Showing posts with label Interleague Play. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Interleague Play. Show all posts

Monday, May 4, 2015

.500 Watch and Divisional Schedules

The Constable recently posted a fabulous article on the first 25 games, so check it out if you haven't already looked at it.  I wondered about doing this article and the associated game recap, because it would also knock the Constable's article off the front page.  It is really worth a read.

A couple of days ago, I presented the record the Astros would have if they played .500 ball for the rest of the season.  I think it is an interesting exercise, because it acknowledges that the Astros probably won't win 116 games (thanks, Constable) by sustaining their current pace, but it accounts for the wins that the Astros have already banked to this point in the season.  These are wins that will not be taken away from them because baseball has a new commissioner it is not allowed in the rules of the game.  The .500 watch puts the Astros' record at 86-75 entering the last game of the season.

I also talked a couple of days ago about how few games the AL West - holders of the Hardest Division in Baseball title - have played against teams outside their division.  No other AL West team currently has a .500 record - the Angels are the next best at 11-14.  All AL West teams have played either 26 (Oakland), 25 (Houston, LA and Seattle) or 24 (Texas) games, so the AL West in total has played 125 games.

With the early season schedule relying heavily on intra-division games, it is important to note that only 23 games have been played by AL West teams against teams outside the division.  The combined record in those games are 7-16.  The Angels haven't won a game against an opponent outside the AL West in six attempts, and the Mariners have also been the victims of an inter-league sweep already this year.  Only the Astros have a winning out-of-division record (4-2), mostly by virtue of a sweep of the Padres.

So some of the unimpressive records of the AL West teams could be due to the intradivision dominance at the hands of the Astros.  But AL West teams are also under performing - at least to this point - against teams outside the division.  What this adds up to is a great situation for the Astros, with an early 7 game lead, partly built by a strong record within the division (14-5 record), and partly built by the weaknesses of the other AL West teams.

And lets face it.  All the AL West teams have significant weaknesses.  The Astros have very limited starting pitching depth.  Ditto the Angels, plus a hole at second base, and a dodgy 'pen.  Oakland perhaps has the best rotation, but their 'pen isn't fabulous, and their lineup lacks a wow factor at the moment.  Seattle is interesting, but globally under performing, and Texas have been the victims of a crippling plague of injuries over the last 18 months, and are having to trial a pack of replacement-level players.  I would think that Seattle is the team most likely to overtake the Astros if the Astros don't win the division, since they still look like the best all-round unit on paper, and have the fewest weaknesses.

So I am thinking of the Astros' hot play not as the expected rate of winning for the rest of the season, but as banking wins in close games.  It is fabulous that this has happened with the core of the lineup not contributing.  If they maintain a perfectly realistic record from here (.500), they will be entering the last game of the season with 86 wins on the board.  That may be enough to take the division because (i) of their early-season dominance inside the division and (ii) the other teams all have significant weaknesses.  But the records of the AL West teams may stabilise quickly, especially as a couple of the stronger teams start to perform better in out-of-division games.  The AL West may start to resemble the solid division it looked like last year once the early season intradivision part of the schedule ends.

Writing about stuff like this sure beats writing recaps in a 90+ loss season, huh?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Gammons: Other GMs not happy Texas got to play Houston

According to Peter Gammons:

I talked to some general managers that were frustrated the Rangers got the Houston Astros [in Interleague play], while one team is getting the Giants and another is getting a really good team. But that's because they're in Texas, and they're really good.

We're presuming that "they" in the last bit does not refer to the Astros.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Maybe the reason the Astros sucked in Inter-league play is because the Astros suck

I've seen an article here and there about how the Astros' woes in 2010 Inter-league play is MLB's fault. The Astros wuz robbed, and whatnot. Let's keep a few things in mind here, as we reflect on their 3-12 record against AL teams.

1. The master schedule for 2010 was released in September 2009.

2. So that means the Astros were already scheduled to play the Rangers (six times), Yankees, Royals, Rays before the season started.

3. Of course, anyone who pulls the Yankees and Rays is going to scream and cry. But the Rangers are a given, and the presence of the Royals should have made it easier.

4. Using CHONE's 2010 Projected Standings (Depth Chart version), the combined record of the Astros Inter-league opponents was projected to be 349-299 (.539). Their actual W/L percentage, as of today, is .561. Once you take out their records versus the Astros, the win% drops to .549

5. So let's flesh this out a bit, among the 15 other NL teams - with the cumulative winning percentages as of today:
Atlanta: 9-6 (White Sox, Tigers, Royals, Rays) - .518
Arizona: 6-9 (Red Sox, Tigers, Yankees, Rays) - .588
Chicago: 8-10 (White Sox, Angels, A's, Mariners) - .493
Cincinnati: 8-7 (Indians, Royals, A's, Mariners) - .421
Colorado: 9-6 (Red Sox, Royals, Angels, Twins, Blue Jays) - .529
Florida: 7-8 (Orioles, White Sox, Rays, Rangers) - .508
Los Angeles: 4-11 (Red Sox, Tigers, Angels, Yankees) - .579
Milwaukee: 9-6 (Angels, Twins, Mariners, Rangers) - .531
New York: 13-5 (Orioles, Indians, Tigers, Twins, Yankees) - .477
Philadelphia: 10-8 (Red Sox, Indians, Twins, Yankees, Blue Jays) - .533
Pittsburgh: 2-13 (White Sox, Indians, Tigers, A's, Rangers) - .505
San Diego: 9-6 (Orioles, Mariners, Rays, Blue Jays) - .458
San Francisco: 7-8 (Orioles, Red Sox, A's, Blue Jays) - .474
St. Louis: 9-6 (Royals, Angels, A's, Mariners, Blue Jays) - .479
Washington: 5-13 (Orioles, White Sox, Indians, Tigers, Royals) - .432

Now. This is a lot of information, but the main thing you can take from this chart is this: Only one team in the National League with an overall losing record had a winning record in Inter-league play, and that's the Milwaukee Brewers.

There are teams who have a bigger beef than the Astros about getting railroaded in the Inter-league section of the schedule. The Diamondbacks' opponents have a .588 Win%, but the D-Backs still won six games. The Dodgers' opponents have a .579 win%, no doubt helped by the fact that the Dodgers went 4-11 against them.

The Astros were outscored by 47 runs in 15 Inter-league games (3.13 runs) and, oh yeah, the Astros have been outscored by 129 runs in 76 games (1.70 runs) overall. It's not like this was an uncharacteristic performance, and some Wild Card chances were derailed.

Sure, the Astros drew a tough Inter-league schedule, but good teams beat other good teams. Bad teams...well, they tend to lose to good teams.