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True Unadjusted Standings or...The Path To The Playoffs


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#1 DeJesus Built My Hotrod


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Posted 29 July 2010 - 09:25 PM

This thread is meant to chart the Red Sox path to the playoffs. In short, this is pulling together several discussions in other threads about how Boston needs to perform from here on out to play in the second season. Feel free to take a crack at their upcoming schedule, discuss the strength of upcoming opponents or forecast the performance of the Sox competitors for playoff spots.

That said, we should really leave concepts like "karma" and luck out of the discussion given that we already have a thread for that (as a side note, its a term I suspect Yankee fans get a laugh out of when gazing at this site because...well, lets put it this way - many here would make fun of the concept if they saw it on a NY board. It sounds a bit like sour grapes). While luck certainly plays a role in how baseball teams perform, its a nebulous concept and the nature of what constitutes "luck" is open to debate. While some of you might feel that the Sox have been unlucky to date and have underperformed as result, the fact remains that if the playoffs were to start today, Jeter would be suiting up and the Red Sox would be playing golf.

To kick things off, here are the current standings for the top three teams in the A.L. East:

A.L. East Standings
A.L. East W L Pct GB Home Road East Cent West Streak L10
New York Yankees 64 36 0.640 -- 34-16 30-20 22-12 15-9 16-8 Won 1 7-3
Tampa Bay Rays 63 38 0.624 1.5 30-20 33-18 25-13 20-8 11-6 Won 6 8-2
Boston Red Sox 58 44 0.569 7 30-20 28-24 20-21 10-9 15-9 Won 3
6-4



Here are the A.L. Wildcard standings:

A.L. Wildcard Standings
American League W L GB Left
Tampa Bay Rays 63 38 -- 61
Boston Red Sox 58 44 5.5 60
Minnesota Twins 56 46 7.5 60
Toronto Blue Jays 53 49 10.5 60
Oakland Athletics 51 49 11.5 62
Detroit Tigers 51 50 12 61
Los Angeles Angels 52 52 12.5 58



And here is the Sox remaining schedule:


Sox Remaining Schedule
Date Opponent
Fri, 7/30 Tigers
Sat, 7/31 Tigers
Sun, 8/1 Tigers
Mon, 8/2 Indians
Tue, 8/3 Indians
Wed, 8/4 Indians
Thu, 8/5 Indians
Fri, 8/6 at Yankees
Sat, 8/7 at Yankees
Sun, 8/8 at Yankees
Mon, 8/9 at Yankees
Tue, 8/10 at Blue Jays
Wed, 8/11 at Blue Jays
Thu, 8/12 at Blue Jays
Fri, 8/13 at Rangers
Sat, 8/14 at Rangers
Sun, 8/15 at Rangers
Tue, 8/17 Angels
Wed, 8/18 Angels
Thu, 8/19 Angels
Fri, 8/20 Blue Jays
Sat, 8/21 Blue Jays
Sun, 8/22 Blue Jays
Mon, 8/23 Mariners
Tue, 8/24 Mariners
Wed, 8/25 Mariners
Fri, 8/27 at Rays
Sat, 8/28 at Rays
Sun, 8/29 at Rays
Tue, 8/31 at Orioles
Wed, 9/1 at Orioles
Thu, 9/2 at Orioles
Fri, 9/3 White Sox
Sat, 9/4 White Sox
Sun, 9/5 White Sox
Mon, 9/6 Rays
Tue, 9/7 Rays
Wed, 9/8 Rays
Fri, 9/10 at Athletics
Sat, 9/11 at Athletics
Sun, 9/12 at Athletics
Mon, 9/13 at Mariners
Tue, 9/14 at Mariners
Wed, 9/15 at Mariners
Fri, 9/17 Blue Jays
Sat, 9/18 Blue Jays
Sun, 9/19 Blue Jays
Mon, 9/20 Orioles
Tue, 9/21 Orioles
Wed, 9/22 Orioles
Fri, 9/24 at Yankees
Sat, 9/25 at Yankees
Sun, 9/26 at Yankees
Mon, 9/27 at White Sox
Tue, 9/28 at White Sox
Wed, 9/29 at White Sox
Thu, 9/30 at White Sox
Fri, 10/1 Yankees
Sat, 10/2 Yankees
Sun, 10/3 Yankees


Simplifying the concept from another thread and making the assumption (please feel free to attack it) that Tampa and Minnesota are Boston's main competition for the wildcard, here is how the three teams need to perform over their remaining games to get to various win levels:

Wining Percentage Needed To Get To 95 Wins And Above
Wins Rays Win % Sox Win % Twins Win %
95 0.525 0.617 0.650
96 0.541 0.633 0.667
98 0.574 0.667 0.700
99 0.590 0.683 0.717
100 0.607 0.700 0.733



Can the Sox do it? I believe its possible but its a big hill to climb. Furthermore, its pretty clear that Tampa needs to collapse harder than URI during a second inning stroll for the Sox to have a chance.

Edited by DeJesus Built My Hotrod, 29 July 2010 - 09:30 PM.


#2 Eric Van


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Posted 29 July 2010 - 10:05 PM

That said, we should really leave concepts like "karma" and luck out of the discussion given that we already have a thread for that (as a side note, its a term I suspect Yankee fans get a laugh out of when gazing at this site because...well, lets put it this way - many here would make fun of the concept if they saw it on a NY board. It sounds a bit like sour grapes). While luck certainly plays a role in how baseball teams perform, its a nebulous concept and the nature of what constitutes "luck" is open to debate.

Well, of course the Yankee fans would laugh because they wouldn't bother to read the explanation.

There is absolutely nothing nebulous about karma as defined in the other thread.

Simply speaking, a team's hitting and pitching statistics are much better predictors for future won / lost record than past won / lost record is. "Karma" is simply the difference between the expected won / lost record based on the hitting and pitching statistics (which we can calculate with a great deal of precision), and the actual won / lost record.

It used to be believed that karma had no predictive value but it's now understood that about 10% of it does, because it represents real situational play like better baserunning (and, ahem, 3B coaching), and optimal vs. suboptimal use of situation-dependent defensive strategies like guarding the line and playing the infield in.

So we regard a team's true talent level as 90% its expected W/L based on hitting and pitching stats, and 10% actual W/L.

