Wednesday, October 01, 2008
The Gifts of PittsburghPosted by Chris Jaffe
You don't think of the Pirates as having an impact on any pennant race given that they, well, suck - but they certainly did this year. They had 3 noticable impacts.
Wanna know why the Cubs had their winningest season in 63 years? Blame Pittsburgh. The Cubs loaded up on them, going 14-4, catapulting them to 97 wins. That's nothing, though.
Forget the Cubs, the Pirates had a huge impact on the other side of town. They played the White Sox in interleauge play, and got swept three games to zilch. Without that sweep, Minnesota is a lot happier today.
Last but not least, is Pittsburgh's massive impact on the NL Wild Card race. In 15 games against Milwaukee, Pittsburgh posted a 1-14 record. In other words, the Pirates went 5-31 against Lake Michigan franchises. Here are team winning percentages of all NL Wild Card hopefuls if you exclude Pittsburgh games (record against Pitt in parathesis):
NYM .548 (4-3)
STL .545 (7-10)
HOU .537 (8-8)
FLA .519 (3-2)
MIL .517 (14-1)
Much to my disappointment, Pittsburgh didn't tilt either the NL West or NL East races, though they made both ever so slightly tighter.
History instructor by day, statnerd by night, Chris Jaffe leads one of the most exciting double lives imaginable; with the exception of every other double life possible to imagine. Despite his lack of comic-book-hero-worthiness, Chris enjoys farting around with this stuff. His new book, Evaluating Baseball's Managers is available for order. Chris welcomes responses to his articles via e-mail. Oh, and now he's on twitter.