Aug 29, 2007

and I don't want a taste of victory

Interpol's latest chart-riser, "The Heinrich Maneuver," opens by asking, "How are things on the west coast?"

The answer is, "Not well." At least, not just south of the 49th parallel. The Mariners, once threatening the Angels' lead, have meekly dropped further into second and now cling to the wild card after some uninspired pitching, slipshod defense, untimely hitting, bad luck, and poor coaching.

Did I leave anything out?

The most frustrating thing is knowing that the M's are better than this. No one expected them to sweep Anaheim, but we had every reason to expect a hard-fought 2-1 series--in either direction.

Geoff Baker writes,
That old sports saying about taking things "one game at a time"? It truly does apply here. Forget about dissecting the bits and pieces of today's game. The M's were still reeling from last night and finished the moment they fell behind. Happens a lot in these situations.
Doesn't take the sting away, though. A sweep hurts.


TeacherRefPoet said...

And I say, we're not better than this. The Angels are a superior team in all areas except bullpen. Starters 1-5 are better than our 1-5. They run better. They hit better for power.

All season long, according to every projecction, we've been overperforming. We might sneak in if we perform well against the Yankees, but this feels more like the inevitable--if tardy--regression to the mean. Nothing to be ashamed of...this team is way, way improved, and kinda fun.

Jim Anderson said...

Is it simple regression to the mean if only one team is getting our goat? If Anaheim dropped out of the equation, the Mariners would be 22 games above .500.

TeacherRefPoet said...

And if you take away the 7-1 against the White Sox, we'd be 8 games over .500. Big whoop.

We have outscored our opposition by six runs all season. That's 131 games, and we're six runs ahead. Winning a lot of games while scoring overally equal runs as your opposition is not a repeatable skill. It's not a skill at all. In fact, the stats say we're still seven games lucky (we should be .500). Getting closer to that .500 is the very definition of regression to the mean.

We've ridden a luck wave. Overperformed. Don't let your heart do your statistical thinking for you.

It's been a fun ride, and we might still sneak into the wild card if we can take it to the Yankees. But your analysis that "we're better than this" has no basis in anything tangible. It's a faith-based argument.

Jim Anderson said...

My argument isn't that we're better than the Angels, but that we were better than a sweep. We could have shut the door in Game 2, but McLaren made some bizarro decisions combined with bad luck--there's your regression--and we choked. Arguably, and ironically, McLaren's own statistical non-savvy is costing his team games.

The joy of the bell curve is in the rightward tail.

Now, if only Richie Sexson would regress to his mean. (Makes me wonder just how much he's dragged down that run differential.)

Jim Anderson said...

Oh, and one more thing: I hate myself for having to agree with science, and therefore you, that yes, overall, the Mariners are outdoing themselves.

Head defeats heart once again.

A sadder but a wiser fan go I.

For interested readers, here's a great explanation of the Pythagorean stat--that is, if you trust the New York Times.