The Mariners, Run Differential, And Lookout Landing

by A.J. Coltrane

I’ve been going to Lookout Landing for the majority of my Mariners news. Today I was rewarded with this Jeff Sullivan post:  Mariner’s Rub Shoulders With League’s Elite In Land Of Positive Run Differential

The Seattle Mariners had been looking in through the window since June 5. On June 5, the Mariners lost in Anaheim by five runs, and they were escorted by security out of the ballroom, through the front door, and into the yard. They were escorted no further, but they heard the door lock behind them, just as they heard the clinking of glasses and the din of laughter from within. The Mariners had mingled with the best of the best, but suddenly they were no longer welcome. They could only stare longingly at all of the fun teams having fun, having fun without them, having fun without missing them.

In time the Mariners stopped feeling sorry for themselves and set about earning re-entry. They didn’t know if re-entry was possible, or if it was even allowed, but there was only one way to find out, and they eventually found out. On the night of July 31, the Mariners heard the door unlock. The door swung open, and there was security, ushering the Mariners in. As they looked at each other and approached, they were handed silver necklaces bearing “+1” medallions. The Mariners put them on, and proceeded cautiously and then confidently back into the ballroom.

There, in a corner, pouring punch, were the Cardinals. +99. On the dance floor were the +74 Nationals and the +37 Red Sox. The +77 Yankees hung back, nodding their heads to the music. The +7 Tigers and +6 Giants stood meekly against the wall. The +40 Diamondbacks approached and welcomed the Mariners to the party, unaware that they had been in before. “We’re all the same in here,” they said. “We’re all haves. There are haves, and there are have-nots.” They gestured to a distant window. A group of necklace-less Cubs outside scattered and hid in the bushes.

The Mariners lit up. “Really, the same? We’re all just peers, one no better or worse than the next?”

The Diamondbacks eyed the Mariners’ necklaces and laughed. “No, of course not, we were pulling your leg, haha.” They didn’t stop laughing for several minutes. “Haha, haha.” At last, they composed themselves. “We shouldn’t even be talking to you, honestly. But you’re in the way of the drinks.”

The Mariners stepped aside to give the Diamondbacks room. “But, hey, you know, +1? That’s not bad. That’s not bad. Congrats on not being super shitty.” With that the Diamondbacks advanced to the open bar, and the Mariners tried to catch the Giants’ eyes, while the Giants tried not to let them.

The point is that the M’s haven’t totally sucked this year. (There’s a strong correlation between a teams run scored/runs allowed ratio and their winning percentage. Or to put it another way, if a team scores as many runs as they allow it follows that they don’t *suck*.) Sullivan says it in what I think is a really entertaining fashion. The blog also features excellent graphics and game wrapups. Click on the Blogroll at the right for more good stuff from Lookout Landing.

3 thoughts on “The Mariners, Run Differential, And Lookout Landing

  1. The thing I don’t like about run differential is that it is slightly skewed when you are close to even when you have a large victory or defeat – the case in point with the Mariners. They had 1 game against the Rangers where they won by 13 runs because the Rangers pitchers managed to fail to keep the Mariners from scoring. There is also the last few weeks to consider

    The M’s have been involved in a large number of blowout games (win or lose by 5 or more runs), they are 12-11 in those games but have outscored their opponents by 19 runs. To me, that suggests that the team’s true potential is closer to their actual in percentage rather than their projected win percentage.

    The numbers have also certainly been helped by beating up on KC and Toronto over the last month, probably the 2 worst pitching staffs in the AL. They are 10-1 with a +32 differential against the Royals and Jays and 3-3 with a -3 differential against the Rays and Yankees since the break. What that tells me is the Mariners are still probably in the bottom 3rd in the league despite the run they have had since the break.


  2. Coolstandings currently has the M’s season-ending W/L as 77/84.

    I’d say 77 wins is above the level of “suck”.

    Where would you think “suck” starts? I’d go with 65-97 or worse.


  3. I would say 73-89 is the start of suck. That is probably the bottom 25% of teams in the league, which is winning about 45% of your games. That may be generous considering how hard it is to actually lose 90 games in a season.


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