Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Durham Bulls (and the Rays) at All-Star Break

The Bulls begin their post-All-Star season at 53-44, 9½ games ahead of Gwinnett in the South Division. [standings] If the playoffs were to begin today, the Bulls would face a first round playoff series against the Columbus Clippers or Indianapolis Indians (they are tied in the West) while Syracuse (North) and Rochester (Wild Card) would be playing each other. This upcoming series could be Gwinnett’s last, best chance to climb back into contention.
[Note: click on charts for larger views]

The net runs scored/runs allowed chart shows a bit more dramatically the problems in June and the stabilizing and modest recovery since then. The Bulls' Pythagorean Expectation is 51-46, that is, they are doing better than expected. Conventional wisdom attributes that to relief pitching. That certainly appears to be the case as far as the Bulls are concerned.

This cumulative ERA chart shows the huge slippage in starting and relief pitching in June and then shows how it stabilized a bit overall (and improved among the relievers) in recent days. See our recent post on individual pitchers here.

If you take the last 20 games, figure the team OPS for each game, and slap a trend line on it, it looks like this. Pretty good trend, even if the absolute numbers are nothing special.

The Tampa Bay Rays

Since we’ve got the numbers, how about our friends down in St. Petersburg? They are tied for last place in the American League East.

And have a pretty dismal net runs scored chart. But looking better in recent days. At 44-53 they are doing worse than their Pythagorean Expectation of 46-51. Again making their bullpen suspect. No surprise there.

On the other hand, when they reached their nadir for the season back in mid-June I commented that they would be doing well to reach .500 on the season. Here’s a chart that implies that if they stay on track they could reach that goal.

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