Thursday, October 14, 2004

BoSox and Astros in trouble

-Play by play announcers for playoff games always tend to feed you a lot of canned statistics about how that particular game is a must-win. Only X number of teams have won a series after going down x number of games in a series.

The stats that you might have seen last night in the Sox/Yanks game, or tonight in the Atros/Cards game was just a detailed way of saying that winning 4 out of 5 is really unlikely. It's a lot to ask when you're playing a BAD team. You're talking about an .800 winning percentage. The Diamondbacks were the worst team in baseball this season and opponents only managed a .685 winning percentage against them. The standard deviation over the course of 5 games makes it MORE likely than you would expect, it doesn't actually make it LIKELY.

So Boston and Houston are kind of up a creek.

-Houston's out of order rotation bears part of the blame. Their bullpen bears the rest. They've scored runs against a pretty underrated pitching staff in the first couple of games. They just haven't been able to stop the best lineup in baseball. Allowing 8 runs a game isn't going to help you much.

-The Red Sox were been betrayed by their offense last night, and by their best starter's balky ankle on tuesday.

-Am I the only one who loves Emerald Nuts commercials? I loved them during the Olympics, where they were ubiquitous, and I love them in the playoffs.

-Fox coverage is still really annoying, but last year's was much worse. I have yet to see the kind of promo saturation that we have come to expect. They aren't often missing the first pitch of every half inning because of their efforts to squeeze an extra few seconds of promos into every break. They've also cut back on (but not eliminated) the gratuitous animation and announcer plugs. I also don't recall a single instance where the cast of the O.C. had conveniently gotten its hands on some front row seats. In 2002 and 2003, I thought the playoffs were almost unwatchable. This year they've been annoying, but tolerable. I count that as progress.

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