A Quick Glance at the Playoffs

The MLB postseason is underway.  For the third straight season, there has been a 163rd game.  For the second straight season, it has involved the Minnesota Twins.  Unlike last year, however, the Twins prevailed over the Tigers to earn a spot in the playoffs.

To those not paying attention, this puts the Twins with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado Rockies, St. Louis Cardinals, and Philadelphia Phillies.

So let’s take a very quick glance and see what pops up at us, shall we?

standingsfinal2009.JPG

Now, I don’t know about you, but the first thing to leap off of the page at me is the New York Yankees, who were probably the only heavy investors in the free agent market this offseason.  It seems to have paid off, as they cruised to 103 wins, the best record in baseball.

However, their Pythagorean W-L% is just .588, and they out-performed it by eight wins.  Ordinarily, this kind of discrepancy might lead someone to think that they were headed for an embarrassing first-round loss.  I’m not so sure.  Pythagoras still ranks them the second-best team in baseball, and they benefit by playing the Twins, easily the worst statistical team in the entire postseason.

The Red Sox and Angels, meanwhile, are much more evenly-matched.  Like all but two playoff teams (the Dodgers and Cardinals), the Angels out-performed Pythagoras – in their case, by 5 wins.  However, they are only one win off from the Red Sox, who out-performed by just two.  This leads me to believe that Boston is more or less exactly what they are.  Steady, with relatively few surprises.

Looking ahead, I do think that it will be Yankees-Sox in the playoffs.  Great for ESPN, bad for baseball fans.  Who has the edge in that series could be a coin toss, but as much as I hate to say it, the Red Sox have the edge in my eyes.

The National League is a different beast altogether.  With one exception, every team is a win or two off from their “true value.”  But the Los Angeles Dodgers are the outlier.  Not only did they have the best record in the NL, they actually under-performed – the only playoff team to do so.  Their Pythagorean W-L would have them out-pacing the NL by an even wider margin.  Not surprisingly, they also have the fewest runs allowed of any team in baseball (tied with the San Francisco Giants.)

At the moment, they are easily my favorite team to win the pennant, despite their belly-flop into the playoffs.  The Cardinals certainly shouldn’t pose too great a challenge.  In fact, if it’s not the Phillies and Dodgers in the NLCS, I will be shocked and amazed.

Right now, I’m calling the series: New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia.

Right now, I’m tentatively calling the World Series: Los Angeles and Boston.

Right now, I’m very very hesitantly calling the World Champions: The Los Angeles Dodgers.

6 Comments

Whoo hooo!! From your blog to the baseball gods ears! Go Red Sox! ;-)

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

So… even though there’s not much interesting to read there, I took a glance at the Astros.com home page, and found this survey: Vote for your “dream” Astros lineup (http://houston.astros.mlb.com/fan_forum/all_time_nine/index.jsp?c_id=hou). I was totally mystified by the choices until I saw that it was just based on best season batting averages by position. This was such a bizarre combo of players that I thought of… YOU!

Congrats! The latest Leader’s List is out – with a twist! It covers the whole regular season from 4/4-10/4 and you’re #34!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Where have you gone, Round Rock?

I WISH the BoSox made it to the World Series… but that didn’t happen. Looking forward to reading your posts this upcoming season.
-Holly
http://irishsoxkid19.mlblogs.com

Hey RoundRock/Anthony/Grimace/WhoeverYouAre! Now that you’re apparently alive and going to Astros games, I hope we’ll see more of your insightful baseball blogs! Missed you!

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