The adjusted standings count all the karma that has already happened but make an adjustment for the fact that only 10% of it can be expected to help teams win for the rest of the schedule. (This is different from the way BP does it. I would indeed laugh at an adjusted standing that said Team X "really finished first" because of a karma adjustment. You play the games. You win or lose the games. Everything counts, and at the end of the season the True Adjusted Standings will be using only a Strength of Schedule adjustment.)

We have actually had better hitting and pitching stats than the Rays so far, and even when you throw in 10% of karma it's a dead heat. But they have had much better karma and hence lead us by 5 games. However, when you adjust for the fact that only 10% of karma-so-far can be expected to carry over for the last two months of the season, that 5 game lead is really the equivalent of a 3.5 game lead in terms of difficulty of overcoming, if both teams continue to play precisely as well as they have.

I think this thread is very much needed but folks should understand that the edge the Rays have on us is about 1.5 games less than it appears to be. Think in terms of how much better we would need to play than them, to overcome a 3.5 game edge (4 after tonight), not 5 / 5.5.

#3 Tudor Fever

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 10:07 PM

Good summary, DJBMH. The Rays are almost as good as the Yankees, though, and only 2 games (as of now) behind, so catching up to the Yankees is not really a whole lot less likely a path to the playoffs.

Not to overstate the obvious, but the series on August 6-9 is huge. The Sox will be desperate to win the series, and the MFY will realize that if they take at least 3, they can pretty much assure themselves of a playoff spot. On August 10, we should have a good sense of whether this season will be (a) epic or (b) 2006 redux.

Another point is that the Sox have very little margin of error in terms of taking care of business against teams like Detroit and Cleveland. The Rays and Yankees have been ruthlessly efficient in their dispatching of those guys this week, and the Sox can't afford to be any less ruthless.

Edited by Tudor Fever, 29 July 2010 - 10:26 PM.


#4 Saints Rest

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 10:07 PM

Can the Sox do it? I believe its possible but its a big hill to climb. Furthermore, its pretty clear that Tampa needs to collapse harder than URI during a second inning stroll for the Sox to have a chance.

If the Sox can focus on making up one game in the standings per week, there is plenty of time. Heck, even two games every three weeks. Get it down to 3 games or less by Sept 1. Then anything is possible.

Or just focus on winning or splitting every series. If they were to do that (win 2 games in every single series), they would finish with 96 wins. I'd take that.



#5 Paul M


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Posted 29 July 2010 - 11:31 PM

How does one reconcile karma with the fact we are 7-13 vs. our chief competition? Looking ahead, that needs to change dramatically and I just don't like the way we match-up vs. the Rays. Tampa seems to be gaining their second wind but they seem to be featuring a line-up that looks light on paper with Zobrist and Upton ailing some. They have the solid buffer but we all know playoff odds can change even in the final 2 weeks. That said, Tampa is 3 times more likely to make the playoffs as things stand right now (per BP). I do like just focusing on getting to 96 wins and not worrying so much about who we are catching though we have 16 left or more than 1/4 of the remaining games.

#6 behindthepen


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Posted 30 July 2010 - 07:03 AM

I'll cross-post my post from the Misc thread:

Love coolstandings. Today's Sox report: http://www.coolstand...id=BOS&date=728

Interesting stats:
Playoff chance: 21% (TB 81%, ny 90%)

Win% of Remaining schedule: .514 (TB .502 ny .514)

H/A games: 31/29 (TB 32/30, ny 31/31)

Remaining W Coast games: 6 (Sea, Oak)+ 3 @ Tex (TB 7 LAAA AND Oak, ny 0, but 5 games left @TEX)

A lot of that looks bad for the Sox. The main reason is that they have 10 games left vs. ny and 6 vs. TB, including 7 games at Le Toilette. The Sox should be able to put up a decent winning percentage in the 44 games they have left vs. everybody else, so this season is going to come down to how many wins they can get in those 16 games, beginning with the 4 game series in ny starting 8/6.

TB and ny play each other 10 more times as well, and while TEX has play the Beasts of the East 11 more times, they also have 9 more games vs. SEA.

and to add on to my original post, yes, Eric, I understand that the win% of our schedule isn't very predictive, but it does show that none of these teams have a cakewalk the rest of the way out. To me, the most important fact is that the Sox have a lot of control over their playoff destiny with those 16 games remaining vs ny and TB.

#7 luckysox


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Posted 30 July 2010 - 07:20 AM

The most encouraging thing about the remainder of the season and how we match up vs. other teams is our starting pitching. It's finally, mercifully, the way it was supposed to be waaaaaaaaaaaay back in March. Beckett is back and really looks strong. Lackey is finally performing the way we expected he would. Lester continues to be as advertised. Buchholz seems to have figured it out in the last 6 innings of his 2nd start off of the DL and now has confidence again (a major key to success for him). Dice has been dealing. And none of it looks flukey lately. This is how good these guys really are (especially if Dice has really found his groove and can stay in it). The starting pitching will be the key - because even with a craptastic mid-innings bullpen, we can and should win at least 2 games in each series. There will not be very many games where the starting pitching match-up isn't at least a wash, and in the majority of games, the match-ups favor the Sox quite a bit. I trust this starting pitching. This team was built for them to carry the Sox, and they are finally looking like they will do so. I like our chances with this schedule, even with Tampa and MFY as strong as ever and standing directly in our path.

Edited by luckysox, 30 July 2010 - 07:20 AM.


#8 SeanBerry


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Posted 30 July 2010 - 07:30 AM

A couple of things:

-The karma/adjusted standings thing is laughable, it's hard to put into words. Oh, the Cubs would have trouble in the AL East? No shit. Thanks. The Red Sox play in a tough division. We knew this in March. It's July 30th. We still know this. Thanks.

-The Rays have been insanely lucky when it comes to the health of their starting pitching. Not one TB pitcher has missed a start yet. Can this stay the course the rest of the season? One reason why even one starting pitching injury might not derail the Rays is that Jeremy Hellickson is 12-3, 2.45 in AAA this year. Even questionable long reliever Andy Sonnanstine has an ERA+ of 101.

-Let's shoot for 96 and see where the cards lie.

#9 bosockboy


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Posted 30 July 2010 - 08:03 AM

24-7 at home.....16-13 on the road. That probably gets us in with 98 wins. We have to absolutely maul these homestands....anything less than 6 of 7 against Detroit and Cleveland will be a disappointment. Have to sweep the Baltimore's and Seattle's at home as well. Normally that sounds greedy and unreasonable, but it's necessary now.

