This post, which will appear before every game, will include starting lineups (when we learn them) and during the game will include a Game Graph that will constantly update the percent chance the Rays have of winning this particular game.

Game Graph


Source: FanGraphs

Playing A Little Pepper

All five teams in the AL East are over .500 with the Orioles and Rays tied for first and the Red Sox in last, but just 3 games back. But which team has been the best so far?

The Orioles are playing better, but they are still not as good as their record. They have only outscored their opponents by 8 runs so far, the worst in the AL East and only the 7th best in the AL. On the other hand, the Toronto Blue Jays have a +26 run differential, best in the division and only behind the Rangers (+79) and White Sox (+37) in the AL. Meanwhile, the Rays (+10) are 4th in the East and 6th in the AL…TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Lineup…

  1. Carlos Pena, 1B
  2. BJ Upton, CF
  3. Matt Joyce, RF
  4. Ben Zobrist, 2B
  5. Luke Scott, DH
  6. Sean Rodriguez, 3B
  7. Hideki Matsui, LF
  8. Jose Molina, C
  9. Elliot Johnson, SS
  10. Matt Moore, SP

Song to get you pumped up

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5 Comments

  1. Sam B says:

    The Mariners have a +2 run differential and are 7 games under .500 and 9 games out of first, thanks in part to the 21-8 shelacking over the Rangers the other night.

    The Indians have a -24 differential, are second in the AL Central, 4 games over .500 and 1.5 games out of first for the division.

    The Cards have a +65 differential and are second to the Reds by 1.5 games who have a +17 differential. Also, the team is only 3 games over .500.

    To top it off, the Mets are only a game behind the white-hot Marlins, 5 games over .500 and have a -24 run differential.

    So, is run differential really that reliable to show who’s the better team in the AL East?

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Run differential tends to hold up over time and is typically a better indicator of how well teams have played. If a team’s record is significantly different than their run diff it is usually a sign that they have been lucky, possibly winning or losing more close games than would be typically expected.

      The fact is, winning games ultimately comes down to how many runs you score and how many you give up. And if you give up a lot more runs than you score, eventually your record will reflect that.

      That being said, there are reasons a team can deviate from their run differential. A team with a very good bullpen would be expected to win more close games than a team with a bad bullpen.

      • Sam B says:

        But there is still too much variability to the run differential to accurately show who is a better team. It doesn’t accurately describe how a team is winning or why a team is winning. It might be a little bit more accurate to see a (Runs per Game)-(Runs Allowed per Game) differential. That would be most interesting to see.

        Also, congrats onto making it onto the Rays MLB site for the Upton article!

        • Cork Gaines says:

          But that variability comes because, in some sense, 9 innings is a very small sample size. You would never judge a team by how they play in one game. And the reason is, is because one game is not a good indicator of how many runs they can score or how many the opposition can score off of them. However, over time we get a better sense of how good a teams is offensively and defensively (including pitching). How many runs a team scores in 50 games tells me a lot more than how many runs a team scores in 9 innings.

          Early in the season we would expect to see some deviation because of the occasional 15-3 game. But over time, those things tend to even out. Have they evened out after 50 games? Maybe not. And that is why we see the discrepancies that you mentioned.

          But if I am a gambler and I see that the Mets have been outscored by 24 runs, it tells me that they are not as good as their record indicates. And it could be a sign of bad things to come. Now, maybe the Mets will continue to somehow win more games despite being outscored. It CAN happen. However, it doesn’t happen very often.

          And thanks!

  2. Lee G says:

    What the Rays run differential doesn’t tell you is that they have the second lowest ERA in the AL and much of their offense is on the DL and their defense is somewhat out of position and underperforming, and yet there still winning, albeit sometimes by slim margins.

    We’ll see how things are when Flash and Longo are in the lineup.

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