security SoSH Member

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    17,371
    I'm not sure what the following season has to do with anything - especially in football - but if you're looking solely at point differential - for pythag reasons - it's much more easily skewed in a 16 game season than a 162 game season. A couple blowout wins or losses changes things quite quickly and injuries play more of a role.
     
  33. Seels

    Seels Member SoSH Member

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    2,207
    I would not consider the most recent 15-1 team, the 2015 Panthers, remotely dominant.
     
  34. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    20,240
    They had a better point differential than 15 of the 18 Patriots teams from 2001-2018. I would say they were dominant.

    I mean look through their game log. Sure they had a few close games, not unlike the 2007 Pats. But they destroyed teams in general. +192 in the regular season. They went 8-0 at home by an average margin of +16. Handled a very good Seahawks team in the divisional then absolutely throttled a good Cardinals team by 34 in the NFCCG. They choked in the Super Bowl but that team kicked ass.
     
    #34 tims4wins, Dec 29, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
  35. Seels

    Seels Member SoSH Member

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    2,207
    They also had one of the easiest strength of schedules this century. The only easier schedules I can find are some of the Cardinals / Seahawks schedules in 2006 and 2010.

    Pro football ref has their SRS that year at 6th. Football outsiders had them at 4th in DVOA. They were 7-8-1 the year before and 6-10 the year after. This team absolutely did not kick ass. They played an easy schedule and caught lightning in a bottle. Pro football refs SRS, since 2004, has only the following Pats teams below that Panthers team: 2018, 2015, 2013, 2008, 2005.
     
  36. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    20,240
    All true. On the flip side they finished 2014 4-0 (and 1-1 in the playoffs) so they were on a 22-2 run heading into that Super Bowl. Easy schedule or not you don’t just go 22-2 in the NFL without being great. If they had finished the job they would be talked about as an all time great team and deservedly so IMO. Not all that different than the 2007 Pats who also failed to get the job done.
     
  37. snowmanny

    snowmanny Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    9,943

    It’s funny because that’s how we remember it -and there a lot of truth to that comment- because of the grand slam.

    But Ortiz had an OPS of 1.479 in the ALDS and 1.948 in the WS but only .427 against Detroit.
     
  38. patoaflac

    patoaflac Member SoSH Member

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    947
    The Lackey 1-0 game was enormous.
     
  39. Trotsky

    Trotsky Member SoSH Member

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    2,033
    This is crazy.
    ----I don't even remember the ALDS that season at all.
    ---My flawed memory is the entire offense struggling to do anything in games 1 and 2 (and the rest of the series actually) even Ortiz... but Sox starters keeping the games close and Detroit pulling their starters perpetually too early.. and then the bullpen pitching to Papi.
    ---St. Louis continuing to pitch to Ortiz when he was clearly locked in
     
  40. snowmanny

    snowmanny Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    9,943
    In the ALDS Ortiz had the grand slam and an inconsequential single in game 5. And that was it.

    Looking it up Koji was the ALCS mvp.I didn’t know they had a championship series MVP until Bradley won it this year. I assumed it was something new.
     
  41. shaggydog2000

    shaggydog2000 Member SoSH Member

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    The more scoring a game has, the lower effect a random bounce has on the final outcome. It makes a lot of sense. More trials equals less random-ness. And the fact that a dominant player can play an entire game in the NBA (or close to it) certainly makes the impact of a star larger in that sport, and why we see the same small handful of stars dominating the league for extended periods.
     
  42. Al Zarilla

    Al Zarilla Member SoSH Member

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    48,030
    Not looking up any other ALCS MVPs but Big Papi won that trophy in 2004. It’s been around for a while.

    OK, Googling tells me that they started handing out ALCS trophies in 1980 (Frank White) and NLCS in 1977 (Dusty Baker).
     
  43. johnnycomelately

    johnnycomelately lurker

    Messages:
    12
    But not just that the dominant player is playing--they repeatedly are given the ball or are featured. In basketball in particular, limitations of how many people are on the court, who is given the basketball, etc., makes for much less variance than in baseball.
     
  44. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    6,701
    Yeah I think if we had a poll, a majority of SoSHers would agree with PP that the "best team" didn't win the 2013 ALCS. We (Papi) stole the shit out of that one. Their fans probably still shake their head and say "how the hell did we lose that one?", the same way we feel about, say, the 2010 NBA finals or the Scottish Game, to say nothing of pre-2004 World Series. And that's among the Sox' own fans.

    Sometimes your team has a good week and pulls a rabbit out of their hat, and we then use that result to build retrospective narratives with terms like "guts" or "choke" or "knowing how to win", or even-worse cliches. I think it's important to remember that the best team may not always win, that that's okay, and that the chaos is part of the beauty.
     
  45. Al Zarilla

    Al Zarilla Member SoSH Member

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    48,030
    I’d bet Detroit fans got over that by the time of the next Lions kickoff or something. There are no fans like Boston fans when it comes to not being able to clear out bad stuff.
     
  46. JohntheBaptist

    JohntheBaptist Member SoSH Member

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    11,290
    The 2013 Red Sox scored more runs, won more games, and had a higher Pythag than the 2013 Tigers, in a tougher division. Tigers allowed ~25 fewer runs.

    I think the '13 ALCS gives people the aforementioned impression because DET's pitching happened to dominate the Red Sox through the first game and deep into the second until the grand slam, and everything after that seemed to break our way. But really, they won it in six and gutted their way through a bunch of tough games despite Ortiz having only one (admittedly huge) big hit.

    The 2013 Red Sox were a better team than the 2013 Tigers.
     
  47. DennyDoyle'sBoil

    DennyDoyle'sBoil Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill SoSH Member

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    25,328
    0-6 with 4 Ks going into the Benoit at bat.
     
  48. pk1627

    pk1627 Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Why don’t we just settle all games by a poll, since the actual results are so arbitrary?

    Of course the 2013 Sox were better. The Tigers gave up two (2) late grand slams, and made late errors in both of those games to lose. That is some poor playing.
     
  49. Papelbon's Poutine

    Papelbon's Poutine Homeland Security SoSH Member

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    17,371
    So the 2007 Giants were better than the Pats because they won the one game?
     
  50. brandonchristensen

    brandonchristensen mad photochops SoSH Member

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    22,434
    All I remember about the ALDS was the error by Wil Myers.
     

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