Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Two Nights in Colorado

As I said in a post on Soxtalk.com before the series, if someone gave me two of three from the Rockies in Colorado on Monday afternooon, I would have taken it. Well, the Sox have won the first two games of the series in Denver, allowing only 4 runs in 2 games in Coors Field. Clint Barmes' groceries be damned, that's a hell of a performance.

Given that I've gotten everything I asked for - two wins in the series - one might otherwise think I would be willing to give a pass to the Sox if they lose to Jeff Francis and the Rockies. Not so. You see, those Twinkies keep on winning, and this four-game lead continues to make me nervous. The Twinkies are now not just 4 games back, they actually have the second-best record in the American League. They are a very, very good team playing very, very well. (Not only that, but they have a gimme tonight in Arizona as the Diamondbacks pitch Nats-cast-off Claudio Vargas against Johan Santana. Gulp.) A win tonight is more than just a series sweep - it's another day of keeping the wolves from the door.

On another note, a Baseball Prospectus note compared the Orioles of this year to the Cincinnati Reds of last year. Buried in that column is a link to retrosheet's daily standings for a year ago today (the point being that the Reds were 34-24 at this point last year). If you move your attention to the AL Central one year ago, you see this:

White Sox3124304242

Something unusual there? Well, the Sox's +62 run differential wasn't reflected in their record - which the Pythagorean Theory would expect to be 33-22. The Twinkies would have had an expected record of 27-30. In the expected standings, the Sox were 7 games ahead - a really, really big lead. In the real standings, the Sox were just 1 game ahead...and we know how that turned out.

Now this year:

White Sox3919263217

This year, the Sox's expected record is 34-24, while the Twinkies' expected record is 33-23 - a dead heat from the expected standings perspective. This year, of course, the real standings are tilted in the Sox's favor by four games.

All I have to say is that it's better to be lucky than good.

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