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Some Things Never Change

May 27, 2012

The last time the A’s beat the Yankees in a season series was 2007, I pointed this out last season. But even since then things haven’t exactly gone the A’s way as the A’s have gone just 3 -8 against the Bombers – though remarkably this is better than when I examined them last. Since the start of 2008, they have played the Yankees to the tune of a 7-29 record a .194 winning percentage. For the point of proving just how bad a .194 winning percentage is that would translate to a 32-130 record in a 162 game schedule. Basically the Yankees’ Mystique and Aura, may be a just dancers in a nightclub to Curt Schilling but appear to be much more to the players on the Athletics of Oakland.

Bill James in his infinite wisdom developed a method for looking at how often a team should beat another. Basically we all can accept the Yankees have had a better club than us all this time but in baseball the best teams win games about 60% of the time when the worst win about 40% of the time, so surely one team shouldn’t be beating another over 80% of the time right?

His method, the log5 method. Basically goes like this:

W%(A v. B) = W%(A)*(1 - W%(B))/(W%(A)*(1 - W%(B)) + (1 - W%(A))*W%(B))

Using this and the winning percentages of the A’s and the Yankees since 2008. We arrive that the A’s really ought to have won 14 of the 36 games. Twice what they have won. No one expects the A’s to light the world on fire against New York but still, even as hapless as we’ve been as a team, we have been doubly hapless whenever we play New York.

Is it mystique and aura? Does their high flying offense trump our pitching every time for some other reason? Why is it New York has our number and how do we end this insanity?

Pretty much near exactly the same piece was published today on Athletics Nation as my regular Sunday column. I encourage the few of you that stop by here (it is so strange how May has always been my slowest month for traffic) to go over there and comment with a great group of A’s fans. 

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