Wish I could give you a real clear answer on that, Ced. But I can't. As Johnny mentioned, there's only theory. When you take a look at the top RS teams from last season, you get this:Originally Posted by Cedric
Team (RS): +/- Wins v Pythag
Boston (949 RS): +2 Wins
NY Yankees (897 RS): +12 Wins
Chicago White Sox (865 RS): -1 Win
Texas Rangers (860 RS): +2 Wins
Cleveland Indians (858 RS): -1 Win
St. Louis Cardinals (855 RS): +5 Wins
San Francisco Giants (850 RS): +3 Wins
Baltimore Orioles (842 RS): -4 Wins
Philadelphia Phillies (840 RS): +/- 0 Wins
Anaheim Angels (836 RS): +1 Win
The only thing that sticks out there like a truly sore thumb is the +12 Wins posted by the Yankees. The Cards won 5 more than Pythag says they should have, but that's not an extreme scenario.
So why did the Yankees win so many more games than they "should have"? Was it because of a great offense? Doesn't seem to be. Was the pen that good in "locking down" victories? Other that Rivera, not at all. The pen was a huge issue all season long (and if it were purely a "closer" thing, then no way the Reds get +9 Wins via Danny Graves).
Balanced power throughout the lineup? Cubs had a very balanced power lineup as well but finished five games UNDER their projection.
So what happened? Dunno. Can't put a finger on it...except...maybe...
One Run Games:
NY Yankees: 24-16 (.600 Win %)
Cincinnati Reds: 25-20 (.556 Win %)
St. Louis Cardinals: 29-20 (.592 Win %)
Maybe? Eh, but then you find the White Sox playing 28-18 (.609 Win %) ball in one-Run games and it blows that theory to smithereens as well. And even if it held, we'd still need to find an attributable consistent cause for those high close-game Win percentages.
Without any attributable cause that's consistent from team-to-team, simple chance is about all we have left.