Dale Sveum, meet Pythagoras

Dale Sveum, meet Pythagoras

Posted by Bruce on Fri, 05/31/2013 - 12:40

I’m not sure how far Cubs manager Dale Sveum got in mathematics with the Pythagorean Theorem. As most of you know, you can calculate a team’s “Pythagorean” or “expected” won-loss record based on its run differential. I’ll spare you the details here.

Despite their actual won-loss record of 22-30, the Cubs go into this afternoon’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks with a run differential of plus-6, having outscored their opponents 214-208. Their Pythagorean, or expected, won-loss record with that run differential should be 27-25.

“We’ve been in pretty much every single game of the year,” Sveum said. “We’ve had a couple of blowouts. It’s a very odd record for the run differential, that’s for sure, because at one point, we were 11 or 12 games under .500, and it was still really, really good. Now, we’re winning four in a row, and it comes back to earth a little bit. It’s a very strange run differential for being under .500.”

We touched on this yesterday, but the Cubs have seen 43 of their 52 games (83 percent) decided by 4 or fewer runs, 38 decided by 3 or fewer runs and 29 decided by 2 or fewer. The Cubs have gone 13-25 in games decided by 3 runs or fewer, and 18 of the Cubs’ 30 losses have been by 2 runs or fewer. The Cubs are 7-12 in 1-run games.

I asked Dale if he paid attention to the “expected” win-loss record.

“I don’t have to look at any of that; I just know by the way we’ve played,” he said. “Early on, we gave so many games away that it was tough to recover from that. The bullpen problems. Obviously, we played some pretty shady defense the first month of the season. That’s gotten better. Obviously, we’ve shored up the bullpen. Guys have been doing a good job in the bullpen. So you start winning more games that way instead of giving them away.”

From the game notes: Cubs pitchers have driven in 19 runs this season, all coming this month. The 19 RBI by a pitching staff in a single month is a National League record and the most in the majors since Detroit’s pitchers drove in 20 in August 1940 … The Cubs’ bullpen has a 1.17 ERA in the team’s last 8 games and has held the opponents to a .165 batting average (13-for-79) in that time. Carlos Marmol has allowed 1 earned run in his last 9.1 innings (0.96 ERA) in his last 9 outings dating to May 5. Kevin Gregg is 6-for-6 in save situations, having turned in 14 scoreless outings over 13.1 innings before allowing a run in Thursday’s ninth inning against the White Sox. James Russell has an 0.92 ERA in 26 appearances. That’s the second-lowest ERA for any NL reliever with at least 25 outings. Colorado’s Rex Brothers has an 0.38 ERA in 26 relief appearances.

I would rather look at WHIP for relief pitchers. Here are the WHIPs for the Cubs’ veteran relievers:

Gregg: 0.98
Russell: 0.89
Marmol: 1.52


The Kane County Cougars had Thursday’s game at Quad Cities canceled because of unplayable field conditions. The game will not be made up.

Class AAA Iowa fell 6-1 at Nashville. Brooks Raley took the loss, working 6 innings and giving up 6 hits and 2 runs while walking two and striking out four. He’s 4-4 with a 4.37 ERA. Brian Bogusevic was 1-for-1 with an RBI. He is second in the Pacific Coast League with a .462 on-base percentage and fourth in batting average (.361). Reliever Marcus Hatley gave up 4 runs in two-thirds of an inning.

Class AA Tennessee beat Birmingham 5-1. It was the Smokies’ fourth win in five games. Alberto Cabrera got the win with 6 innings of 6-hit, 1-run ball. He walked three and struck out seven in running his record to 5-2 with a 3.70 ERA. He leads the team with 66 strikeouts in 65.2 innings. Anthony Giansanti (.343) has a four-game hitting streak after he went 2-for-4, with both hits being doubles. Ty Wright was 2-for-4, as was Matt Szczur, who tripled and walked. Catcher Chad Noble had his second 2-hit game in three days.

Daytona (A) picked up only 3 hits in a 5-4 loss to Tampa. Ben Wells took the loss as he pitched 6 innings, giving up 4 hits and 3 runs while walking two and striking out five. Wells is 3-4 with a 3.97 ERA. Javier Baez hit his eighth homer. He has 2 homers in his last three games. Ben Carhart hit his second homer.

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