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Blue Jays hate Pythagoras. August 23, 2008

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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The Toronto Blue Jays won another big one today, 11-0 over the visiting Boston Red Sox. It seemed to me that between that, the 14-3 destruction of the Yankees on Thursday, and last Sunday’s 15-4 route of Boston (again), the 11-run games might have been messing with the team’s statistical expectations. Sure enough, the big run totals are increasing the Blue Jays’ pythagorean expectation, with the difference between expected win percentage and actual win percentage being higher after the all-star break than before.

Numbers are behind the cut.

Runs scored after the All-Star Game: 170 in 34 games, averaging 5.0 runs per game
Runs allowed: 128 in 34 games (120 earned)
Team ERA = 3.59
Pythagorean expected win percentage = 63.819
Actual record: 20-14, 58.824%
Diff = 4.995
(League average ERA = 4.80
League average runs = 170
League average runs allowed = 170)

Runs scored before the All-Star Game: 399, 95, 4.2
Runs allowed: 376 in 95 (344 earned), 3.63
Team ERA = 3.79
Pythagorean = 52.965%
Actual record = 47-48, 49.474%
Diff = 3.491
(League average ERA = 4.10
League average runs = 438
League average runs allowed = 421)

Most surprising to me is the way the American League’s average ERA has increased after the All-Star Break, whereas the Blue Jays’ has decreased. Where they performed slightly better than average before the break, they’ve upped their game considerably and widened the gap since the All-Star Game. In addition, they’ve stopped leaving Roy Halladay criminally unsupported, like they did at the beginning of the season. Their scoring per game has increased by almost a whole run. The problem, of course, is that the Jays aren’t distributing their runs evenly throughout the games they’re playing, which we see when we compare the difference between actual and expected winning percentage before and after the All-Star break.

The Jays are going to have to up their consistency, rather than merely their scoring, if they expect to be contenders.

(Data pulled from or computed using numbers pulled from ESPN.com.)

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