Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Durham Bulls at the All-Star Break - Part 1

The best team in the International League South Division is the Charlotte Knights (White Sox). They are an ugly 8 games below .500. That leaves the Durham Bulls in the very odd position of being an even worse 12 games below .500 in the won-loss metric, but only 2 games behind in the division competition. [standings]

Click for larger image

This leads quite naturally to the speculation that if the Bulls could make a serious run at reaching just the .500 mark they'd have a chance at winning the division and making the playoffs (the wild card is obviously going to come from either the North or West Division). So here's a chart that tracks the Bulls' performance back to mid-season (72 games) and shows the path to .500. The Bulls need to win 32 out of the next 52 games to get there.

How did the Bulls descend to such levels? Well, their opponents scored more runs than they did. How's that for a blinding glimpse of the obvious? The Bulls' run differential seems to have stabilized over the last several games. Unfortunately, that stability has come at around the -60 mark. It could be worse. If you take the run differential and process it through the Pythagorean Expectation formula the Bulls "should" be at 38-54 instead of their actual 40-52. Small favors.

How does the current situation compare to previous years? Well, the Bulls are reaching down into 2012 territory, but that was between two Governors' Cup years. In 2012 the Bulls finished 66-78 and in third place in the South Division.

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