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Thread: Pythagoras smiles

  1. #1
    High five! nate's Avatar
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    Pythagoras smiles

    As everyone's favorite announcer, George Grande would say, we have a smiling Pythagoras. The Reds really started turning on their differential since bottoming out on 4/28 of this year. It's almost been a straight climb up to the surface since that time.

    Anyhow, here's a little graphic that should warm the cockles of ol' "Py" (and Raisor):



    Go team!
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

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    Re: Pythagoras smiles

    You guys like Pythagoras a lot more than I do, but maybe it's because I just don't understand it that well. Does the fact the Reds piled on a bunch of runs last night when they already had the game in hand make them a better team? Does it mean that they will win more games? I just don't see it.

    I understand that the pythag predicts what a teams record would be based on their run differential, but I think it is a very overrated "stat," and isn't a great predictor of how teams play in close ball games, do they score runs when it counts, etc.

    I'm sure many will have differing opinions.

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    Re: Pythagoras smiles

    I like to scoff at Pythagoras but its track record is remarkable. Not on a game-by-game basis, but it's a good unsentimental look at how the team is actually playing.

    I always imagine that there might be a team that has a low-scoring offense and three excellent starting pitchers, and a couple of very bad ones. They win low-scoring games, and lose by wide margins. But Pythagoras comes through time and again.

    One thing you can be sure of is that tomorrow, the number will be different. But over time, it will tell you if the team is playing over their heads or not.

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    High five! nate's Avatar
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    Re: Pythagoras smiles

    Quote Originally Posted by Homer Bailey View Post
    You guys like Pythagoras a lot more than I do, but maybe it's because I just don't understand it that well. Does the fact the Reds piled on a bunch of runs last night when they already had the game in hand make them a better team? Does it mean that they will win more games? I just don't see it.
    I guess I'd answer your question with a question. Is a team more likely to win games when it typically scores more runs than the opposition or is it more likely to win games when it typically scores less runs than the opposition?

    Lopsided wins offset lopsided losses, that's why there are averages.

    I understand that the pythag predicts what a teams record would be based on their run differential, but I think it is a very overrated "stat,"
    What's overrated about it?

    and isn't a great predictor of how teams play in close ball games,
    I don't know if we're talking about it being a predictor. I think we're talking about it being "this is what it is."

    do they score runs when it counts, etc.
    That's why you compare it to the actual record.

    I think scoring more runs than the other team is a good thing to sustain.
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

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    Re: Pythagoras smiles

    Quote Originally Posted by Homer Bailey View Post
    You guys like Pythagoras a lot more than I do, but maybe it's because I just don't understand it that well. Does the fact the Reds piled on a bunch of runs last night when they already had the game in hand make them a better team? Does it mean that they will win more games? I just don't see it.

    I understand that the pythag predicts what a teams record would be based on their run differential, but I think it is a very overrated "stat," and isn't a great predictor of how teams play in close ball games, do they score runs when it counts, etc.

    I'm sure many will have differing opinions.
    Does it make them a better team? No. Does it mean they have a better chance at a winning record and the playoffs? The numbers say yes. From 1970-2007 91% of teams with a winning record have a positive run differential. 98% of division winners have had a positive run differential. So while piling on some runs after the win was at hand didn't really make a difference, it increased the Reds odds at doing something good on the season.

  7. #6
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    Re: Pythagoras smiles

    Quote Originally Posted by nate View Post
    I guess I'd answer your question with a question. Is a team more likely to win games when it typically scores more runs than the opposition or is it more likely to win games when it typically scores less runs than the opposition?
    Clearly you know the answer to this question.

    Lopsided wins offset lopsided losses, that's why there are averages.
    What if a team loses 5 games by 10 runs, but plays well in close games by scoring clutch runs, having a setup man and closer, etc. A lot of people attribute luck to winning or losing 1 run games, but I personally don't think there is as much luck involved as some think.

    What's overrated about it?
    How is winning that game last night 13-5 vs. winning it 7-5 any different? If anything I think it "hurts" the Reds over the long term to score 13 runs in a game, because it just means that the likely regression to our averages is going to be much more steep (if that made any sense). It's hard to put what I'm saying into words on a computer.

    I don't know if we're talking about it being a predictor. I think we're talking about it being "this is what it is."
    This goes back to me not really understanding what it is.

