Bitching about run differentials and the unfairness of it all

By Jason Wojciechowski on September 23, 2009 at 3:11 AM

A's fans who've actually been paying attention probably know the following facts, but I didn't.

First, the A's run differential is -5. Second, the A's record is 71-79. Third, the Tigers' run differential is -1. Fourth, the Tigers' record is 80-70. Fifth, Seattle's record is 79-72. Sixth, Seattle's run differential is -55.

Not that any of this makes Twins fans feel better, as Minnesota languishes three games back of Detroit despite being 28 runs better in differential. Or Blue Jays fans, for that matter, as they sit with a fourth-place team and a 67-83 record despite a +7 differential.

For the Blue Jays, it gets even worse: their run differential says they're a .500 team, but once you throw in strength of schedule considerations, they should be about 78-72. Now, that's not a playoff team, but it's also not a team 15 games below .500.

As for the Tigers, they've not only outperformed their differential, but they've also allowed 16 fewer runs than you'd expect given how their opponents have hit. When you throw in the strength of schedule, they're a 72-77 team.

All numbers come, of course, from Baseball Prospectus's Adjusted Standings Report. (By the time you click on that, the numbers may have changed, since you'll be taken to the most updated version of the page. I'm looking at the numbers generated on the morning of 9/22/09.)