It won't be easy....but looking at the schedules I think that's the path. And they have to win the TB series at home and it would help to do it on the road, otherwise splitting those 6 just has as start at 5.5 back with 54 to go instead of 60.

#10 SoxCrank

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 12:14 PM

In all likelihood, the Red Sox will need a 2-game lead on the Rays by September 23. It will be exceedingly difficult to make up any ground those last 10 days because ...

All of the Red Sox final 10 games are versus current first class teams and 7 of those games are on the road:

3 at Yankees
4 at White Sox
3 vs. Yankees

Meanwhile, all of the Rays final 10 games are versus current last place teams and 7 of those 10 games at home:

3 vs. Seattle
3 vs. Orioles
4 at Royals

Moreover, Seattle and the O's are pathetic on the road (they have the two worst road records in the AL).

#11 BucketOBalls


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Posted 30 July 2010 - 02:26 PM

In all likelihood, the Red Sox will need a 2-game lead on the Rays by September 23. It will be exceedingly difficult to make up any ground those last 10 days because ...

All of the Red Sox final 10 games are versus current first class teams and 7 of those games are on the road:

3 at Yankees
4 at White Sox
3 vs. Yankees


It's possibly the MFY will be locked in by then, and rest some guys. Especially for the last series. But yeah, Tampa Bay's cakewalk kinda is a problem there. The probably don't lose more than 2 in the last 10.

This team needs BIG win streak (10+), or a lot of medium ones. (5+). 2/3 is normally good, but it's not going to cut it her. Maybe trade some cash to Detroit to swap divisions for a year. :D

It's certainly possible they make it, and cool standings might be a bit pessimistic, as they don't know about guys getting healthy...but I think the sox are below 50% at this point. Maybe 30% at best.

#12 OttoC


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Posted 30 July 2010 - 03:31 PM

The Red Sox have had one 6-game winning streak this year, one 5-game, two 4-game (this does not double-count streaks). Given the performance of their bullpen, this should not be surprising.

And going by expected records based on Pythagorean Method variations and my Strength of Schedule calculations, the club is currently not especially close to Tampa Bay. All the metrics I used show the Rays from 9.1 to 11.3 games ahead of the Red Sox. This does not mean that Boston could not get hot but it does suggest that Tampa Bay would need to go into a nosedive to lose second place in the division. I tried using phrenile's tabilizer but something is working incorrectly so I didn't bother. Pythagenpat and SOS with games remaining adjusted for home and away records both give 9.1 games behind.

#13 StupendousMan

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 06:53 PM

Simply speaking, a team's hitting and pitching statistics are much better predictors for future won / lost record than past won / lost record is.


This comparison of several very simple predictors indicates that, 102 games into the season, simply extrapolating the current won/loss record does just as well as more complicated methods involving the number of runs scored and allowed. That naive method yields a prediction which has a standard deviation only +/- 5 games around the actual final record.

Would you care to show us data supporting your claim to "much better predictors"?

#14 Max Power


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Posted 30 July 2010 - 07:25 PM

It used to be believed that karma had no predictive value but it's now understood that about 10% of it does, because it represents real situational play like better baserunning (and, ahem, 3B coaching), and optimal vs. suboptimal use of situation-dependent defensive strategies like guarding the line and playing the infield in.

So we regard a team's true talent level as 90% its expected W/L based on hitting and pitching stats, and 10% actual W/L.


But that's on average. Not every single team will have exactly 10% of its actual W/L record "karma" based. The things you've mentioned, baserunning, positioning, coaching, etc. are actual skills. It could be that the Red Sox just really, really suck at those things and they'll continue to underperform what's expected from their pitching and hitting stats.

That's what Stupendous Man is getting at. The won loss record after 102 games encapsulates hitting and pitching skills along with those soft skills. Often you are what the record says you are.

Edited by Max Power, 30 July 2010 - 07:26 PM.


#15 BucketOBalls


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Posted 30 July 2010 - 11:01 PM

But that's on average. Not every single team will have exactly 10% of its actual W/L record "karma" based. The things you've mentioned, baserunning, positioning, coaching, etc. are actual skills. It could be that the Red Sox just really, really suck at those things and they'll continue to underperform what's expected from their pitching and hitting stats.


We know part of the "karma" is real. Tim Bogar. I suppose it's possible he could improve, so it may not be predictive. But still: real.

#16 Eric Van


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Posted 31 July 2010 - 06:38 AM

I want to remind folks that this team went 38-18 (.679) from May 3 to July 3, despite Ellsbury missing all but 3 games, Cameron missing all but 19, Beckett missing all but 2 of his 11 starts, Dice-K missing a pair, and Pedroia missing the last 6 games, VMart the last 4, and 'Tek the last 2 (and Hermida the last 20 although that hardly hurt). As discussed in another thread, a similar pace including 4 of 6 from the Rays should be enough to overtake them, and a similar pace .with Beckett and Ellsbury back and Cameron healthier plus a minor trade improvement or two (not to mention a possible big improvement from Lackey whose seasons recently tend to divide into a a sucky vs. great chunk) should be eminently doable.

#17 Eric Van


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Posted 31 July 2010 - 06:56 AM

This comparison of several very simple predictors indicates that, 102 games into the season, simply extrapolating the current won/loss record does just as well as more complicated methods involving the number of runs scored and allowed. That naive method yields a prediction which has a standard deviation only +/- 5 games around the actual final record.

Would you care to show us data supporting your claim to "much better predictors"?

But none of the methods in that study used expected runs scored and allowed, and a lot of the karma is the difference between actual and expected runs.

In fact, that study compares a bunch of methods you'd expect to get increasingly inaccurate as the season drew to a close, because they stubbornly refuse to take as a given the actual record so far. Yes, "more complicated methods," but not smart ones.

The smart way is to take the W/L that has already happened and use a mixture of expected runs scored and allowed (90%) and actual W/L (10%) to predict the remaining games. Which is exactly what I'm doing in my True Standings Thread (with the results scaled to current number of games played rather than 162).

And yes, on average 10% of karma is real and that may vary from team to team (the Angels seem to outperform consistently). But a lot of it is hitting with RISP and that has been shown to be very prone to random fluctuation at the team level.

