The Meaning Of One Run Losses
Losing three games in a row by a single run each time really sucks. Losing on Friday night because two outfielders ran into each other sucked. Losing last night because Chone Figgins couldn’t catch a fly ball and then couldn’t get a bunt down sucked. And losing today because Kevin Millwood gave up a home run pitching in weather that baseball was not meant to be played in sucked.
Inevitably, someone is going to say or write something tomorrow about how losing these games shows that this team just isn’t quite ready for prime time. That they fattened up on the weak part of the AL Central, but when it came to playing with the big boys, they just didn’t have that kind of winning mentality that you need to overcome adversity. That they’re too young to win, and these are the kinds of games they’ll learn how to hang onto when they’re older.
It’s all going to be BS, and if you want proof, just look at the records of MLB teams in one run games this year. The two teams that met in the World Series last year are 13-21 (STL) and 16-16 (TEX) in one run games this year. Presumably, these two teams are veteran enough to know how to win and all that jazz, but in close games, they’ve lost more than they’ve won. The defending World Champions actually have the fourth worst record in one run games in all of baseball, coming in just ahead of the Blue Jays, the Cubs, and the Astros.
You know who’s been really good in one run games? The Orioles, who are 23-6, and not exactly a club loaded with veterans who have been through the wars. You know who else has been really good in one run games? The Indians (15-8), who are a legitimately bad baseball team and dumped their older players as the season went along.
The Yankees are one of the most veteran teams anyone has ever seen, as they have the oldest group of hitters and the second oldest group of pitchers in the AL. They are 15-18 in one run games.
Think a progressive manager makes a huge difference, and lets you squeeze out wins that an old school guy does not? Well, the Rays are 18-21 in one run games despite having Joe Maddon at the helm, so they don’t really support that theory very well.
The reality is that the results of one run games are mostly random, with the deciding factors often being something like two outfielders running into each other and knocking the ball loose so the winning run can score from second base. Okay, so that specific situation doesn’t happen all that often, but the idea is that things mostly out of a team’s control are often crucial factors in picking the winners of games decided by a single run.
The Mariners got swept this weekend. That sucks. The Mariners went to Chicago, threw three pitchers not named Felix Hernandez, and were outscored by a total of three runs in three days. That’s pretty good.