Five Style

Well, my trip to the ballparks last weekend didn’t work out quite as planned, with rain washing away the Brewers-Phillies game and depriving me of my first opportunity to see Citizens Bank Ballpark. Given the way the rest of the weekend unfolded for the flat Brew Crew — including the shocking firing of manager Ned Yost — that might have been for the best. My frantic trip back to New York for my final game at Yankee Stadium didn’t wind up much better, as I watched a listless bunch of pinstriped zombies fail to summon the energy of going through the motions to pretend that they could act like they gave a shit. They lost 7-1 to the Rays, failing to score until the ninth inning, failing to draw a walk all day long. Alex Rodriguez sat in favor of Cody Ransom at third base. Blech.

As the finale approaches this Sunday, I’ve got a piece in the works about my last game still in the pipeline. Until then, here’s this week’s horde of links to my work at Baseball Prospectus, with a bonus as well:

• I neglected to include a link to This article looks at the high-profile bullpen failures of recent days, and focuses on the teams who haven’t been able to get much relief in the second half.

• This piece follows up one from three weeks ago, about teams who have dramatically over- or underachieved relative to their projected records. Last week, according to Baseball Prospectus’ Adjusted Standings Report — which forms the basis of the weekly Hit Lists — the Angels set an all-time mark for overachievement that was previously held by the 2004 Yankees; they’re now more than 14 games better than their adjusted runs scored and runs allowed totals would tell you. And when I say adjusted, I mean adjusted for run elements, park, league, and quality of competition.

Interestingly enough, the team that’s underachieved the most relative to their projected record are the Red Sox, who are more than seven games under theirs. A similar thing happened last year and it didn’t stop the Sox from winning the World Series, but it’s quite an anomaly for teams that are more than four games under their records to make the postseason — it’s happened just four times in over 100 years of play prior to this year.

• Today’s Hit List, the penultimate one of the season, much to my relief. Strangely enough, the Brewers, Yankees and Dodgers are 9-10-11 in this week’s rankings, and it looks like only the “weakest” of the three might make the playoffs. Not that the difference between the clubs is huge, just three percentage points of Hit List Factor (.003).

• Also, as a follow-up to last week’s piece on Manny Ramirez, researcher Bil Burk helped me prepare an Unfiltered follow-up comparing Manny’s initial hot streak with the Dodgers to the majors’ best hot streaks of equivalent length. It turns out that over the course of 180 plate appearances, the size of Ramirez’s stint in Dodger blue at the time, Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, Chipper Jones and Dan Uggla — the first three pretty solid MVP candidates — have outdone the toast of Tinseltown.

Ok, back sooner than later, hopefully.

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