Saturday, October 22, 2011

Brewers Good and Perhaps Lucky in 2011

Yesterday, I examined run differential versus wins for American League teams.  Today, I'll take a look at the National League.  While the Brewers won 96 games in route to the National League Central Division title in 2011, they were not a dominant team in terms of run production and prevention.

The table below shows that the Brewers scored 721 runs and allowed 638, for a run differential of 83.  This would typically translate into 89 wins or seven fewer than their actual win total.  The table below shows that the Brewers outperformed their predicted wins by more than any team in the league. 

Table 1: Wins Versus Expected Wins for National League Teams, 2011


TEAM
RS
RA
RS-RA
W
EW
W-EW
MIL
721
638
83
96
89
7
ARI
731
662
69
94
88
6
SFG
570
578
-8
86
80
6
ATL
641
605
36
89
85
4
PHI
713
529
184
102
99
3
STL
762
692
70
90
88
2
PIT
610
712
-102
72
71
1
WSN
624
643
-19
80
79
1
CHC
654
756
-102
71
71
0
FLA
625
702
-77
72
73
-1
LAD
644
612
32
82
84
-2
NYM
718
742
-24
77
79
-2
CIN
735
720
15
79
83
-4
COL
735
774
-39
73
77
-4
HOU
615
796
-181
56
63
-7
SDP
593
611
-18
71
79
-8


The main reason for the discrepancy in Milwaukee's wins and expected wins was their outstanding 30-18 record in one-run games.  Part of that was likely due to a strong bullpen headed by closer John Axford.  However, it is difficult for any team to sustain such a good record in close games for a full year.  So, there may also have been some good fortune involved.  In order to win the same number of games next year, they'll probably need to either score more runs or give up fewer.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Padres had a run differential of -18 (593 runs scores and 611 runs allowed) which was better than seven other NL teams.  However, they finished with the second worst record in the league.  Their 71 wins was eight games below their 79 expected wins which was the biggest negative differential in the league. 

The reason for the gap between the Padres wins and expected wins was a 20-31 record in one-run games coupled with a 10-4 record in games decided by seven runs or more. That seems fluky to me and suggests they were probably a little better than their final record suggests. 

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