Thursday, September 3, 2015

Trends of World Series matchups

So y'all want to make this a World Series preview?

Trends of World Series matchups

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Ruben Amaro Jr. has insisted the Red Sox are a better team than the Phillies. (Sarah J. Glover/Staff file photo)
Ruben Amaro Jr. has insisted the Red Sox are a better team than the Phillies. (Sarah J. Glover/Staff file photo)

So y'all want to make this a World Series preview?

Wait, you don't?

No, neither do I. 

For the Boston series preview story in Tuesday's Inquirer, I wanted to focus on the two opposing characteristics that define these two teams. When I realized the Red Sox were scoring, on average, 1.26 runs per game more than the Phillies, that got me thinking:

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How many times has a team won a World Series while overcoming a margin like that?

And yes, it's highly possible that the season ends and the margin is not that great. Boston could suffer more injuries. The Phillies could add a righthanded bat. The world could end. Or -- gasp! -- someone other than the Red Sox and Phillies could play in the Fall Classic. Who knows?

But in doing some research, the run and ERA differentials in past World Series pairings are cool to look at. Some of that research appeared in the story. But I'll dump all of it here for your perusal. 

In each year, the World Series winner is listed first. The difference in runs and ERA is WINNER-LOSER. So a negative run differential means the World Series winner scored fewer runs during the regular season. And a negative ERA differential means the World Series winner had a better pitching staff.

We've included the hypothetical 2011 World Series first.

TEAM R/G ERA DIFF R/G DIFF ERA
2011        
PHI 4.05 3.05 -1.26 -0.92
BOS 5.31 3.97    
         
2010        
SF 4.30 3.36 -0.56 -0.57
TEX 4.86 3.93    
         
2009        
NYY 5.65 4.26 0.59 0.10
PHI 5.06 4.16    
         
2008        
PHI 4.93 3.88 0.15 0.06
TB 4.78 3.82    
         
2007        
BOS 5.35 3.87 0.07 -0.45
COL 5.28 4.32    
         
2006        
STL 4.85 4.54 -0.22 0.70
DET 5.07 3.84    
         
2005        
CHW 4.57 3.61 0.32 0.10
HOU 4.25 3.51    
         
2004        
BOS 5.86 4.18 0.58 0.43
STL 5.28 3.75    
         
2003        
FLA 4.64 4.04 -0.74 0.02
NYY 5.38 4.02    
         
2002        
ANA 5.25 3.69 0.42 0.15
SF 4.83 3.54    
         
2001        
ARI 5.05 3.87 0.06 -0.15
NYY 4.99 4.02    
         
2000        
NYY 5.41 4.76 0.43 0.60
NYM 4.98 4.16    
         
1999        
NYY 5.56 4.13 0.37 0.50
ATL 5.19 3.63    
         
1998        
NYY 5.96 3.82 1.34 0.19
SD 4.62 3.63    
         
1997        
FLA 4.57 3.83 -0.82 -0.90
CLE 5.39 4.73    
         
1996        
NYY 5.38 4.65 0.61 1.13
ATL 4.77 3.52    
         
1995        
ATL 4.48 3.44 -1.35 -0.39
CLE 5.83 3.83    
         
1993        
TOR 5.23 4.21 -0.18 0.26
PHI 5.41 3.95    
         
1992        
TOR 4.81 3.91 0.60 0.77
ATL 4.21 3.14    
         
1991        
MIN 4.79 3.69 0.17 0.20
ATL 4.62 3.49    
         
1990        
CIN 4.28 3.39 -0.24 0.21
OAK 4.52 3.18    
         
1989        
OAK 4.40 3.09 0.09 -0.21
SF 4.31 3.30    
         
1988        
LA 3.88 2.96 -1.06 -0.48
OAK 4.94 3.44    
         
1987        
MIN 4.85 4.63 -0.08 0.72
STL 4.93 3.91    
         
1986        
NYM 4.83 3.11 -0.10 -0.82
BOS 4.93 3.93    
         
1985        
KC 4.24 3.49 -0.37 0.39
STL 4.61 3.10    
         
1984        
DET 5.12 3.49 0.89 0.01
SD 4.23 3.48    
         
1983        
BAL 4.93 3.63 0.66 0.29
PHI 4.27 3.34    
         
1982        
STL 4.23 3.37 -1.24 -0.61
MIL 5.47 3.98    
         
1981        
LA 4.09 3.01 0.16 0.11
NYY 3.93 2.90    
         
1980        
PHI 4.49 3.43 -0.50 -0.40
KC 4.99 3.83    

In the Steroid Era (let's say 1994-2009), a team with fewer runs scored average and lower ERA won just twice (1995 Braves and 1997 Marlins). From 1980 to 1993 it happened four times.

Again, just a fun exercise for three games that have no bearing on the World Series matchup to come in October. What I wonder is if the Giants win from a season ago, in which they scored fewer runs and had a better ERA, is the beginning of a trend. We see scoring down across baseball yet again. Pitching talent outweighs hitting talent.

The Phillies have invested in that theory.


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