#18 Buzzkill Pauley

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 07:07 AM

We know part of the "karma" is real. Tim Bogar. I suppose it's possible he could improve, so it may not be predictive. But still: real.


Another real part of "karma" is also the still-unimproved bullpen.

I think between Bogar and the bullpen, the team lacks whatever "clutchiness" factor would be necessary to make up for the extremely damaging injuries the Sox faced this year. Exhibit A: Wakefield torpedoing Ortiz last night.

Over a five or seven game series, sure they could overcome it, but consistently over another 59 games? I will hold onto my skepticism -- especially looking at the Ray's home stretch.

Sure they could go on a run without any major trades, and they need to now. Because realistically, to make the playoffs they need to be 4 games over either the Rays or 1 over the Yankees before the third week of September.

#19 Paul M


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Posted 31 July 2010 - 08:10 AM

Eric, from May 3 - July 3rd what is the winning % of those teams they played, and adjusting for home/away? They won't have National League teams the rest of the way and they have 19 games vs. TB, NY, and TEX to go.

#20 bosockboy


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Posted 31 July 2010 - 08:20 AM

Eric, from May 3 - July 3rd what is the winning % of those teams they played, and adjusting for home/away? They won't have National League teams the rest of the way and they have 19 games vs. TB, NY, and TEX to go.


I was just going to say that stretch included a 13-5 interleague run. The path I believe is 24-7 at home and 16-13 on the road. And we are 0-1 already....so 800 ball at home from here out. In fact, I think they have to win these next six before they hit the road, which is actually fairly doable.

However, one thing not mentioned in all of this is that if the Rays get red hot, it's over. If they pull off a 10 of 12 stretch, we're done.

#21 Red(s)HawksFan

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 08:33 AM

However, one thing not mentioned in all of this is that if the Rays get red hot, it's over. If they pull off a 10 of 12 stretch, we're done.

Fair point. And considering the Rays have won seven straight and nine of their last 12, that stretch might be right now. If they can really continue the hot play through this series against the Yankees and the Twins, it won't matter how many games the Sox win in their homestand.

Then again, as the Rays get hot, maybe the Yankees cool? Winning as many games as possible is still the ultimate agenda. If the Sox get hot and do go 40-19 from here on out, and the Rays and Yanks still manage to stay ahead of them, it just wasn't in the cards.

#22 DeJesus Built My Hotrod


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Posted 31 July 2010 - 01:11 PM

Updating on Trade Deadline Day. Note that I included the Yankees because there is a very real chance that Tampa is in first in the A.L. East shortly.

Wild Card Standings (Includes NYY)
Team W L Winning % WCGB Rem. Games
NY Yankees 65 37 0.637 - 60
Tampa Bay 64 38 0.627 - 60
Boston 58 45 0.563 6.5 59
Minnesota 57 46 0.553 7.5 59
Toronto 54 49 0.524 10.5 59


And the wins these teams need to get to reach 95 wins or above:

Wining Percentage Needed To Get To 95 Wins And Above
Wins NY Win % TB Win % Bos Win % Minn Win % Tor Win %
95 .500 .517 .627 .644 .695
96 .517 .533 .644 .661 .712
97 .533 .550 .661 .678 .729
98 .550 .567 .678 .695 .746
99 .567 .583 .695 .712 .763
100 .583 .600 .712 .729 .780


Let's hope the gang at the bash cheers this team on to a badly needed victory...

And hope that a pack of rabid hungry zombies are at the game in Tampa. They sure could use the gate...

#23 Eric Van


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Posted 01 August 2010 - 07:15 AM

And the wins these teams need to get to reach 95 wins or above:

Love that table, but what would be even extra awesome would be one showing what win percentage we need to tie TB given various outcomes against them head-to-head.

In the left column you have all the final win totals for TB along with the corresponding win % in the games that aren't head-to-head.

There are four columns, one each for 6-0, 5-1, 4-2, and 3-3 head-to-head results.

And the table would show what win% we would need, again in the non-head-to-head games, to end up with the same number of wins as TB.

I think it will show that it's arguably even likely if we go 6-0, very doable if we go 5-1, a challenge if we go 4-2 .... but this is the table that will tell you when it becomes out of our hands and when we need help from elsewhere. Obviously, if you are 5.5 games behind someone you play 6 more times, it hasn't yet gotten to that point.

#24 Carroll Hardy


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Posted 01 August 2010 - 09:25 AM

Keep it simple: we've got to play 10% better than Tampa. If they play .600 ball, we've got to play .700 ball. And whether they play .600 ball comes down to their rotation. They have had 5 guys make all 103 starts. All with at least 113 IPs, and four of them have 133+. If Madden can continue to give the ball to those guys, their pen remains rested and effective and we are done. But if the workload wears a couple of their guys down, then the walls might start closing in.

#25 someoneanywhere

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 08:56 PM

Just a gut feeling or a sense and nothing more: but if they can somehow beat up the Tribe to the tune of a sweep, they've got a chance to go into the Toilet within say 3.5 games of a spot. If they can keep it there or shorten it a bit come September, they're right there. But they need to make up some ground here, of the Giant Leaps for Mankind variety.

#26 RedOctober3829


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Posted 01 August 2010 - 09:02 PM

Just a gut feeling or a sense and nothing more: but if they can somehow beat up the Tribe to the tune of a sweep, they've got a chance to go into the Toilet within say 3.5 games of a spot. If they can keep it there or shorten it a bit come September, they're right there. But they need to make up some ground here, of the Giant Leaps for Mankind variety.


Looking ahead,

Friday: Vazquez vs. Buchholz
Saturday: Sabathia vs. Lackey
Sunday: Moesley vs. Beckett
Monday: Hughes vs. Lester

Our 4 best on the hill and we get Moesley and a slumping Hughes. I really like our chances. Taking care of business this week is the most important thing beforehand.

#27 Eric Van


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Posted 01 August 2010 - 10:27 PM

Looking ahead,

Friday: Vazquez vs. Buchholz
Saturday: Sabathia vs. Lackey
Sunday: Moesley vs. Beckett
Monday: Hughes vs. Lester

Our 4 best on the hill and we get Moesley and a slumping Hughes. I really like our chances. Taking care of business this week is the most important thing beforehand.

I believe that Burnett will start game 3, and they have a choice between Moseley on extra rest and Hughes on regular for game 4, after the day off Thursday. National TV gets Sabathia v. Lackey and Burnett v. Beckett -- not bad.