    That's why you compare it to the actual record.
    I guess I don't understand the point of the comparison. If we win 13-5 or 7-5, our record is still the same. In hindsight, those 6 runs meant nothing. However, if I understand it correctly, the Pythag does not factor when then runs are scored into its formula. As it turns out, those runs had no effect on our actual record, but it will on our Pythag. That's why it just doesn't make much sense to me.

    I think scoring more runs than the other team is a good thing to sustain.
    Clearly.

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    Re: Pythagoras smiles

    Too many things can happen to influence a 1 run difference for a team to have such games be their bread an butter. The BRM of '75 and '76 did have winning records in 1 run games but even their winning percentage was significantly worse in such games than their overall record. Same thing for the '27 and '28 Yanks etc...

    A lot of people attribute luck to winning or losing 1 run games, but I personally don't think there is as much luck involved as some think.
    What evidence has led you to this conclusion? I'm intrigued.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Re: Pythagoras smiles

    Reds are 4-4 in one-run games this season so far. FTR.

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    Re: Pythagoras smiles

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post



    What evidence has led you to this conclusion? I'm intrigued.
    I don't have any evidence, and never claimed to. I think there are many factors that can lead to success in one run games, most notably a strong bullpen. "Clutch" hitting has been often discussed on here, and some have argued whether or not such a thing exists, but I believe that timely hitting can factor into one run games. I agree that there is a certain level of "luck" or law of averages when it comes to 1 run games, but I think the ability to win those types of games says more about the ability of a team than a blowout win or loss does. And that is just my opinion. I'm sure others feel otherwise.

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    Re: Pythagoras smiles

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    Does it make them a better team? No. Does it mean they have a better chance at a winning record and the playoffs? The numbers say yes. From 1970-2007 91% of teams with a winning record have a positive run differential. 98% of division winners have had a positive run differential. So while piling on some runs after the win was at hand didn't really make a difference, it increased the Reds odds at doing something good on the season.
    Clearly a team that has a large run differential is going to win more games. My "argument" is that I don't see much need to celebrate having a positive run differential because we tacked on a bunch of runs in a blowout game. If we ran off a bunch of 3-4 run wins in a row, and our run differential went up by 12-15 runs, then I could see that being something to be excited about.

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    Re: Pythagoras smiles

    As with any mathematical statistic, nothing is 100% accurate, but when you are dealing with accuracy well over 90% then that is not an "overrated" or "useless" stat. Sometimes it's hard to accept that a simple equation can paint such a clear picture of what is going on, but when you have a season with 162 games, that is more than enough of a sample size to paint a clear picture. Teams generally won't only win games by a few runs and get blown out in every one of their losses or vice versa.
    "I thought I'd get your theories, mock them, then embrace my own. The usual." -- House

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  13. #12
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    Re: Pythagoras smiles

    Quote Originally Posted by Homer Bailey View Post
    Clearly a team that has a large run differential is going to win more games. My "argument" is that I don't see much need to celebrate having a positive run differential because we tacked on a bunch of runs in a blowout game. If we ran off a bunch of 3-4 run wins in a row, and our run differential went up by 12-15 runs, then I could see that being something to be excited about.
    If you look at the chart, that's basically what we've been doing since the 4/28.
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

  14. #13
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    Re: Pythagoras smiles

    I'm not arguing that this is a magic 8-ball. I'm saying the Reds are now, on average, scoring more runs than their opponents. Doing that, as Doug pointed out, leads to a winning record over 90% of the time. I don't treat this as predictive, I treat it as "right now" and "right now" I see a team that's winning by scoring more runs than their opponents rather than lucking their way into a bunch of wins.
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

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    Re: Pythagoras smiles

    Quote Originally Posted by nate View Post
    If you look at the chart, that's basically what we've been doing since the 4/28.
    I realize that, and that is obviously a good thing. We can do this run around all day long. I agree that Pythagoras is very accurate in predicting a team's record, and teams with positive run differentials are generally going to be much more successful. The difference is that I don't celebrate big margins of victory ("Pythag, here we come!") nor do I fret about it if we are gonna be blown out ("Kiss Pythag goodbye"). The quotes in parentheses are things I read on here (not actual quotes, just summarized), and they are things I just don't worry about.

  16. #15
    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Pythagoras smiles

    At what point in the season does this theory become a solid predictor of the rest of the season?


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