Baseball July 24th, 2009
I am going to attempt to be smart. Bear with me, unless you're attractive then bare with me.
The Brewers currently have a run differential of 442 scored to 448 given up. Their record is 48-47 while their pythagorean record is 47-48. Their second and third order records (go to the link for explanation) have them being even worse at 45-50 and 44-51. With the Brewers being 4th in the National League in runs scored it's not hard to tell that this is completely the fault of the pitching which is also 4th in the National League, 4th to last. Their current average score of a game is 4.7 to 4.7. Even if the Brewers can maintain their offense and drop the pitching down to 4.1 per game (which is what the division leading Cardinals are currently doing) they would still finish around 83 wins. Things do not look good for the Brewers and a .500 record could very likely be a reality. Here is a graph.
Games remaining 67
Scored Allowed Current Runs 442 448 Projected Runs 314.9 274.7 Projected total 756.9 722.7 Projected win percentage 0.511 Projected Record 82.87 79.13
Now, that does not look good. However, this team won't look the same through the last 67 games as it did through the first 95. There will be changes. Already Felipe Lopez has stepped into the leadoff spot and he should be able to add a few runs to the team. If Bush comes back and rounds into form and Parra continues to be good Manny or if the team trades for a starter, they won't give up 4.7 runs the rest of the way. Ideally the rest of the way the team will average 5 runs per game and give up something like 3.5. Here's what that team would look like.
Games remaining 67 Scored Allowed Current Runs 442 448 Projected Runs 335 234.5 Projected total 777 682.5 Projected win percentage 0.532 Projected Record 86.24 75.76
86 wins.Will that be enough? It could be. The NL Central isn't that strong (using this same formula the Cardinals finish 83.79-78-21) and at the very least that would put the Brewers in the discussion for the Wild Card. Add in some luck and who knows? The Brewers sure haven't had any this year.
I know the idea of scoring more and giving up over a full run less over the rest of the season can be a tough pill to swallow, but the past is the past. It doesn't matter how they got here, it matters what they do from this day forward. ZiPs Rest of the season projections are favorable for Parra, Bush, Villanueva and whoever isn't Mike Burns on the pitching side and JJ Hardy, Corey Hart, Jason Kendall and even Ryan Braun on the hitting side. Say what you want about the Brewers this season, but as a whole they have underachieved a bit and should expect to be better from here on out. How much better? That is the question.
(All graphs use this pythagorean record formula.)