Monday, May 31, 2004

Another Fine Gribben Statistic/More On The Twinkies Luck

As I mentioned in my previous post, the second half schedule favors the White Sox over the Twins. Doug Gribben, and invaluable participant on the White Sox mailing list, pointed out just how lopsided the schedule has been for the Twins thus far:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Doug Gribben"
Sent: Saturday, May 29, 2004 2:44 PM
Subject: [WHITESOX] More strength-of-schedules...

Strength of schedule:
WhiteSox: 28-19 (.596) vs 185-186 (.499) opposition --> .592 against a .500 schedule
Twins 26-21 (.563) vs 174-200 (.465) --> .510 against a .500 schedule


The Twinkies thus far have played about as well as a .500 team, which shows in Clay Davenport's adjusted standings (which looks at how many runs they would have scored/allowed based on their performance). All other things being equal, the Twinks should be about 22-26 rather than 26-22.

I'm more and more interested in why the Twinkies play so well above what their statistics would otherwise suggest. I've checked out defensive efficiency - e.g., the percentage of balls in play a defense turns into outs - and the Twinkies have not been better than the White Sox over the last four years. In fact, since 2001, the White Sox have turned more balls hit into play than outs than the Twinkies have.

I've already shown how the Twinkies' bullpen really isn't providing the difference. So if the Twinkies' defense and bullpen performance isn't providing the difference, what is? Could it be clutch hitting?

Here is the relative hitting of the two teams in "close and late" situations, according to ESPN:

Type 2003 White Sox 2003 Twinkies 2002 White Sox 2002 Twinkies
FOR .279/.345/.445 .279/.348/.399 .256/.342/.408 .268/.342/.441
AGAINST .235/.317/.361 .264/.319/.385 .267/.331/.387 .255/.323/.396

Again - there is no real difference between the White Sox and the Twins, especially in 2003. The search for why the Twins have played better than their pythagorean record would suggest goes on...

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