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What would the standings look like if the only wins that counted were the ones in one-run games?

On Monday, reader "Kreylix" left this comment:

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The hit-and-run is much maligned as a small-ball tactic, but it's a surprisingly successful strategy.

In this game you never know enough.”—Dale Mitchell

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When offense is difficult to come by, the Giants stand tall, but how do they stack up against history?

When the Giants lost to Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw, 1-0 last Wednesday, it was an unusual occurrence for the defending champs. No, not getting blanked by Kershaw; he is a great pitcher, and that will happen. It’s unusual that the Giants lost a one-run game. Even after falling to Kershaw, they are 27-13 in such contests this year (all statistics are through games of July 24), which helps explain why the team is doing so well (59-43 vs. 53-49 Pythagorean record) despite a pedestrian run differential. Their record in one-run games is tops in the big leagues, besting Philadelphia's 17-9.

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Jay names the Yankees No. 1 on this week's Hit List, and it shakes out just as well for fans of the Tigers, Snakes, and Dodgers.

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January 31, 2006 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: Windy City Precedent

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Jim Baker

Jim takes a look at the precedent for the White Sox to do as well in 2006, based on the history of teams with similar run differentials.

Of course, I would like to point out that it's much more fun to surprise people than it is to be expected to win. Expecting to win every year makes one jaded. When you go to the store, you expect to find bread there and when you find it in the bread aisle, what joy is there in that? That's what life is like for a Yankee fan: they expect to find their bread awaiting them every time out. Now, if you go the store hoping to find a Faberge Egg tucked away in the hardware aisle and you actually do, well, isn't that much more gratifying?

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November 18, 2005 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: Welcome, Interstate Managers

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Jim Baker

An assortment of information about changings of the guard.

With these new folks coming online, I thought it would be informative to look at the results of the men who have been in this same position over the last decade. In that time, 54 men have assumed managerial positions between seasons. This list does not include managers like Dave Miley and his replacement in Cincinnati, Jerry Narron. Both of them took over in the middle of the previous season. For our purposes, we're looking only at those managers who got a fresh start at the dawning of a new season.

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June 2, 2005 12:00 am

Crooked Numbers: Eight Is Enough

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James Click

Is the common National League strategy of pitching around the eighth-place hitter the right move? James breaks down the numbers.

Any Dean Chance fan will tell you: Pitchers stink at the plate. Perhaps it's a mental thing: they spend so much time trying to prevent that crack of the bat that they just can't make it themselves or they'll break out in hives. Regardless, in 2004, NL pitchers notched a line more reminiscent of my Little League career than of major-league players: .146/.179/.187. That's an MLVr of -0.653; pitchers cost their team well over half a run over the course of a full game of plate appearances. That they rarely see more than two or three PAs in a game means they're probably only costing the team 0.3 to 0.4 runs. This estimate is borne out by the league run scoring averages: the NL averaged 9.26 R/G in 2004 while the AL managed 10.04, so the two pitchers managed to sap 0.78 R/G compared to their DH counterparts last year.

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December 3, 2003 12:00 am

Can Of Corn: Farm Scores

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Dayn Perry

Last time, we looked at cumulative run differentials as a way of evaluating an organization's farm system. We're going to revisit that idea, but this time we'll attempt to adjust for age. Organizations, natch, have different drafting strategies and promotion philosophies, which leads to some age variance from level to level. Age relative to peer group is a vital analytical component when scrutinizing individual prospects, and it should also be a factor on the systemic level. And so it shall be. Another change this time around is that I've narrowed the focus to each organization's full-season affiliates (Triple-A, Double-A, High-A and Low-A). I made this decision because you see quite a bit of variation in how teams flesh out the lower rungs of their systems. For instance, in 2003 nine teams opted to field multiple rookie-level teams and no short-season affiliate at all. This makes system-wide comparisons at the lower levels a bit nettlesome and misleading. I'd also suggest that it's appropriate to place the emphasis on those levels closest to the major leagues.

Another change this time around is that I've narrowed the focus to each organization's full-season affiliates (Triple-A, Double-A, High-A and Low-A). I made this decision because you see quite a bit of variation in how teams flesh out the lower rungs of their systems. For instance, in 2003 nine teams opted to field multiple rookie-level teams and no short-season affiliate at all. This makes system-wide comparisons at the lower levels a bit nettlesome and misleading. I'd also suggest that it's appropriate to place the emphasis on those levels closest to the major leagues.

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November 12, 2003 12:00 am

Can Of Corn: Judging Farm Systems by Run Differential

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Dayn Perry

Which organization has the best farm system in baseball? This is a fairly pedestrian question that's normally answered with an amalgam of various and sundry top 10 lists in tandem with thumbnail estimations of depth and projectability. Depending on which tools you're wielding, evaluations of this nature can be all shades and hues of accurate. Another common approach to this question is to look at the cumulative records of each system's affiliates. If nothing else, it's objective, and it's this tack that informs my attempt at ranking the farm systems. But my angle is not without modifications. Baseball is reducible to components beyond the run, but it's the run--both scored and prevented--that is the fundament of the game. It's also the run that forms the basis of many of the more useful metrics you'll find at Baseball Prospectus. A team's run differential plays a vital role in determining its record and is even more instructive, when plugged into the various flavors of the Pythagorean run formula, in predicting a team's performance in forthcoming seasons. However, this method is most often confined to the major league level. So why not use run differential to evaluate an organization's minor league system? (Rhetorical; don't answer.) This may not resolve abstract notions of "best" and "worst," but it will bring us reasonably close to knowing, and it'll do so by dint of objectivity.

Another common approach to this question is to look at the cumulative records of each system's affiliates. If nothing else, it's objective, and it's this tack that informs my attempt at ranking the farm systems. But my angle is not without modifications.

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