Hughes has a 5.40 ERA starting May 17 when we wrecked him in Fenway (and that's 4.07 in that and his next 4 starts,and 6.04 in his last 8). Moseley's actually been pretty good for them and if he pitches well Tuesday night I doubt they'll flip-flop him with Hughes (unless Hughes is good on Wednesday -- he's allowed 3+ ER in 7 of his last 8 starts, the exception being vs. the Mariners in Safeco).

Vazquez's season has been almost an exact mirror of Hughes' -- 9.78 ERA through 5/1 when they actually took him out of the rotation briefly, then 3.29 since.

I tend not to look ahead in the schedule and this is the first time I realized that the first two games of this series overlap the SABR convention. I'll be at Turner field on Friday night but should be able to catch some of the Fox game on Saturday.

It could be worse -- last year the VMart trade went down as we were waiting to catch a bus to Camden Yards to see the Sox play the O's.

#28 DeJesus Built My Hotrod


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Posted 06 August 2010 - 11:53 PM

Wild Card Standings (includes NYY)
Team W L Winning % WCGB Rem. Games
NY Yankees 67 41 0.620 - 54
Tampa Bay 67 42 0.615 - 53
Boston 63 47 0.573 4.5 52
Minnesota 61 49 0.555 6.5 52
Toronto 57 52 0.523 10 53


Winning Percentage Needed To Get To 95 Wins And Above
Wins NY Win % TB Win % Bos Win % Minn Win % Tor Win %
95 .519 .528 .615 .654 .717
96 .537 .547 .635 .673 .736
97 .556 .566 .654 .692 .755
98 .574 .585 .673 .712 .774
99 .593 .604 .692 .731 .792
100 .611 .623 .712 .750 .811


Shh...does anyone hear footsteps?

#29 The Boomer

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Posted 07 August 2010 - 06:29 AM

John Henry is as much of a realist as I was most of this season. It might take a miracle to make the playoffs. Nevertheless, no matter what happens from this point forward, this may go down as one of my favorite never say die Sox teams ever. Whenever they needed an unlikely hero, game after game, somebody unexpected stepped up big. The future is bright with solid starters tied to the team and young position players on the cusp of leading the franchise over that proverbial bridge. To keep us doubting whether the formidable Yankees and Rays will be able to hold on for the rest of this season (even against the odds) is a huge achievement for the rag tag 2010 Sox.

#30 Doctor G

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Posted 07 August 2010 - 06:53 AM

This team does have a lot of Carmen Basilio in them.

#31 TheGoldenGreek33

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 05:05 PM

New York (69-43, 1g lead on TBR in ALE)

1 @ TEX -- .580 win %, 37-21 @ home, 1-3 v. NYY in 2010
3 @ KC -- .416 win %, 23-29 @ home, 1-3 v. NYY in 2010
4 v. DET -- .482 win %, 17-35 on road, 3-1 v. NYY in 2010
3 v. SEA -- .386 win %, 15-29 on road, 3-4 v. NYY in 2010
3 @ TOR -- .527 win %, 30-23 @ home, 5-4 v. NYY in 2010
3 @ CHW -- .558 win %, 33-21 @ home, 1-2 v. NYY in 2010
4 v. OAK -- .500 win %, 22-32 on road, 1-5 v. NYY in 2010
3 v. TOR -- .527 win %, 29-30 on road, 5-4 v. NYY in 2010
3 v. BAL -- .345 win %, 15-40 on road, 2-10 v. NYY in2010
3 @ TEX -- .580 win %, 37-21 @ home, 1-3 v. NYY in 2010
3 @ TB -- .611 win %, 34-23 @ home, 6-5 v. NYY in 2010
3 @ BAL -- .345 win %, 24-34 @ home, 2-10 v. NYY in 2010
4 v. TB -- .611 win %, 35-21 on road, 6-5 v. NYY in 2010
3 v. BOS --.570 win %, 31-26 on road, 5-7 v. NYY in 2010
3 @ TOR -- .527 win %, 30-23 @ home, 5-4 v. NYY in 2010
3 @ BOS -- .570 win %, 34-23 @ home, 5-7 v. NYY in 2010
50g left (33g v. teams > .500), 24/26 home/road, .507 avg. opp. win %

Tampa Bay (69-44, 4g lead on BOS, .5g behind NYY in ALE)

3 v. BAL -- .345 win %, 15-40 on road, 2-7 v. TBR in 2010
3 v. TEX -- .580 win %, 28-26 on road, 2-1 v. TBR in 2010
4 @ OAK -- .500 win %, 34-24 @ home, 2-3 v. TBR in 2010
3 @ LAA -- .504 win %, 31-25 @ home, 1-2 v. TBR in 2010
3 v. BOS -- .570 win %, 31-26 on road, 4-8 v. TBR in 2010
3 v. TOR -- .527 win %, 29-30 on road, 6-6 v. TBR in 2010
3 @ BAL -- .345 win %, 24-34 @ home, 2-7 v. TBR in 2010
3 @ BOS -- .570 win %, 34-23 @ home, 4-8 v. TBR in 2010
3 @ TOR -- .527 win %, 30-23 @ home, 6-6 v. TBR in 2010
3 v. NYY -- .616 win %, 32-23 on road, 5-6 v. TBR in 2010
3 v. LAA -- .504 win %, 27-32 on road, 1-2 v. TBR in 2010
4 @ NYY -- .616 win %, 37-20 @ home, 5-6 v. TBR in 2010
3 v. SEA -- .386 win %, 15-29 on road, 1-5 v. TBR in 2010
3 v. BAL -- .345 win %, 15-40 on road, 2-7 v. TBR in 2010
4 @ KC -- .416 win %, 23-29 @ home, 2-2 v. TBR in 2010
48 g left (32g v.teams > .500), 24/24 home/road, .490 avg. opp. win %

Boston (65-49,4g behind TBR in WC, 5g behind NYY in ALE)

