Coherent Observations of the Sporadic Mind.
Run DIfferentials are what "experts" like Rob Neyer base their baseball lives around. That and knowing how to make Bill James the perfect cup of coffee. The reason these "Differentials" are so beloved? It is quite simple. In a futuristic glance, they are the most predicting stat of a teams future success. The Cleveland Indians last year had an impressive run differential, but finished six games below .500 in fourth place. This could be due to their "faulty" bullpen last year. But many predictions of the Indians doing well were based on them scoring many more runs than they gave up last season. Or it could be that some liked them because of their talent, which was a logical argument also. But anyway here are the top "Run Differentials" in the MLB.
Red Sox – +124
Is their any coincidence that the top four teams are in the American League? It is clearly the superior league in my opinion. Now the Padres look like the scariest NL team to me right now. They have two great pitchers and that goes a long way in the postseason. They also have that death trap of a ballpark for hitters. The Mets may be dangerous if they can make a move for a pitcher and/or Pedro comes back with a vengeance. Speaking of Pedro…Matsuzaka reminds me a lot of the 04′ Pedro. Pedro’s velocity was down at this time in his career and teams could hit him fairly hard at times. His ERA was 3.90 by seasons end. I am not saying that the two pitchers are the same in their style (although their mannerisms remind me a little of each other). I just feel like Dice-K could be that type of pitcher for his career. An ERA around 4.00 and some good performances, but a handful of shaky ones each year to go along with them. And some slight embarassment against lineups as demeaning as the Yankees can be. And currently he gives me that same feeling that Pedro gave me. I was unsure of what to expect each night from Pedro during the 04′ season. Is he going to pitch seven innings and give up only one earned? Or is he going to give up four or five runs in six innings? And I know that Pedro is the greatest pitcher ever in my opinion, but this version of Pedro was not nearly as frightening as that superhero we saw pre-2004.
This also reminds me of time I saw Pedro, and the time I almost saw Pedro. The only time I saw Pedro live was when he pitched in Tampa in, I think, 01.’ He left the game with an injury kind of early in the game, and I believe they shut him down for the season after that. I am mistaken, I just went and checked the box score. He pitched that game then one more, missed a month, and made three more starts the rest of the season, missing almost the entire final month of the season also. So that was when I saw Pedro. He gave up one earned run in five innings. I felt like he did worse than that, but my memory fails me once again. Anyway, Manny hit a game winning double in the top of the ninth and the Sox won.
Now the time that I almost saw Pedro pitch. My Dad and I went to one of the games at Fenway when the Yankees came to town during the 2003 season. Pedro was scheduled to pitch…but he was hurt! They scratched him from his start and instead had Bruce Chen go to the mound. Yeah! That "yeah" was meant to be as sarcastic sounding as I could possibly make it. But nonetheless, I was able to see the Red Sox beat the Yankees. And that is always fun for a Red Sox fan. I know my blog isn’t to trash the Yankees or sound ignorant. But come on, I enjoy beating the Yankees more so than any other team. And I know the Yankees fans feel the same way about beating the Red Sox. And that was the only Red Sox/Yankees game that I have been to, that I can remember at least. And there is nothing like it.