The M’s in contention

DMZ · May 5, 2007 at 10:15 am · Filed Under Mariners 

You may have heard me rant about Pythagorean wins before (if not: I’m not a fan), and here’s how this relates to the M’s being in second place, ahead even of Oakland: all of things that are supposed to indicate a team’s true strength, like adjusted standings or run margins, they don’t matter to a team’s standing any more than a PECOTA forecast matters to a player’s performance. No one comes to the team and says “you’re -6 in RS-RA, so you have to give back three games”.

They’re useful to some degree in thinking about a team’s strength, of course. The BP Adjusted Standings have the AL West as

Athletics 14-14
Angels 14-16
Mariners 11-13
Rangers 11-18

using “third-order wins and losses”.

But the wins are on the board, and it doesn’t matter that the offense is erratic, and the rotation’s been crazy. All they need to do now is play better, and if they push the right buttons, that can happen (if Weaver’s not going to turn around, swapping him for Baek makes the RS/RA entirely irrelevant). The A’s seem hell-bent on having at least half their Opening Day 25-man on the DL, so their RS/RA to date isn’t particularly applicable either.

In first, Angels remain the team to beat (as, uh, we thought it would be before the season once we gave it some thought). And if things continue as they have, yeah, they’d finish about four games ahead at the end of the season. But that doesn’t mean they will, or they will.

Contend, dammit, contend!


16 Responses to “The M’s in contention”

  1. rlharr on May 5th, 2007 10:33 am

    The BP Playoff Odds Report is really more useful – it takes into account the games played, and then factors in the Pythagorean wins, remaining schedule, etc. There the M’s are in the thick of the race ~30% chance of getting in the playoffs. Go M’s!

  2. smb on May 5th, 2007 11:10 am

    Statistics are created and manipulated until they support whatever conclusion the statistician or analyst wants represented. They may even come really close to the truth. Goodness, we even learned this week that NBA refs call fouls based on skin color! That Jack Crawford…I knew it! But at the end of the day, I’d still bet my left (non-throwing) arm that the AL West isn’t represented in the ALCS this year. There’s some Weaver Day pessimism for ya. Go M’s! Yank theez!

  3. Buckyfan on May 5th, 2007 11:11 am

    It’s actually not that complicated. We’ve played 6 games less than the Angels, that has a large part in it as well. We’ve missed three games vs. the Tribe alone. And they’re one of the best teams in the A.L.

  4. feingarden on May 5th, 2007 11:35 am

    Please help clear the clouds from my oh-so-confused brain. Is contention now a good thing or a bad thing in the long term? I’ve been completely torn all year between hoping for wins and hoping for a nice 10-game skid that might shake up the front office and improve the odds that the M’s could be the team to beat by, say, ’09 or so. (Except when playing the Yankees, of course. No conflict there, just gimme the win.)

    And whither Ichiro? He seems to be a key to the future, or at least an important bridge to it, drawing the few remaining fans out to the ballpark while the team rebuilds, but I haven’t seen any indication that he’s going to be with the team beyond July and I’ve written him off entirely for ’08. (In fact, I’m steeling myself for having to see him in pinstripes, just in case.) Would ‘contention’ be enough to keep him around? Or would it just validate the sketchy off-season moves by Bavasi and the on-field management by Grover?

    A win over the Yankees sure feels nice, but it makes me feel that the disease won’t get treated if the symptoms go away.

  5. Jim Thomsen on May 5th, 2007 11:39 am

    Helping the cause today: the breaking news this morning that Julio Mateo is no longer with the team while he works out unspecfied criminal legal issues, according to KOMO Radio’s Shannon Drayer.

  6. carcinogen on May 5th, 2007 11:46 am

    Its too bad that swapping a manager isn’t like swapping a player. For example, if the Ms had a chance to swap Sexson for Konerko we (and the media) would say basically that the Ms had upgraded a position, not that they were tearing down the entire team.