2 @ TOR -- .527 win %, 30-23 @ home, 2-8 v. BOS in 2010
3 @ TEX -- .580 win %, 37-21 @ home, 4-3 v. BOS in 2010
3 v. LAA -- .504 win %, 27-32 on road, 0-7 v. BOS in 2010
3 v. TOR -- .527 win %, 29-30 on road, 2-8 v. BOS in 2010
3 v. SEA -- .386 win %, 15-39 on road, 2-2 v. BOS in 2010
3 @ TB -- .611 win %, 34-23 @ home, 8-4 v. BOS in 2010
3 @ BAL -- .345 win %, 24-34 @ home, 6-6 v. BOS in 2010
3 v. CHW -- .558 win %, 30-29 on road, 0-0 v. BOS in 2010
3 v. TB -- .611 win %, 35-21 on road, 8-4 v. BOS in 2010
3 @ OAK -- .500 win %, 34-24 @ home, 3-3 v. BOS in 2010
3 @ SEA -- .386 win %, 29-31 @ home, 2-2 v. BOS in 2010
3 v. TOR -- .527 win %, 29-30 on road, 2-8 v. BOS in 2010
3 v. BAL -- .345 win %, 15-40 on road, 6-6 v. BOS in 2010
3 @ NYY -- .616 win %, 37-20 @ home, 7-5 v. BOS in 2010
4 @ CHW -- .558 win %, 33-21 @ home, 0-0 v. BOS in 2010
3 v. NYY -- .616 win %, 32-23 on road, 7-5 v. BOS in 2010
48g left (37g v.teams > .500), 24/24 home/road, .512 avg. opp. win %


edited to include an extra NY/TOR series. Thanks cw.

Edited by TheGoldenGreek33, 11 August 2010 - 07:57 PM.


#32 cwright

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 06:33 PM

(remaining schedules)


Thanks for doing that. I think you may have left off one NYY/TOR series, fwiw. (9 games remaining) Still, great work.

So, looking at this another way:
after today, all 3 teams have... (ignoring home/road)
6 vs. BAL
3 vs. OAK
3 vs. SEA
3 vs. TEX
6 vs. TOR

In addition, here are the other games each team has left:
Yankees: CHW 3, OAK 1, KCR 4, DET 4, TB 7, BOS 6

Rays: BAL 3, OAK 1, KCR 4, LAA 6, NY 7, BOS 6

Sox: CHW 6, SEA 3, LAA 3, TB 6, NY 6

Edited by cwright, 11 August 2010 - 09:28 PM.


#33 TheGoldenGreek33

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 08:05 PM

Thanks cw. Obviously the Sox have the toughest road ahead, but after tonight, they'll be 3 back of the WC. It's not going to take as big of a miracle as people say. The Yanks and Rays have 7 games left against each other and the Sox have 12 against the Rays and Yanks combined. The worst case scenario for the NY/TB series are for them to go 4-3 against each other. We need either team to dominate the other. That would be a big help. Obviously getting Pedroia back after this road trip will be a big help. But, I honestly don't see how it would be a miracle if the Sox make the playoffs. There's 50 games left. And three games to make up. I have hope.

#34 JakeRae


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Posted 11 August 2010 - 11:26 PM

Thanks cw. Obviously the Sox have the toughest road ahead, but after tonight, they'll be 3 back of the WC. It's not going to take as big of a miracle as people say. The Yanks and Rays have 7 games left against each other and the Sox have 12 against the Rays and Yanks combined. The worst case scenario for the NY/TB series are for them to go 4-3 against each other. We need either team to dominate the other. That would be a big help. Obviously getting Pedroia back after this road trip will be a big help. But, I honestly don't see how it would be a miracle if the Sox make the playoffs. There's 50 games left. And three games to make up. I have hope.

It's 3.5 games back. And, the half a game is an extra Sox loss, so it's closer to 4 games than 3.

That being said, I agree with the rest of your post. This team doesn't need anything close to a miracle to make the playoffs. BP had their playoff odds at 28% going into today. It will be over 30% tomorrow. Those numbers aren't gospel, but they are pretty reasonable in this case and do a good job of capturing the reality that the Red Sox are still very much alive in the playoff race.

#35 Eric Van


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Posted 11 August 2010 - 11:43 PM

We've had their number all year, so it might be worth remembering just how good this Blue Jays team is, and just how impressive it is to take a series from them at home.

They are 11-10 against the Yankees and Rays, and 13-6 against the Twins, White Sox, and Rangers. They are certainly one of the best 8 teams in MLB and would be going down to the wire with the Rangers, Braves, or Padres were they in their divisions (and leading the NL East easily).

The three teams on this road trip could be expected to play .640 ball at home against average opponents, so you'd have to be a 104-win team to expect to go 5-5. That would have been a perfectly acceptable outcome (if you ignore the part about not beating up on the weak teams the way we should.) All we need to go 6-4 now is a split of the remaining games.

In the meantime, the Rangers have apparently decided to start C.J. Wilson on Sunday and hold Rich Harden to face the Rays on 8 or 9 days rest (probably 9). But you still have Cliff Lee facing the Yankees, missing us, and facing the Rays, so you can't bitch too much.

#36 BucketOBalls


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Posted 12 August 2010 - 03:17 AM

It's 3.5 games back. And, the half a game is an extra Sox loss, so it's closer to 4 games than 3.

That being said, I agree with the rest of your post. This team doesn't need anything close to a miracle to make the playoffs. BP had their playoff odds at 28% going into today. It will be over 30% tomorrow. Those numbers aren't gospel, but they are pretty reasonable in this case and do a good job of capturing the reality that the Red Sox are still very much alive in the playoff race.


Depends what you want to call a miracle. 30% isn't good either(and I'm not sure I'd put it over 30% tomorrow with John "#5" Lackey vs a HR happy team).

I think the Sox really need to get something out of the back of the rotation(Lackey, Beckett: we see you) To get back into this they need longer win streaks, and it's hard to do that with your pitching killing your momentum.

#37 Eric Van


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Posted 15 August 2010 - 08:11 AM

When you're playing the iron of the league on the road, and the team you're chasing is playing the dregs at home, keeping pace is actually a win. A few days ago the Rays had a remaining Strength of Schedule advantage of 0.6 wins and it appears as if that advantage was entirely playing the O's at home while we play the Rangers in Arlington -- because with one game to go in each series their advantage is down to 0.1 games. So they have basically squandered the schedule edge while losing a half game to boot..

#38 JimD

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 07:54 AM

Since this thread began, the Yankees have gone 7-9 and the Rays 8-8. There it was – the opportunity for the Red Sox to get back in the division race, gift-wrapped for them, but all they could do was respond with Beckett getting outpitched by Dustin Moseley to give the MFY’s a split, two blown games last week to let the Rays up off the mat, and a 9-8 record. Anyone who sees this as anything other than a major missed opportunity is kidding themselves.

