Tuesday, August 12, 2008

And honestly, he'll appreciate the kind of straight-forward manner in which you told him your decision.

So in my daily visit to my semi-new favorite Boston-area sports blog Mass Hysteria, I read one of their daily features (written by friend HzMLS) and he essentially predicted a Rays downfall after the injuries to both Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford. I posted a comment on the blog, and because I felt like it was misinterpreted, dubbschism and I discussed via email:

Smarty Barrett: My point wasn't the Pythagorean record, my point was that bloggers, pundits and others are going to predict a slide for the Rays because of the loss of Crawford and Longoria, but the fact is a slide was inevitable anyway. i.e. a slip in their record and a slip in the standings would have occurred regardless (and independent) of any injuries. So when they start to slip, injuries will be cited, but the fact of the matter is that any decline will not be 100% due to the loss of 2 stars.

dubbschism: yes. i agree for the most part, however, we're approaching the point in the season where the pythag is less and less meaningful as far as predicting the actual final standings go, since there's not a lot of time for the records to correct themselves. it's more useful at this point as far as predicting theoretical standings, but there's only about 40 games left. make sense? it's entirely possible that their run differential over the next 40 games would match up with their record thus far, esp with the addition of baldelli, but it's much more unlikely now that two of their better players are gone.

SB: I agree. We should have already started to see a regression towards the mean in all cases for all teams - Pythag record is not always correct, mostly because of luck in one-run games and such. I feel that it does tell us how good a team actually is - example: the 2007 Mariners finished with a 88-74 record, but their pythag was 80-82. That team was not that good.

The point I was trying to make is that, in theory, the Rays run differential could maintain the same pace it has throughout the season and they would still slip in the standings. Citing injuries to explain their decline would not be telling the whole story. The larger point is predicting a slide for the Rays now is easy, but would they have slid without the injuries? I say yes but we'll never know now. And Sox fans are all excited that they have some key players hurt now and if the Sox do come back and win the division, Longoria and Crawford's injuries will be cited. I just don't think simply saying 2 guys got hurt is a sufficient explanation. Picking the Rays to falter now is easy. Picking them to falter two weeks ago, as I did, would not have been "popular."

My mom says I'm a catch.

DS: well when you see Evan Baseball Hero in the hospital, tell him he played a great game. Tell him you liked his article in the newspaper.

his WARP is 6.5. willy aybar's is .8. over the rest of the season, that's about 2 wins. which could be significant.

SB: So you're saying it could cost them a win at least every two weeks? Once every two weeks?

It could be significant. But if the Red Sox win the division by four games, then I will cite run differential and not Longoria's injury.

DS: well let's put it this way: given current run diffs, we'd expect the rays to go 25-20 the rest of the way. (with Longoria.) we'd expect the sox to go 25-18. as it currently stands, that's not enough to make up the 4 games. but, if Longoria disappears, suddenly the rays go 23-22...and bingo, Dino DNA. a 3-game difference.

SB: But if you use log5 to break down the Rays remaining games, they're more likely to go 23-22 anyway, and that was factored in before the loss of Longoria and Crawford. So just beware, when John Kruk tells you why the Rays are losing games, don't believe him.


ejected fan said...

These key injuries could not have come at a worse time for the Rays. If the injuries happened last week they could have done some damage control off the waiver wire (like deal for Adam Dunn). On a separate note, it's amazing that Charlie Zink was in the minors for 6 years! How many players would stick around in the minors that long?

futuremrsrickankiel said...

I think your point is really good! I was just noting that I'd specifically brought up the Pythagorean W-L records for both Boston and Tampa Bay in my preview the night before. Obviously didn't bother exploring it to nearly the degree that you did.

Also, I'd imagine it would run distinctly counter to the Tampa Bay philosophy to trade away promising young players for a down-the-stretch fix.

And, in answer to the question above: Dusty Brown's been in the system for EIGHT GODDAMN YEARS. He's phenomenal defensively, bats cleanup (A CATCHER WHO BATS CLEANUP?!), and has languished in the Sox farm system for years because we developed a foolish and short-sighted dependence on Doug Mirabelli. Oh, and then replaced him with KEVIN FUCKING CASH.

SmartyBarrett said...

If anyone wants to debunk the flaws in Pythagorean W-L, a 15-14 game would be a good starting point.

dubbschism said...

you mean 16-14. and basically, in the scheme of things, it's a 2-0 game as far as pythag goes.

SmartyBarrett said...

you're right, my bad. if it was 16-1, then that would be high time for pythag bashing.

dubbschism said...

well i'll post something when the sox lose 54-20.

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