Steve Phillips: Just Doesn’t Make Sense

Steve Phillips, for some strange reason keeps saying that he doesnt think that the yankees will win the wild card because all they have is hitting. Furthermore, he keeps telling us that he thinks that the M’s are the team thats going to take the wildcard….OK….

Steve with their recent success how would you rate the Yankees chance to make the playoffs? 

I do not like their chances at all. I know they are swinging the bats, but offense can come and go even for the best teams. Pitching is the key to being a legimitante playoff contender and the Yankees do not have enough of it to get there. 

Wierd, huh? Why does he like the Ms chances:

The Mariners have one of the best bullpens in baseball and they are very strong up the middle, defensively.

Yankees v Ms ERA all season:

New York Yankees
AL 67 51 4.35
Seattle Mariners
AL 66 50 4.55

Hmmmmm….I see that the yankees have a better ERA. Alright, lets look at the last 30 days:

New York Yankees
AL 22 7 4.22
Seattle Mariners
AL 15 13 4.75

The key phrase is that the Ms have one of the best bullpens in baseball, these teams (just in the america league have a better bullpen

  1. Boston
  2. Texas
  3. Toronto
  4. Minnesota

If you include all of MLB you can throw in the Padres and the Mets. And how much better are the Ms over the Yanks? The M’s rank 5th and the yanks rank 6th

Ok, odd. Steve Phillips might think that the Mariners might take the Wild Card, and thats ok, but by throwing out pitching, or the yankees lack there of, as the reason why the Ms will take the wild card really doesnt make sense. Plus there is one more thing to look at: The mighty Run Differential, or better yet, the Pythagorean Record:

A formula for converting a team’s Run Differential into a projected Won/Loss record. The formula is RS^2/(RS^2+RA^2). Teams’ actual won/loss records tend to mirror their Pythagorean records, and variances can usually be attributed to luck.

If you want to read more about this go here. You can see how your team is doing based on the average of runs scored and allowed and their record. For example, the 2007 Cubs, so far this season have a record of

60  57  .513

their average rs and ra are:

4.6  4.3

Thats 4.6 runs scored versus 4.3 run allowed.

So if you were to plug the formula, you would get that their record should be:


Wow, pretty accurate. They have lost 2 games that they should have won. But after a 162 game season, this should all even out. Now, if you were in the business of predicting who is going to take the AL wildcard, shouldnt you be looking at this? I will. Lets compare the Ms and the Yanks so far this season:

Here is the Yankee line so far this season:

W    L     %         RS    RA    PR    Luck 

 67  51  .568   | 6.0  4.6  73-45   -6

Well that sucks, we have lost 6 games that we should have won. Well, what can you do? Lets look at the Ms

W    L     %         RS    RA    PR    Luck  

66  50  .569    5.0  4.8  60-56    6

Again. That is 6 games they should have lost, but they won. This is why when you go to and check out the expected outcome, you come away with things like this: The yankees have a 78% chance of making the playoffs versus the Ms 38% chance. If everything continues like it is going, the yankees should end up winning 92.9 games and the Ms 89.4. So Steve Phillips, give me a better argument than the one you keep giving us, because, even that one is flawed.


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