#39 TomRicardo


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Posted 16 August 2010 - 07:58 AM

Since this thread began, the Yankees have gone 7-9 and the Rays 8-8. There it was – the opportunity for the Red Sox to get back in the division race, gift-wrapped for them, but all they could do was respond with Beckett getting outpitched by Dustin Moseley to give the MFY’s a split, two blown games last week to let the Rays up off the mat, and a 9-8 record. Anyone who sees this as anything other than a major missed opportunity is kidding themselves.


Bullpen and Beckett has murdered them. Epstein made major mistakes this off season sitting on his bullpen and letting assets go.

#40 Tudor Fever

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 08:21 AM

For what it's worth, and yes all of these methods have their flaws, here are the odds of making the postseason per various calculators. The links might be interesting to you going forward.

Baseball Prospectus:
Basic: 25.8%
PECOTA-adjusted: 23.2%
ELO-adjusted: 21.7%

Coolstandings:
Smart: 15.3%
Dumb: 20.9%

(I believe that the "smart" coolstandings use a run-based Pythagorean analysis, whereas the "dumb" version gives each team a 50-50 chance of winning the game. BP's "basic" version is based on PCT3, which uses run elements instead of raw runs. ELO is based on how hot or cold a team is recently. I'd be interested to know what roster assumptions they are making in the PECOTA version. Based on where the number is, my gut is that they are taking Pedroia's return into account.)

#41 Eric Van


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Posted 16 August 2010 - 08:58 AM

Since this thread began, the Yankees have gone 7-9 and the Rays 8-8. There it was – the opportunity for the Red Sox to get back in the division race, gift-wrapped for them, but all they could do was respond with Beckett getting outpitched by Dustin Moseley to give the MFY's a split, two blown games last week to let the Rays up off the mat, and a 9-8 record. Anyone who sees this as anything other than a major missed opportunity is kidding themselves.

It was a major missed opportunity because they blew two incredibly winnable games and ended up having a perfectly satisfactory road trip instead of an amazing one. They played .500 ball against .640 opponents (factoring in the home-field advantage), which is, of course, playing .640 ball. They gained half a game on TB while gaining a bit more than a full game (1.2) in terms of remaining strength of schedule. There were 53 games left when they started the road trip and they were 5.5 games back of the Rays, so they needed to gain an effective game on them (counting the schedule adjustment) if they want to finish tied. They did better than that.

No one expected us to get back in this race by winning 6 or 7 games on a 10-day trip against 3 of the 5 toughest opponents we could play. But maybe we could get back in there if the teams we were chasing faltered while their schedule was easier. And while we were essentially splitting four games with the Blue Jays and Rangers, the Yankees were doing the same thing against the Royals. And the Rays went into Toronto and got swept, and ended up going 4-5 even though they had three games at home against the O's, and three games in Detroit versus the mediocre Tigers.

Basically, what happened on this road trip is that we kept even when we had every expectation of losing ground (a game or so, just because of the schedule), even playing as well as we could reasonably be expected to play. That's a positive outcome, and the fact that we had an insanely positive outcome slip out of our grasp doesn't make it less positive.

#42 Burt Reynoldz

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 09:13 AM

It was a major missed opportunity because they blew two incredibly winnable games and ended up having a perfectly satisfactory road trip instead of an amazing one. They played .500 ball against .640 opponents (factoring in the home-field advantage), which is, of course, playing .640 ball.


Since starting the Yankees series, the Red Sox have gone 5-5: 2-2 with NYY, 2-1 with TOR, and 1-2 with TEX. That's .500 ball. I don't care the degree of difficulty or anything - they didn't play .640 ball.

#43 absintheofmalaise


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Posted 16 August 2010 - 09:34 AM

It was a major missed opportunity because they blew two incredibly winnable games and ended up having a perfectly satisfactory road trip instead of an amazing one. They played .500 ball against .640 opponents (factoring in the home-field advantage), which is, of course, playing .640 ball. They gained half a game on TB while gaining a bit more than a full game (1.2) in terms of remaining strength of schedule. There were 53 games left when they started the road trip and they were 5.5 games back of the Rays, so they needed to gain an effective game on them (counting the schedule adjustment) if they want to finish tied. They did better than that.

No one expected us to get back in this race by winning 6 or 7 games on a 10-day trip against 3 of the 5 toughest opponents we could play. But maybe we could get back in there if the teams we were chasing faltered while their schedule was easier. And while we were essentially splitting four games with the Blue Jays and Rangers, the Yankees were doing the same thing against the Royals. And the Rays went into Toronto and got swept, and ended up going 4-5 even though they had three games at home against the O's, and three games in Detroit versus the mediocre Tigers.

Basically, what happened on this road trip is that we kept even when we had every expectation of losing ground (a game or so, just because of the schedule), even playing as well as we could reasonably be expected to play. That's a positive outcome, and the fact that we had an insanely positive outcome slip out of our grasp doesn't make it less positive.


Eric-Your threads about all of the theoretical standings and strength of schedule etc were closed for a reason. This thread is about what actually happens on the field and in the real standings. If you want to keep posting about the other things start a blog like URI suggested.

#44 Philip Jeff Frye


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Posted 16 August 2010 - 09:38 AM

Since starting the Yankees series, the Red Sox have gone 5-5: 2-2 with NYY, 2-1 with TOR, and 1-2 with TEX. That's .500 ball. I don't care the degree of difficulty or anything - they didn't play .640 ball.

No kidding. They don't get any brownie points playing okay against good teams. Who cares that we gained a game in strength of schedule standings? That's not going to matter when we're watching other teams in the playoffs.

Eric keeps telling us this team is much better than its record indicates, but the actual Won-Loss record never gets better. We're running out of time for that to happen.

#45 Eric Van


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Posted 16 August 2010 - 10:57 AM

Eric-Your threads about all of the theoretical standings and strength of schedule etc were closed for a reason. This thread is about what actually happens on the field and in the real standings. If you want to keep posting about the other things start a blog like URI suggested.

