Monday, September 24, 2012

One more on baseball

The 2012 Baltimore Orioles have now won 16 consecutive extra inning games.  I assumed that this had to be the all time longest extra innings streak, but it isn't.  The 1949 Cleveland Indians won 17 straight in extra innings and went 18-1 overall in extra innings.  They had a 71-64 record in games that did not go to extra innings and finished 24 games over .500 at 89-65.  This was good enough for third place in the AL.

This was the first year of the Yankees tremendous 1949-1953 streak of winning five consecutive World Series.  This was a talented team too, with Bob Feller, Bob Lemon and Early Wynn at the top of their rotation.  Satchel Paige started 5 games and had a 4-7 record. He turned 43 in July of that season.

Offensively, they were a solid team, with Larry Doby leading a strong hitting OF, Mickey Vernon at first, and manager Lou Boudreau playing 134 solid games at shortstop.

But, if they went 18-1 in extra inning games, something I'd consider very lucky, they managed to offset it the rest of the year.  When I saw that 17 game extra inning winning streak, I was shocked that they weren't in the top 20 all time.  But, when I looked at things in more detail, I saw that they'd only won a single game more than the Pythagorean Theorem of Baseball projected.  Overall, they outscored their opponents by 101 runs over 154 games, indicating that they should have won 88 games, and they won 89.  They outscored their opponents by 26 net runs (86-60) runs in the extra inning games, meaning they outscored their opponents by 75 runs otherwise - 589 to 514.

Because they didn't win all of their extra inning games by a single run, based solely on runs scored, they won an 5.5 more extra inning games than projected.  In other words, their extra inning record projects to 12.5-6.5, and yes I know that half wins (ties) are very rare in baseball, unless you have a stupid commissioner make a stupid decision to mess with the All Star game, but that's another issue.

However, in the other 135 games, the Indians were projected to win almost 76 games, but instead, they won only 71.  So, their extreme luck in extra inning games was offset by poorer than expected winning percentage in their games that went 9 or fewer innings (they had four sub-9 inning games that year).

So in this case, their one aspect of luck and another aspect of unluckiness essentially cancelled each other.

And, if they'd simply played as expected in the games that didn't go to extra innings, they would have still finished a handful of games behind the Red Sox and the Yankees.

However at the top of the division, the Yankees had finished behind the Red Sox both in offense and pitching.  However, the Yankees won 2 more games than might have been projected, Boston won one less, and the Yanks won by a game.  This began the greatest string of World Series wins in history, and an era of horrible frustration for Ted Williams and the Red Sox.

Given the lack of comments recently, it's clear that none of my three or four readers is a big baseball fan.  So, I'll move on from this subject now.

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