The M’s in contention
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
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!