Monday, July 12, 2010
The White Sox take the leadPosted by Dave Studeman
Let's take a moment to celebrate the White Sox's surge to first. A little more than a month ago, on June 8, the Sox were 24-33, nine wins under .500 and 9.5 games out of first place. As of the All-Star break, they now stand alone atop the AL Central (albeit by one-half game) with a 49-38 record.
The difference is 25-5, the Sox's record since June 8. During that time, they have scored 5.2 runs a game and allowed a mere 2.6. The second-best won/loss record during that time was the Yankees' 20-10. Their run scored average was the fourth-best in the majors, which is pretty darn good. But their runs allowed/game average was a full run better than the second-best team (the Braves). That's extremely impressive.
You may think that their offense hasn't gotten the attention it should, and that's what I thought at first too. But then I looked at the team's Win Probability Added (WPA) breakout during their 25-5 run. Here it is:
Offense: -0.5 games Defense: 10.5 gamesIf you look at their performance on a contextual basis, which is what WPA does, their pitching and fielding actually made up for a below-average contribution from the bats.
Here are their WPA leaders during the heady time in question, led by starters Floyd, Peavy, Danks and Buehrle and relievers Putz and Thornton:
First Last WPA/LI WPA Gavin Floyd 1.77 1.80 J.J. Putz 0.88 1.45 Jake Peavy 0.92 1.28 Matt Thornton 0.29 1.19 Carlos Quentin 1.72 1.17 John Danks 1.30 1.16 Mark Buehrle 0.68 1.06 Paul Konerko 0.51 0.90 Bobby Jenks 0.41 0.88 Alex Rios -0.10 0.56 Freddy Garcia 0.35 0.36 Ramon Castro 0.27 0.35 Brent Lillibridge 0.20 0.32 Mark Kotsay 0.03 0.26 Sergio Santos 0.04 0.13 Tony Pena -0.25 0.12 Scott Linebrink -0.03 0.04 Erick Threets 0.08 0.00 Jeffrey Marquez 0.00 0.00 Randy Williams -0.09 -0.02 John Danks -0.08 -0.02 Gavin Floyd 0.00 -0.03 Juan Pierre -0.30 -0.11 Andruw Jones -0.07 -0.11 Jake Peavy -0.12 -0.11 Daniel Hudson -0.23 -0.12 Mark Buehrle -0.14 -0.12 Jayson Nix -0.13 -0.16 Alexei Ramirez -0.10 -0.24 Omar Vizquel 0.00 -0.26 Freddy Garcia -0.20 -0.30 Dayan Viciedo 0.26 -0.35 Gordon Beckham -0.30 -0.44 A.J. Pierzynski -0.11 -0.66According to David Pinto's day-by-day database, Floyd was third in ERA in the majors during the past thirty games, Peavy was fifth, Buehrle was 11th and Danks was 23rd. That's some mighty fine pitchin'.
To cap things off, here is a look at the AL Central Division race in graphical form. Note the rise of that black line over the past month:
Dave was called a "national treasure" by Rob Neyer. Seriously. Comments about this article can be sent to him through the miracle of e-mail.