    But with a manager, its unfortunately different. You can’t just “upgrade” your manager in today’s atmosphere. If the Ms are winning, you “wouldn’t switch horses in midstream,” but why should it be so. Teams that are close to contention trade up all the time, don’t know why it would (or should) require a huge losing streak to boot Hargrove. I’m wondering if even the best run organizations would feel compelled to dump the manager if they thought it would mean a few more games in the standings.

  7. carcinogen on May 5th, 2007 11:47 am

    5: are you serious? Is that story on the web?

  8. Jim Thomsen on May 5th, 2007 11:51 am

    I just heard Drayer read a team statement on the radio about 20 minutes ago.

  9. Jim Thomsen on May 5th, 2007 11:52 am

    From Geoff Baker’s blog:

    Mariners relief pitcher Julio Mateo turned himself over to police early today to be questioned in a physical assault that took place at the team’s Manhattan hotel. Details are very sketchy, but it appears that the assault victim was a woman. Mateo is married, but it is unclear whether his wife, Aurea, was with him on this trip or is the woman in question.

    “Obviously, we consider this real serious,” Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said moments ago, declining to go into any details of the incident in question. “Julio is working with the proper authorities in this right now. And besides to stress to you our understanding of just how serious this is, we just really can’t comment beyond that.”

    The team is uncertain whether Mateo will be available for this afternoon’s game. It is also unclear whether or not Mateo is under arrest. He has retained his own legal counsel in the matter.

  10. Jim Thomsen on May 5th, 2007 11:53 am

    Sorry, DMZ, about the thread-jack. This should probably be its own thread. But breaking news is breaking news.

  11. Dave on May 5th, 2007 11:54 am

    It has its own thread now.

  12. playdoh309 on May 5th, 2007 11:54 am

    does breaking news include WFB and Broussard in for Beltre and Vidro?

  13. joser on May 5th, 2007 12:18 pm

    That’s not breaking news. It was announced towards the end of last night’s game thread.

  14. Joe on May 5th, 2007 12:21 pm

    …and to quote Dave:

    Right, because what Jeff Weaver needs, when facing the best line-up in baseball, is for his gold glove third baseman to be sitting on the bench.

  15. joser on May 5th, 2007 12:28 pm

    I have a feeling the M’s are going to have the same quandry with Ichiro in July as Beane had with Zito last summer: accept the likely outcome and get some value from a star who is probably not re-signing, or follow crazy hope and risk not reaching the postseason and getting nothing for your departing superstar. I suspect the financial consideration this year — trading Ichiro doesn’t just signal giving up on the season; for a lot of fans it pretty much eliminates a reason to come to see the M’s even when they’re dropping out of contention — will outweigh everything else. Moreover, unlike Beane, Bavasi is trying to hang onto his job by winning this year. And of course the M’s might think they have a shot at getting Ichiro back, whereas Beane knew he wouldn’t be able to afford Zito. Then again, the A’s made it to the postseason so hanging on to Zito was probably the right decision. Still, I bet there were times Beane privately wished they weren’t contending just so he could get some value for the guy.

  16. kmsandrbs on May 5th, 2007 1:09 pm

    So, my concern …

    Last year, we wern’t that bad (no, really). And, if we hadn’t been the personal whipping boys of the Oakland As (lets say, our record against them was 8 – 13 instead of 2 – 19), we would have finished in 2nd place in the AL West, behind Anaheim but ahead of Oakland.

    Are we going tro be the Angels whipping boys this year (since we have lost all 3 to them so far), vaulting them into first and relegating us to 3rd or fourth, and not contending once again? I kno, I know, short sample size … but we’ve done it before.

    Sigh …

    I guess, contention might be looking more at the likelihood of our players continuing their good (i.e. … I don’t know … no one’s really excelling right now on this team])/bad (i.e Sexon) performance, or who is likely to have a major change at this point?

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