Bullshit. It's not theoretical that there's a week where you play really tough teams while your opponents play crap teams, and then there's a week that the opposite happens. That's what actually happens on the field. What actually happened on the field is that we were playing the Rangers while the Yankees were playing the godawful Royals and the Rays were playing the O's -- at home, no less.

If you're breaking the season into tiny one-and two-week chunks you can't ignore that. A team playing absolutely even-keeled ball and playing better ball than the team they are trying to catch will fail to gain ground when the schedule goes against them -- and then gain double when the schedule breaks in their favor. Despite their not actually playing any better or worse, and hence not really deserving excess anguish or glee.

I mean, if all this thread were supposed to do was examine the raw, actual, standings, without interpretation, then it's the stupidest thread in SoSH history, because you can just go to ESPN and see how many games we actually are behind. And that's all you'd need to know, right?

I think everyone knows that this was a tough week schedule-wise for us and an easy one for the teams ahead of us, and obviously that would be part of the thread in its non-idiotic conception. Plenty of posts already that have tried to look at how the schedule breaks the rest of the way for all three clubs. I guess my big error, then, is that I actually calculated that our schedule was a win tougher than the Rays while we were on the road, rather, than just, you know, thinking vaguely about it. I apologize if that made anybody's brain burst.

No kidding. They don't get any brownie points playing okay against good teams. Who cares that we gained a game in strength of schedule standings?

Do I really have to explain this? No, you get no brownie points. What you get is that you don't have to play those good teams and you get to play bad teams instead. While your opponents are doing the opposite. That's what gaining ground in the remaining strength of schedule means.

I mean, Jesus Christ, imagine if this were the NFL and the Pats had just split with the Colts and Saints on the road in Weeks 13 and 14 and had two terrible teams coming up in Foxboro, while the Jets and Dolphins, each a game ahead of us, had played crap teams in Weeks 13 and 14 but were due to finish on the road against playoff teams. Would anyone be saying "you don't get brownie points for playing .500 against good teams?" Would anyone fail to understand how the toughness of the schedule just past, and the toughness of the remaining schedule, altered the meaning of the current standings? No, everyone would be speculating on just how much of an edge the Pats had because of the softness of their Week 15 and 16 compared to the teams ahead of them.

Well, in baseball, the influence of the schedule is not nearly as dramatic, but it is absolutely as real.

#46 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 16 August 2010 - 11:03 AM

Eric, a mod has already mentioned that the work you did on the other thread doesn't belong here.

The point has already been made that interpreted standings don't really matter much at this point of the season. The Sox have lost their best offensive player for the year and are really up against the lack of time. If TB goes 23-22 over the rest of the season, the Sox would have to go 27-16 just to tie. Not impossible, but that's a pretty stark order for the club at this point.

#47 Eric Van


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Posted 16 August 2010 - 11:36 AM

Eric, a mod has already mentioned that the work you did on the other thread doesn't belong here.

The point has already been made that interpreted standings don't really matter much at this point of the season. The Sox have lost their best offensive player for the year and are really up against the lack of time. If TB goes 23-22 over the rest of the season, the Sox would have to go 27-16 just to tie. Not impossible, but that's a pretty stark order for the club at this point.

Absolutely, SJ, but how can you guess the chance of going 27-16 without having an accurate sense of how well the team is playing right now? And how can you get that sense without factoring in the quality of the teams we just played? That's all I'm trying to do here. The team is actually playing really well, the two blown leads notwithstanding. Yes, going 5-5 means you gained no ground, but there seems to be despair here over the fact that the team is not playing good ball because we failed to win 6 or even 7 on the trip ...anyone who feels that way is just not realizing how tough it is, how good you have to be, to win even 6 on a trip like that.

To get on topic, we're starting a 9-game homestand and we absolutely need to win 6; 7 would be nice. If it happens I reserve the right to be a little less surprised than some others. :)

#48 Paul M


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Posted 16 August 2010 - 11:59 AM

The problem is blowing leads is an inherent part of this team this year and gives back a lot of their advantage and has happened against the very best on the road as well as some not so good teams at home. I can appreciate the strength of schedule angle, I really can, but tough to take a lot of good away from the last 10 games since they gave away 2 wins and didn't really steal any. Their supposed stopper and newly signed big-time pitcher has had a terrible year, BABIP notwithstanding, especially in games against the better teams. And the bullpen is a gas can. They should be able to feast on the weaker teams but this season they have not done that well vs. Cle, KC, and Bal. Only hope the way I see it is they take 5 of 6 from Tampa.

#49 yecul


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Posted 16 August 2010 - 11:59 AM

I don't think anyone would be surprised if they won 6 or even 7 of the next 9. Like, not at all. No surprise. None. No one here would be surprised.

Pretending to make predictions between the lines isn't something people get to brag about after the fact.

#50 MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 12:18 PM

Maybe you're just writing it poorly, Eric, and I'm not trying to be a dick - it can be hard to articulate complex concepts - but this is what you wrote:

They gained half a game on TB while gaining a bit more than a full game (1.2) in terms of remaining strength of schedule. There were 53 games left when they started the road trip and they were 5.5 games back of the Rays, so they needed to gain an effective game on them (counting the schedule adjustment) if they want to finish tied. They did better than that.


What really happened: They gained half a game.

What is theoretical: All of the rest of that.

What people are reacting to are concepts like gaining 1.2 games or gaining "an effective game." Those things don't mean anything.

If you came into the thread and said (which you're effectively saying, but in way too many words and with way too many meaningless numbers), "Hey, I know 5-5 is disappointing considering the nature of at least two of the losses, but by my calculations that's the 3rd hardest 10-game stretch anyone could have faced this year, so we've got to keep that in perspective. The next 10 games, blah, blah," then I don't think you get have the rash of shit that you're getting here.

No one's saying strength of schedule isn't interesting or important, but you're using calculations that make it seem as though this strength of schedule information will product iron-clad results when it won't. The simple fact is that sometimes the Royals just have the Sox' number (look at their record against crappy teams this year) and sometimes teams rise to the occasion and play great against tough teams they shouldn't be able to beat.

The rest of the season is unlikely to play out the way the strength of schedule calculation might predict. That's a shocking statement, I know, but it seems like you need it said out loud. If the Sox end up .2 "effective" games ahead, do they get a medal to hang on the wall?

And this isn't the NFL. There aren't just 16 games and the good teams don't beat the bad teams with nearly the same regularity so we wouldn't look at it the same way, or even very similarly.