• Aug
    01

    Kerry Leibowitz - Crossroads: Run Differential Through July 31

    Crossroads:  Run Differential Through July 31

     

    AMERICAN LEAGUE

                         

    Team

    R

    OR

    R DIFF

    G

    R/G

    OR/G

    DIFF/G

    PW%

    EXP W

    ACT W

    W DIFF

    Baltimore

    504

    484

    20

    108

    4.67

    4.48

    0.19

    .520

    56

    59

    3

    Boston

    545

    448

    97

    109

    5.00

    4.11

    0.89

    .597

    65

    65

    0

    Chicago

    390

    467

    -77

    105

    3.71

    4.45

    -0.73

    .411

    43

    40

    -3

    Cleveland

    513

    462

    51

    107

    4.79

    4.32

    0.48

    .552

    59

    59

    0

    Detroit

    549

    417

    132

    106

    5.18

    3.93

    1.25

    .634

    67

    61

    -6

    Houston

    405

    560

    -155

    106

    3.82

    5.28

    -1.46

    .343

    36

    36

    0

    Kansas City

    410

    405

    5

    104

    3.94

    3.89

    0.05

    .506

    53

    53

    0

    Los Angeles

    477

    497

    -20

    106

    4.50

    4.69

    -0.19

    .479

    51

    48

    -3

    Minnesota

    418

    472

    -54

    104

    4.02

    4.54

    -0.52

    .440

    46

    45

    -1

    New York

    412

    418

    -6

    107

    3.85

    3.91

    -0.06

    .493

    53

    56

    3

    Oakland

    481

    417

    64

    108

    4.45

    3.86

    0.59

    .571

    62

    63

    1

    Seattle

    428

    482

    -54

    107

    4.00

    4.50

    -0.50

    .441

    47

    50

    3

    Tampa Bay

    498

    429

    69

    108

    4.61

    3.97

    0.64

    .574

    62

    64

    2

    Texas

    456

    443

    13

    108

    4.22

    4.10

    0.12

    .514

    56

    59

    3

    Toronto

    494

    514

    -20

    107

    4.62

    4.80

    -0.19

    .480

    51

    50

    -1

     

    6980

    6915

    65

    800

    4.36

    4.32

             
                           

    NATIONAL LEAGUE

                         

    Team

    R

    OR

    R DIFF

    G

    R/G

    OR/G

    DIFF/G

    PW%

    EXP W

    ACT W

    W DIFF

    Arizona

    448

    431

    17

    107

    4.19

    4.03

    0.16

    .519

    56

    55

    -1

    Atlanta

    483

    382

    101

    108

    4.47

    3.54

    0.94

    .615

    66

    63

    -3

    Chicago

    428

    447

    -19

    107

    4.00

    4.18

    -0.18

    .478

    51

    49

    -2

    Cincinnati

    470

    387

    83

    109

    4.31

    3.55

    0.76

    .596

    65

    60

    -5

    Colorado

    478

    491

    -13

    109

    4.39

    4.50

    -0.12

    .487

    53

    51

    -2

    Los Angeles

    419

    412

    7

    106

    3.95

    3.89

    0.07

    .508

    54

    57

    3

    Miami

    338

    433

    -95

    106

    3.19

    4.08

    -0.90

    .379

    40

    41

    1

    Milwaukee

    424

    488

    -64

    108

    3.93

    4.52

    -0.59

    .430

    46

    46

    0

    New York

    434

    465

    -31

    105

    4.13

    4.43

    -0.30

    .466

    49

    48

    -1

    Philadelphia

    407

    488

    -81

    107

    3.80

    4.56

    -0.76

    .410

    44

    50

    6

    Pittsburgh

    420

    356

    64

    107

    3.93

    3.33

    0.60

    .582

    62

    65

    3

    San Diego

    434

    491

    -57

    109

    3.98

    4.50

    -0.52

    .439

    48

    50

    2

    San Francisco

    411

    470

    -59

    106

    3.88

    4.43

    -0.56

    .433

    46

    47

    1

    St. Louis

    505

    386

    119

    106

    4.76

    3.64

    1.12

    .631

    67

    62

    -5

    Washington

    401

    438

    -37

    108

    3.71

    4.06

    -0.34

    .456

    49

    52

    3

     

    6500

    6565

    -65

    804

    4.04

    4.08

             

     

    I’m just going to make a few offhand remarks about other teams around the majors, and then move on to a much broader statement than usual about the Orioles.

     

    • The Astros are, by far, the worst team in baseball.  It’s really not even close.
    • Sometimes you have to wonder what teams are thinking.  The Phillies’ decision not to break up their club was curious after a mere glance at their W-L record, but when you look at their run differential, and the fact that they’ve been the luckiest team in baseball despite being seven games under .500, you really have to wonder what they’re thinking.  The Phillies are exactly one blowout loss away from having the worst run differential in the National League; there’s really not very much separating them from the Marlins.  I was going to say that this franchise has a chance to descend into true awfulness, but they’re arguably already there.
    • I didn’t have high expectations for the Phillies this season anyway, so they don’t get to compete for “biggest disappointment” this year, so—in the NL—I think you’d have to pick between the Giants and Nationals.
    • If anything, the Braves’ lead in the NL East should be even larger than it is, and they’ve all but got the division locked away as things stand.
    • The Central is, by leaps and bounds, the best division in the National League.
    • How on earth are the Tigers not running away with the AL Central?

