• Close Game Test: Yanks Good, Or, Lucky?

    Posted by on July 30th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    I thought these stats were interesting. It’s results for teams in the A.L., this season, through last night, in games with “Less Than or Equal to a 2 Run Margin of Victory” -

    Rk	Tm	G	W	L	W-L%	RS	RA	pythW-L%
    1	NYY	52	33	19	.635	252	228	.546
    2	DET	48	29	19	.604	195	174	.552
    3	SEA	58	34	24	.586	211	203	.518
    4	TEX	47	25	22	.532	194	193	.502
    5	TBR	49	26	23	.531	214	207	.515
    6	BOS	47	24	23	.511	197	196	.502
    7	LAA	47	24	23	.511	213	221	.483
    8	KCR	43	21	22	.488	157	153	.512
    9	BAL	46	21	25	.457	203	210	.484
    10	MIN	52	23	29	.442	215	225	.479
    11	OAK	43	18	25	.419	196	205	.479
    12	CHW	43	18	25	.419	165	173	.478
    13	CLE	47	18	29	.383	218	241	.454
    14	TOR	50	19	31	.380	207	222	.468
    

    The Yankees are killing in these “close” games, going 33-19, so far. But, according to their pythW-L%, they’re doing much, much, better here than expected. So, what does this mean? Does it mean the Yankees have been lucky in these close games? Or, does it mean that they’re just so good that they come out on top in these contests because they deserved to win these?

    I’m not sure there’s a right or wrong answer here. What do you think?

    Comments on Close Game Test: Yanks Good, Or, Lucky?

    1. #15
      July 30th, 2009 | 1:39 pm

      In part, it means/reflects that Mo is still The Hammer.

    2. clintfsu813
      July 30th, 2009 | 1:52 pm

      Very good point..we wouldnt have won a lot of those close games if Bruney had even sniffed the mound

    3. Evan3457
      July 30th, 2009 | 2:03 pm

      The Yanks have generally been above their Pythagorean projection for the last several years because they’ve lost a lot of blowouts due to bad starts by weak starters, but the bullpen has generally reeled in the lion’s share (to mix a metaphor) of close games, primarily due to Mo’s dominance.

      So, yes, statistically, this is “lucky”, but since it’s basically been the same for a number of years, it is therefore repeatable, and a basically a function of Mariano, mostly.

      One could say that the Yanks were lucky to find Mariano, and he was lucky to discover his cutter by accident, I suppose.

    4. Evan3457
      July 30th, 2009 | 2:23 pm

      Oh, and mathematically speaking, as a team’s RS and RA in close games will generally near break even by the very nature of close games, those teams that have a top record in close games will appear to be even more lucky than they are, and the reverse is true about teams that have a bottom record.

      As in, the Tigers and Mariners are also lucky, whereas the bottom 4 teams on the list are unlucky.
      =============================
      Well, not quite as repeatable as I thought in the post above. Yanks’ record in 1-run games, since 2002 (when the dynasty “died”)

      2008: 27-18 .600
      2007: 18-21 .462
      2006: 24-22 .522
      2005: 27-16 .628
      2004: 24-16 .600
      2003: 22-14 .611
      2002: 21-21 .500

      Overall, 2002-2008: 163-128 .560

      Which is about right; the Yanks’ overall record in that 7-year period is 680-453, .600, and you’d expect a .600 club to have a WPCT of about .560 in close games about .700 in blowouts, and somewhere in between in games decided by 3 or 4 runs.

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