Sunday in June
Sunday, June 8, 2008
OC, SS; AJ, C; Q, LF; PK, 1B; Thome, DH; Dye, RF; Swish, CF; Crede, 3B; Ramirez, 2B. Floyd pitching.
So after decisively winning our fifth straight game to improve to nine games over .500 and build a 4 1/2-game lead over our nearest pursuer (Minnesota), what does today’s Chicago Tribune report as the lede to the story about our 11-2 victory:
“They may have the worst winning percentage of any team leading a division, but the White Sox have a bigger lead than the best, the Cubs.”
OK, allow me to go FireJoeMorgan on this for a second.
“They may have the worst winning percentage of any team leading a division …”
This is just factually untrue. We don’t. The White Sox are 35-26 (.574), while Arizona, the division leader in the National League West, is 34-28 (.548).
” … but the White Sox have a bigger lead than the best, the Cubs.”
Well, we actually have bigger leads than five other division leaders: Boston (1/2), Philadelphia (3 1/2), the Cubs (2 1/2) and Arizona (4), but it’s the Cubs reference that gets me. What makes them the best? Is it subjective or objective, because if you read today’s standings objectively, you’d see that the Angels and Cubs enter today’s game with the exact same record, 39-24 (.619), and LA tops its division by 5 1/2 games.
In the end, not really that big a deal, but where o’ where are the fact checkers?
Three Runs or Less
Given some of the exchanges on the site over the past month, I asked our stand-out interns to pull together information on how teams perform when allowing three runs or less in games.
First, I always think you need to be careful when analyzing statistics with a very limited sample size or when you look at one team and try to extrapolate for the league or for a season.
So here is what we found to date:
All 14 American League teams win 78 percent of their games when allowing three or fewer runs (292-82, .781).
The White Sox are 25-9 in these games, for a .735 winning percentage. That is the lowest of the three AL division leaders, Boston is 26-5 (.829) and the Angels are 25-5 (.833), but just two more wins or losses in these games would bring the Sox back to the league average.
While you hate to lose well-pitched games, the fact is the Sox have played more of these than any team in AL except Toronto (26-10, .722) and have won more than all except Boston, Toronto and Tampa Bay (26 each).
Finally, if you compare the Sox to the other top two pitching staffs in the AL, you could argue more instances mean a little lower winning percentage (examples: Toronto and Oakland, which is 24-9, .727).
My take: We’ve underperformed by a victory or two in this area (based on the league average), but my sense is that 1. this is something that will move toward the league mean over the course of the season for all teams (is it called the Stein Principle?), and 2. the more instances (which is something you want), the tougher it is to have a high, high win percentage in these games.
I’m no statistician, so feel free to offer your own thoughts, criticisms and challenges.
One poster, jdevereaux, wrote at one point recently something like: once a month a sporting figure actually speaks his mind …
Once a month? HA!
I guess I need to introduce them to Ozzie …