     

    The Orioles

    So about that 11-0 blowout last night at the hands of the worst team in baseball (the Astros entered last night’s game being outscored by an average of just under 1.6 R/G for the season.  Project that rate forward and you have them being outscored by roughly 260 runs for the year, which is truly awful.  Their Pythagorean projection for losses this year, prior to last night’s game, was 108.  And yet…things like last night happen.  On June 26, 1978, an Orioles team that was headed for 90 wins lost to a Blue Jays team that was on its way to 100 losses by a final score of 24-10.  (If the O’s could simply have picked up that late TD and recovered the onside kick…)

     

    So, last night’s game—though it was probably the team’s worst-played game of the year—was still only one loss.  Now that I’ve talked you off the ledge, hopefully what I’m about to say won’t send you back through the window. 

     

    Last night alone doesn’t concern me, as I’ve stated above.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t think that there’s anything to be concerned about.

     

    Below, I’m going to reproduce the AL chart from above, but this is only going to reflect games played in July:

     

    Team

    R

    OR

    R DIFF

    G

    R/G

    OR/G

    DIFF/G

    PW%

    EXP W

    ACT W

    W DIFF

    Baltimore

    94

    102

    -8

    25

    3.76

    4.08

    -0.32

    .459

    11

    47

    36

    Boston

    114

    97

    17

    25

    4.56

    3.88

    0.68

    .580

    15

    47

    32

    Chicago

    92

    117

    -25

    26

    3.54

    4.50

    -0.96

    .382

    10

    47

    37

    Cleveland

    117

    94

    23

    25

    4.68

    3.76

    0.92

    .608

    15

    47

    32

    Detroit

    153

    92

    61

    26

    5.88

    3.54

    2.35

    .734

    19

    47

    28

    Houston

    95

    138

    -43

    24

    3.96

    5.75

    -1.79

    .322

    8

    47

    39

    Kansas City

    97

    101

    -4

    25

    3.88

    4.04

    -0.16

    .480

    12

    47

    35

    Los Angeles

    95

    121

    -26

    24

    3.96

    5.04

    -1.08

    .381

    9

    47

    38

    Minnesota

    89

    115

    -26

    26

    3.42

    4.42

    -1.00

    .375

    10

    47

    37

    New York

    102

    92

    10

    26

    3.92

    3.54

    0.38

    .551

    14

    47

    33

    Oakland

    93

    84

    9

    25

    3.72

    3.36

    0.36

    .551

    14

    47

    33

    Seattle

    131

    119

    12

    25

    5.24

    4.76

    0.48

    .548

    14

    47

    33

    Tampa Bay

    120

    69

    51

    26

    4.62

    2.65

    1.96

    .752

    20

    47

    27

    Texas

    101

    121

    -20

    26

    3.88

    4.65

    -0.77

    .411

    11

    47

    36

    Toronto

    121

    141

    -20

    26

    4.65

    5.42

    -0.77

    .424

    11

    47

    36

     

    1614

    1603

    11

    190

    4.25

    4.22

             

     

    It’s pretty obvious what’s going on—the offense (which always seemed to be built on an unsustainably hyper-aggressive model) has gone to seed.  It’s actually been devolving slowly all year (June was worse than May, July was worse than June), but it really came into stark focus last month.  The Orioles still rank fourth—though not by much—in runs per game for the season to date, but were a more than lackluster 11th in the AL in July.

     

    The good news is that, as expected once the starting rotation became a bit more settled, the pitching improved.  The Orioles now stand ninth in the league year to date and in July they were eighth, with an OR/G mark better than the league average by more than a tenth of a run.  With the personnel now at hand, the pitching is probably legitimately about as good as it performed last month, which is to say, decent.  Not great, but certainly not the lurking-near-the-bottom-of-the-league mess that we saw for most of the first three months of the season.  Of course, everything is interconnected.  The pitching would have seemed even better had the offense been scoring closer to five runs a game in July, as they did for most of the first three months of the season, rather than coming up short in their quest for four.

     

    But it’s the offense that’s the key to all this.  Is it really as bad as it looked last month?  Probably not.  While the first few months of the season were surely an aberration to a degree, I don’t think the Orioles’ offense was a complete fraud.  But is it capable of scoring three quarters of a run better than the league average for two months?  Ehhh….

     

    Regardless of what I think, if the Orioles are going to remain in contention for a postseason berth, the offense is going to have to perform far better than it did in July when it came up approximately half a run worse than the league average.  Last night’s mess notwithstanding (and, for what it’s worth, prior to the July 31 blowout the Orioles were allowing a hair below 3.8 runs per game in July, the better part of a half run below the league average), the pitching/defense is probably good enough to keep the Orioles within striking distance.  But to reach the postseason, the Orioles are going to have to score runs at a rate that puts them in the upper third of the league (more or less), and they’re going to have do it, essentially, with the players they presently have on hand.


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