Sunday, August 07, 2005

Don't Panik!

So the Angels aren't alone in first place anymore. Big deal. Happened before. They even were in second place one day. Want to see what happened afterwards? (Graphic from The Hardball Times)

The Rangers went from beeing in first place to hoovering around .500, 7.5 games out of the wild card race. Of course, one can not expect the A's to do the same, but are they really going to keep up playing like they right now?
Since June, the A's as a team hit .276, .350, .458 after hitting just .177, .320, .345 in April and May (I think it's remarkable that they kept their plate discipline even when they were struggling. .143 isolated discipline as a team over two months, wow! Pujols had 0.84 in 2004). However, the A's are currently putting up team numbers like offensive power-houses like Boston, New York or Baltimore put up over the year and the A's clearly don't belong in this category. But the A's success had always depened on pitching over the last years and this year is no difference. In April and May, their starters had an ERA of 4.58, while since June, it's 3.19. While the A's starters certainly are good, they are not that good. The pitchers benefited from a very strong defense behind them. Nearly every A's pitcher has an ERA that's significantly better than his FIP (e.g. ERA with an average defense behind him) or at least close to it. Even then they've been lucky, because their xFIP (that expected fielding independent pitching) is usually higher than their FIP/ERA, which means that the pitchers are likely to be worse or at least less good than they are doing right now.
Overall, the A's will most likely cool off any time soon. Which is totally what we would have expected anyway, right? Even if they do not, there's no reason to worry. The Angels have a comfortable 4 games lead in the wild card and won't meet the A's before the ALCS and we all know they never get there. So the Angels have to righten their ship, play solid baseball as they did before July and TRADE FOR A BAT!!! Or maybe not. Maybe we let Vlad hit leadoff, so that he takes more pitches, hit Erstad 3rd, so that he hits for more power and let Finley ...
but what do I know.


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