At the end of the day, sports are simple. To win you just have to score more runs than your opponent. Wether you win 100-1, 1-0, or 10-5 a win is a win. Winning by fifty counts as the same amount of wins as winning by one. When you look at the standings, it doesn’t say, On May 10th this team won by 2 runs but walked 10 batters and had fewer hits than their opponent. All it says is that this team has won so many games and lost so many.
Sports may be simple, but winning isn’t. So far this year, the Cincinnati Reds have scored the third most runs per game (4.82) and the most in the National League. Yet, the Reds are just two games above .500, are third in the N.L. Central and have the 13th best record in baseball. The reason for this is that the Reds have a team ERA of 4.13, the fourth worst in the N.L. and the twenty second worst in baseball.
As for their ideal team percentage (ITP, Where a team ranks among MLB team in runs scored per game and ERA) the Reds are a 42%, (3+22)/60=42%. Keep in mind that the lowest, what a team wants to be, a team can be is 3.33% and the highest is 100%. And yes, I made that stat up.
But lets look at a team that is .500, like the Pittsburgh Pirates. For starters, what Clint Hurdle has done is amazing and very noteworthy, but that is a different story. The Pirates (35-35), currently rank 25th in MLB in runs scored per game (3.71) and are 8th in ERA (3.52). (25+8)/60=55%.
One of the more interesting teams this year, are the San Francisco Giants. The Giants have been having to deal with injuries all year long, including the loss of 2010 N.L. Rookie of the Year, Buster Posey. The Giants who are currently leading the N.L. West by just half a game are scoring just 3.48 runs per game, the second worst behind San Diego in MLB. Yet, they have the fourth lowest ERA (3.28) in MLB. All this means that the Giants have an ITP of 55%. So even though the Giants have four more wins than the Pirates, they have the same ITP.
But, we wouldn’t be done if we didn’t mention the Red Sox. Boston is first in the majors in runs scored per game (5.27), but Boston’s team ERA is 3.97, or 19th in MLB. This is largely due to inconsistent pitching by John Lackey, Bobby Jenks, and lets not forget Dennys Reyes’ three earned runs, two hit batters, and two walks in just 1.2 innings pitching. This all before being designated for assignment on April 8th. Boston has an ITP of 33%.
For more information on ITP look at the following screenshots from Microsoft Excell.