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Today’s MLB standings (with math): the extreme AL West

July 29, 2014 pm31 12:04 pm

I don’t follow baseball as closely as I once did. I go to Yankees games, and have to ask the names of some of the players – back in the day that’d never happen.

But I still enjoy the game, and do get to games, and every once in a while check box scores or standings.

That, by the way, is a remarkable admission from someone who used to buy one or two daily newspapers during my 20s, and would turn to the box scores first. I gained much facility with arithmetic, back before I was ten, as I saved the Sunday paper, and updated the leaders during the week, adding in ABs and Hs from the box scores, and dividing to get the new averages. I studied pitchers’ ERAs and tried to find the match-ups that would lead to the shortest games. And at a certain point, I would look at an average, and find possible AB and H combos that would have led to that average (rounded to the third decimal place), or would look at an ERA and a number of innings to calculate the number of earned runs, and recalculate the ERA with the new box score (websites give you all of this instantly today, but it used to take a week before new stats were published).

Anyway, I’m looking at the standings today, and it turns out that the two best records in baseball, and the two worst records in baseball, they are not extremely good or extremely bad, and all live in one division of one league: the American League West.

First, the lack of extremes is interesting. Over half the teams are between .450 and .550. But only two are over .600, and only one is over .400.

But the AL West looks different. The Oakland As are 25 games over 500, the California Anaheim Angels are 22 games over, the Houston Astros are 20 games under, and the Texas Rangers are 22 games under. See that California vs Texas thing? Cool.

Is anyone else close?  On the high end, no. In fact, they are the only two teams are above .560, the Tigers, Orioles and Dodgers are 12 games over, each. On the low end its closer. Rockies are 19 under, Cubs are 18 under, and the Diamondbacks and Phillies are both 14 below 500.

But the two best, and the two worst, in one division of only five teams. If this was independent, it would be weird. But here’s my question: how much is this due to the Angels pounding the Rangers and the Athletics pummeling the Astros? I could ask someone, or I could look it up:





5 – 2

7 – 5

+ 5


10 – 3

8 – 2




– 8

Interesting, without the two doormats, the Angels would be just 10 games over .500, and nothing special. Without losing to the top two teams in baseball, who the are forced to play frequently (currently about a fifth of their games), the Astros and Rangers would be ten and fourteen games under, or pretty much mediocre. In other words, the high quality of the competition in the division hurts the two from Texas, while the (weaker) divisional opponents boosts the Angels’ record.

But the As are 12 – 7, .632 against the Astros and Rangers, 53 – 33, .612 against everyone else. They are just really good.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2014 pm31 12:14 pm 12:14 pm

    please check the 4th sentence of this post (do you mean” read” or to be one?) ok

    Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:04:45 +0000 To:

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