Some Final Thoughts on April

As I enter the relevant figures from the box score into the standings table, I record the corresponding changes in the modified projections for Pythagorean winning percentage (found at the far right of the table). This information in a line graph provides one account of a team’s ups and downs throughout the season.

alwestpythapril

Click to view full-size. The changes in altitude on the graph reflect runs scored and allowed, which is why at the end of April the A’s and Angels stand above everyone else. The Rangers’ series of big losses against Oakland affected their trendline more than it probably should have. Seattle’s hot start was thoroughly cooled by the third week of April with typical Seattle play. I didn’t bother expanding the y-axis to fully capture Houston’s journey; I think you all get the idea based solely on their distance from the other four teams in the division.

nlwestpythapril

The big movers here are the Diamondbacks, though it’s not the kind of moving you want to talk about, and the fault likes almost wholly on the pitching and defensive side of things. The Diamondbacks have allowed more runs than Houston–not just the worst team in the majors, but a team that must also contend with the higher-scoring environment of the American League. The Padres are close enough in the standings but their offense has been so unfathomably bad that .500 at the end of the season is a tall order. Colorado really kicked things into gear halfway into the month. Beginning with the first game of a homestand, April 18, the Rockies ran off an 8-4 record, outscoring their opponents 75 runs to 52. If every 12-game stretch brought with it a run differential of +23, that would make for a season-long differential of approximately +311. The world-champion Red Sox of that fabled year 2013 had a run differential of +197.

Atop this graph, the Giants and Dodgers appear locked in a slow dance of convergence, the Giants playing better than expected and the Dodgers worse.

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