The Week That Was
A 3-3 week against the Red Sox and Angels. The Rox currently stand at 39-36. Six games back from division leading San Diego in fourth place. Currently 23-14 at home and 16-22 on the road, the Rox have outscored its opponents 341-306 (expected wins is 42 versus historical wins at 35). On pace for 84 wins with 737 runs scored and 661 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs scored/Runs Against ratio) is 1.11 (>1.16 indicates high playoff potential).
At the almost half way point I think we can safely say that if the Rox don't sweep the series in San Diego this upcoming week their season is done. Currently six games behind the Padres, any hope to getting back into the race would be heavily dependent on the Rox taking three games and getting to within three. Three losses and we would be nine out. With a series then at home against the Giants followed by St Louis and finishing up with San Diego before the All Star break these 13 games are the season. The real sad part in all of this is that pitching as been masterful (go figure the staff has allowed 153 runs both at home and away). Perhaps when this season is over we will look back and consider this to be the greatest set of hurlers in Rox history. Too bad the offense decided to take a year off (see below). Hate to dismantle the team but perhaps it is time to let some members of this team go and try to get some future power in return.
Projected Runs Score
Woody Paige was on the mark last week in his article about the total lack of offense this team has produced. The team has been highly deficient in the power department. With a team full of potential big bats the lack of production is just too great to overlook anymore. With the team, management, and owners still believing that we just haven't gotten hot yet mentality I see this season becoming very much like 2008. Good teams can't wait to go on long winning streaks. They make up for this by taking 2 of 3 or 3 of 4 out of every series. These Rox have had brilliant moments but they fail to capitalize on bad teams. Their pitching continues to keep them afloat but having the 3rd most strikeouts in NL behind Arizona and Florida would suggest that "hot" is a relative term and that we might get "warm" which could mean a Wild Card run but most likely a .500 finish.
As mentioned above the Rox are on pace to score 737 runs. This value is simply the current runs scored (341) times number of expected games played in a season (162) divided by the number of games played (75). The question then is how closely will the Rox come to this number at the end of the year? If you take the previous 17 years (take out '94 and '95 seasons since they did not play a full schedule) and calculate the number of projected runs scored through the season by game number and then subtract this by the actual run score value you get a number of runs difference. So for instance in 2009, the Rox after Game 10 were on pace to score 842 runs. In actuality they scored 805 in 2009 so the difference was minus 37 runs after ten games. In the other years the values at Game 10 ranged from more than 390 above actual to 261 below actual valve. If you average these differences for all the years at Game 10, you end up with an average of 19 runs above average. This average is the blue line below.
The blue indicates that early in the season, though about 36 games the average difference between actual and projected is negative or in other words the runs score pace is higher than what becomes average. From that point it fluctuates but settles in. The error bar lines on the graph is the standard deviation from the blue point valve. Obviously early in the season when you score 10 runs or 0 runs it can cause your projection to fluctuate to the extremes but then as the season settles in your difference becomes less. Either way the data would suggest that Rox 737 projected runs is here to stay. Knowing that our run score environment is in this range it would mean if we want to be a playoff team our allowed runs need to be in the 635 range. So if our offense doesn't start to pick up our pitching as to get stingier. Good luck with that!
This team has shown instances of being the juggernaut it was suppose to be but with injuries and the continuous shuffling of the batting order it would suggest that realistically this team isn't going to wake from its offensive slumber. Not to be negative but it would seem a mini rebuilding scenario is a likely path forward for 2010. Look at the D-backs, a similar team with a potent future that never lived up to expectations. Do the Rox really want to be in last place next year? Couple of arm injuries and that is where we will be!
Check out my article at Fangraphs.