Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 8, 2005
BASEBALL: National Deficit

The Washington Post has a fairly good article on the Nationals' surprising emergence, but it seems to miss the most crucial point. This summary is fine:

How, exactly, have they won seven of their last eight [note: with today's victory, the string is now eight of nine--RT], overtaking everybody in the process? They don't lead the NL in any significant category. In fact, they are statistically unremarkable, in some cases abysmal. Only two teams in the NL score fewer runs per game than the Nationals' 4.09. No team in the league has hit fewer home runs than the Nationals' 40. Their starting pitching is not dominant; their bullpen is, statistically speaking, quite ordinary.

But I'd be more apt to note, as Baseball Prospectus does, the Nats' overall negative run differential. After all, if you plug their total runs scored (235) and total runs allowed (244) in the James Pythagorean formula, you get an expected record that drops below .500, putting them in the cellar of the NL East. They're playing five games above their heads right now. Without a surge in run production, they're likely to falter.

(Aside: Somebody needs to tell ESPN that their sabermetric columnist is named Rob Neyer, not Rob Never. See the header.)

Posted by Robert Tagorda at 12:04 AM | Baseball 2005 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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