Purgatory Online

Friday, September 24, 2004

Despite playing like a nine from the St. Anselmus' Home for the Retarded against Seattle, the Angels actually picked up a game against the A's, who were swept in Texas. Of course, this also puts the Rangers right back in the race, and more power to them, since they seem to be the only team left that actually appears to want to win the division. Thus, on the brink of what everyone assumed would be the first of two "showdown series" to decide the race, Anaheim is still two games back, just as they've been nearly every day this month.

Richard notes that the pitching matchups this weekend are fairly favorable towards the Angels. True enough, but only as far as it goes - which is back to last weekend, when the Angels dropped games that featured Escobar-Benoit and Washburn-Young matchups.

Still, I guess someone's gotta win these games. And I take some grim satisfaction in the fact that I was right at the beginning of the month when I predicted a drop-off in the Oakland offense. Let's revisit for a moment: on September 1, I looked at the impressive numbers the A's had put up - numbers well above their career norms in nearly every case - and concluded that
It's certainly possible that Oakland's offensive surge will continue unabated through September. Stranger things have happened. But you know, I think I remember reading something about teams like this tending to regre...regriss...ah, yes - regress to the mean.
Here are the numbers as they were at the end of August, and the numbers for September, of the A's players with at least 42 AB's this month:

career - .284/.341/.422
through August 2004 - .305/.361/.448
September 2004 - .348/.402/.528

career - .267/.304/.389
through August 2004 - .281/.305/.399
September 2004 - .190/.209/.310

career - .277/.353/.508
through August 2004 - .282/.402/.551
September 2004 - .218/.365/.308

career - .272/.362/.418
through August 2004 - .307/.390/.458
September 2004 - .241/.323/.349

career - .284/.385/.501
through August 2004 - .325/.392/.543
September 2004 - .290/.410/.406

career - .273/.335/.468
through August 2004 - .289/.347/.486
September 2004 - .269/.367/.397

career - .266/.333/.424
through August 2004 - .287/.352/.434
September 2004 - .200/.274/.255

So Kotsay has continued to outperform his career numbers, and everyone else has regressed towards the mean. In their 21 games in September, the A's have averaged 4.38 runs, compared to the 5.11 runs/game average they had posted through August.

Not that the Angels have performed much better, of course. They've scored a five more runs than the A's - five, coincidentally, being the very number of RBI by Adam Kennedy in the month of September - but the individual performances have been equally cringeworthy. I don't have the heart to go through it in detail, but let's just say that David Eckstein's .602 OPS for the month isn't even the worst in the starting nine. By more than a hundred points.

It should also be noted that the Angels have the toughest schedule ahead of them - six with Oakland, four with Texas (although didn't I just finish talking about how lame the A's are right now?). And, after this weekend, the final seven are on the road. Texas should theoretically be the best situated, with six against the Mariners and four against the Angels, and seven out of ten at home. All things considered, it probably wouldn't kill me to see the Rangers make it in on a strong finish, rather than the A's or Angels heading into the playoffs like a wall-eyed steer stumbling onto the killing floor.