How good have the Red Sox been, so far? Going into last night's loss, they were on a pace to win 89 games. They had experienced some bad karma, though, and their batting and pitching lines were those of a 91-win team (according to Equivalent RS and RA at BP, which is plenty accurate enough for our purposes).
And we have played a tough schedule. Obviously, we're actually been better than a 91-win team when you adjust for all the games against tough competition. How much better? What do you think? Pick a number. (If you want, cheat and go to BP's adjusted standings; as I'm about to explain again, they don't do it right.)
Here's a fact to chew on: the Sox had played 49 games. How many of those were against the 8 best clubs in MLB excluding themselves? You would expect 8/29 * 49 = 13.5.
Had they played 13 or 14 games against the other best clubs? No, they had played 35. It's now exactly 70% of their games against the top 28% of the competition.
Do you have the number?
Going into last night's game, the Sox had been, after adjusting for schedule, not a 91-win team but:
That kind of changes your perception of the team a bit, huh?
Now, BP has it as 94, which I also bet was a lot of people's guess. How could their estimate be so low? (If this sounds familiar from last year, skip it!)
Simple: they are only adjusting for SOS once. They're calculating the average offensive and defensive EqA of a team's opponents, and then adjusting for that, but they are taking those opponents stats at face value rather than realizing that all of them, too, are already in need of adjustment. What you need to do is essentially adjust everything, paste the adjusted numbers over the original, and adjust again. And do that over and over again until the numbers stop changing.
Their failure to do this causes them (and, to my knowledge, everyone else) to underestimate SOS effects by a factor of about 2 (currently; it varies with the degree of competitive imbalance).
A bit later today I'll post the complete adjusted standings as of yesterday afternoon. And I'll try to update them after every series.
Edit: I've changed the number twice ... it now includes a home / road schedule adjustment and in doing so I found a bug which was inflating the SOS a few games per 162. Before that I had a number that was including half our bad karma.
Edited by Eric Van, 06 July 2010 - 03:58 PM.