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I Did My Worst, But My Worst Just Wasn't Good Enough
2003-08-07 08:57
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Todd Sullivan, in a letter to Thoughts from Diamond Mind published Wednesday, points out that the Dodgers could be holding the wild-card slot even with a league-worst offense.

He came to this conclusion through some heady usage of Bill James' Pythagorean theorem of baseball, which as we've discussed before, effectively calculates your expected record based on how many runs you have scored and allowed. (You can find the current Pythandings at the bottom of Rob Neyer's ESPN page.)

Sullivan notes the remarkable difference between the Dodgers and the 15th-place team in scoring, San Diego (as I write this today, the Dodgers are being outscored by the Padres, 4.08 runs per game to 3.45). Then, Sullivan writes:

To own the wild card lead at a modest .600 winning pct., they would need 434 runs; 434 runs would leave LA second to last in the majors (which is where they currently reside). Similarly, to be tied with Philly for the wild card at a .561 winning pct., LA would need 400 runs scored; again second to last in the majors.

In short, LA could be in prime playoff position with the worst offense in the NL and their current pitching/defense, if only they had a better NL worst offense.

The keeper of Diamond Mind, Tom Tippett, wraps up the comment by reminding us that the 2003 Dodger season continues to be truly historic:

LA is indeed in uncharted territory. Through the games of August 3rd, the Dodgers were allowing runs at 68% of the league average rate, the best mark in the history of the game. And they were scoring runs at 71% of the league average rate, a figure that is tied for third-worst of all time.

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