Originally Posted by SteelSD
Yeah. I think that was the Reds.
I have no idea if it holds true because I'd have to do a lot of research on the subject to effectively prove it, but I've always felt that teams who are able to best beat their pythag are teams who:
1. Have a combination of either Excellent Hitting/Mediocre Pitching or Mediocre Hitting/Excellent Pitching.
2. End up winning a very high percentage of their one-Run games regardless of method (i.e. "smallball" versus "powerball").
In short, I think beating the pythag is random, but teams that minimize the randomness allowing for more one-Run (or 2-Run maybe) situations over the course of a season are better off in respect to actually beating their pythag.
Again, just a theory.
My hypothesis is that it has a lot to do with HRs. HRs are an extremely efficient way of scoring runs, but they result in lumpy scoring patterns from game to game (i.e., they create an unusually wide standard deviation of runs scored or runs allowed per game). My hypothesis is that those teams that hit or surrender an unusual # of HRs (relatively speaking) tend not to adhere to the "rules" that govern everyone else.
The Nats, like the 2004 Reds and 2004 Yankees, may be a good fit for this hypothesis. The Nats home ballpark may be a key driver--RFK scores a 0.550 (extremely low) on the ballpark factor for HRs allowed.
Finally, a well-deserved props to BP for critically looking at Washington's run differential. The lazy, Neyer-like approach would be to say they're doomed to "regress to the mean."