Interleague play:  AL makes it six straight

The 2010 episode of interleague play is now complete. While the National League managed to tighten to margin somewhat in this final week, it wasn’t enough, as the American League prevailed overall by a tally of 134 wins to 118. Interestingly, the Pythagorean record indicated by the leagues’ comparative runs scored (1,168 for the AL to 1,098 for the NL) comes out as exactly 134-118 as well, so one can say that there wasn’t the slightest bit of flukiness in this win-loss result.

This marks the sixth consecutive season that the AL has come out on top in interleague play. If there’s any silver lining in this cloud for the National League, it would be that this year’s AL winning percentage of .532 was the closest it’s been—probably more accurately termed as “least dominant” it’s been—within this six-year streak.

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  1. MiekS said...

    It’s not fair to cherry pick but Boston, Chicago and Texas were 42 – 12 vs the NL.  That accounts for more than the whole difference right there.  More AL teams were under .500 than over against the NL (6-7-1).  Maybe the NL is catching up.

  2. Steve Treder said...

    Maybe the NL is catching up, but I wouldn’t rely on that analysis to support the conclusion.  I don’t know why we should, but if we’re going to eliminate the top few performing AL teams, then we should also eliminate the same number of top few performing NL teams.

  3. MikeS said...

    I think I agree with you, that’s why I said it wasn’t fair to cherry pick the outliers.  But if we continue the exercise:

    Mets 13 – 5
    Phillies 10 – 8
    5 teams 9 – 6

    Depending on how you count that, the top three are either 14 games over .500 or have 32 total wins.  A far cry from 30 over and 42 wins.

    I certainly don’t know enough stats to be able to tease out whether the outstanding results of 3 AL teams skews the results enough to say that the leagues are closer than they used to be.

    What I noticed this year that was different is that if an AL team used to go say, 11 – 7, they wouldn’t pick up any ground or if an NL team flipped that around, they wouldn’t lose any.  Put another way, an AL team that played these 2 weeks at .500 would lose ground on the competition.  It didn’t seem to work that way this year.  The standings actually changed about as much as they usually do over the last 2 weeks.

  4. Steve Treder said...

    “I certainly don’t know enough stats to be able to tease out whether the outstanding results of 3 AL teams skews the results enough to say that the leagues are closer than they used to be.”

    Yeah, I’m sure somebody more math-savvy than me (which ain’t sayin’ much) could perform a standard deviation analysis or something, and determine the “typical” interleague record as opposed to the mean average interleague record.

    But I’m still unpersuaded as to why that would be a valid approach.  The Red Sox, White Sox, and Rangers are still members of the American League in good standing, and every one of their interleague opponents was a member of the NL.  Those games count just as much as any other.

    I guess I’d say that regardless of how the wins and losses were distributed this year, the fact remains that the AL team won 53% of the time, and in a sample of 252 MLB games, 53% is a fairly strong indicator of superiority.  (Maybe some stats whiz can perform the confidence interval on that.)

  5. Vin said...

    What’s being said here supports my theory that the AL has more top and bottom teams, while the NL has more teams in the middle. Just thinking about the Mets, their great interleague record comes from beating up on the Orioles and Indians while holding their own against the Tigers, Twins and Yankees. It would also stand to reason that the distribution of series victories reflects that point – NL teams saw a lot of (relatively) favorable matchups against some very weak opponents, but the top AL teams could just run roughshod over the NL.

    If you average it all out, the AL comes out on top, but the results do seem to confirm what I’ve observed about the talent distribution in the two leagues. Of course, this could all be wrong, and someone with more mathematical and statistical abilities than myself would probably do a better job of proving/disproving my little notion.

  6. David said...

    One could, of course, take the opposite approach and take out two outliers from the other end:

    Houston     3-12
    Pittsburgh   2-13

    at which point the NL would prevail 113-109.

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