Orsillo’s rhetorical gem and why the Red Sox win the A.L. East

bosoxIf you managed to grind your way through the Red Sox 15-inning marathon win over Seattle Wednesday night that spilled into Thursday morning, and you were paying attention to NESN announcers RemDog and Don Orsillo, you may have heard Orsillo offer a description of an extra-inning game that borders on baseball poetry worthy of Earnest L. Thayers’ immortal Casey at the Bat.

Somewhere in the 14th inning of this July 31st game that lasted 5 hours and three minutes, with the affair still tied at 4-4, the NESN game cameras panned the Fenway scoreboard time clock just as it registered midnight on the dot. At that precise moment, Orsillo offered this line worthy of Vin Scully at his finest moment.

“Welcome to Thursday. This game began in July, and will end in August,” opined Orsillo.

Beautiful, jaw dropping description of the events unfolding before a tired Red Sox viewing nation. And just moments later, faith would be rewarded when Stephen Drew laced a single down the right field line to chase home the winning run in a 5-4 win that pushed the Red Sox back into first place in the American League East, half-a-game ahead of rival Tampa, who, in my estimation, will provide Boston with its stiffest challenge for the division title and playoff positioning.

With two months left in regular season play, it certainly is “Game ON” in the A.L. East.

Struck with insomnia from the lengthy contest, I decided to take a look at some factors that play into a team’s success during the course of a 162-game season, and have developed a mathematical formula that permits me to comfortably predict the Red Sox will win the A.L. East with Tampa finishing second and the Baltimore Orioles finishing a distant third and probably not even in the chase for the Extra Wild Card play in game.

Now, I claim to be no mathematical rocket scientist, and even admit to having to go to summer school while in high school not once, but twice to pass algebra. But this is a whole math approach where we don’t screw up formulas of numbers by mixing in letters: you know like 3x-4b=y. (Y, Why indeed. Why the hell did I have to suffer through algebra in high school, have never used it a day in my life!).

I call this formula my Total Power Points on Expanded Standings. And it takes these elements into account in no particular order, but is based on a team’s numerical superiority or inferiority in the following categories:
Overall won/loss record Home record Road record Versus Division record Versus Central record Versus West record Advantage in day games Advantage in night games On Grass On turf One run games Extra inning games.

Explaining how this works is easy, and it’s easy for you to calibrate where your team may stand against its divisional rivals with no more than a legal pad, good number two pencil and no need for a calculator or slide rule if you can reasonably handle addition and subtraction.

Case in point: Let’s say your team is currently 65-44 in its overall won/loss record. Subtract the losses (44) from the wins (65) and you get a positive or plus 21. If you log on to CBSsports.com, click on MLB, go to standings, then extended standings, the numerical results for each team in each of the categories listed above is there for your quick review and plotting.

With that in mind, the Red Sox formula yields a total of 134 positive power points to 120 positive power points for Tampa Bay and just 52 overall positive power points for the Orioles. What this formula does not factor in, however, is head-to-head competition with a particular division rival. So let’s add one more variable which leads me to remain steadfast in my prediction that when the dust settles and the smoke clears on the final day of regular season play, Boston will be sitting atop the A.L. East looking down at Tampa, Baltimore and division also rans New York and Toronto.

Subtracting Tampa Bay’s 120 positive power points from Boston’s 134 positive power points gives the Red Sox a 14 point advantage. Let’s factor in head to head competition between the two. Boston currently holds a 10 games to 6 games advantage in games already played between the two teams, which gives Boston another four positive power points, extending their 14 point advantage to 18 points.

The Rays and Red Sox face each other just three more times in regular season play, with that series scheduled for August 10-11-12. Hypothetically speaking, even if you give the Rays a sweep in the final series of the season, worth three positive power points, the Red Sox still grade out at 15 positive power points ahead of Tampa Bay for the entire season.

On the surface, this may seem simplistic. But what the various categories of statistical superiority or inferiority tend to tell us is this: The Red Sox have a numerical positive power point advantage in every single category of the extended standings formula, which means in essence they win at home, on the road, against division rivals, against other divisions, the National League in Inter-League play, day, night, lefty, righty, turf, grass, extra innings, etc, etc, etc.

Alaskabeast will revisit this formula and compare it to final regular season standings on the last day of the season, September 29. Then we will calculate the Total Power Points on Expanded Standings formula for each playoff team and see how accurately we can predict a World Series winner.

Try this formula with your team and see what you come up with. And go ahead and kick off your shoes and use your toes to count if necessary, but no calculators or slide rulers allowed.

And by the way Red Sox fans, if you were chewing your finger nails down to nubs watching another Red Sox runner thrown out in the plate in last Wednesday night’s marathon against Seattle, remember this quote by former red Sox player Earl Wilson: “A baseball game is simply a nervous breakdown divided into nine innings.”


Categories: A-AMERICAN LEAGUE, American League Happenings

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