Why do we bother tracking one-run games?

by Bill Chuck on February 18, 2016

One is the lonliest
Even though I’m not a mathematician, I spend a lot of time looking at baseball numbers.

Even though I’m not a sabermatician, I spend a lot of time looking at advanced stats.

Even though I track a lot of numbers, I simply don’t understand the rationale in tracking one-run games.

Even the people who are waaaaay smarter than me on baseball numbers (of which there are sooooo many) admit that most of the time good teams will usually win a good percentage of one-run games, but then again, good teams will win a greater percentage of all games.

The more that I have read about one-run games the more I conclude that when it comes to one-run games the biggest factor is the four-letter word that statisticians seem to hate the most: L-U-C-K.

Take a look at the teams with a .500+ winning percentage in one-run games from 2011-15

Rk Tm G W L W-L%
1 CLE 218 124 94 .569
2 ATL 239 134 105 .561
3 PIT 265 145 120 .547
4 STL 242 131 111 .541
5 BAL 239 128 111 .536
6 LAA 247 131 116 .530
7 WSN 246 130 116 .528
8 TEX 232 122 110 .526
9 NYY 237 124 113 .523
10 SDP 247 129 118 .522
11 LAD 240 125 115 .521
12 SFG 248 128 120 .516
13 DET 231 119 112 .515
14 TBR 243 124 119 .510
15 KCR 253 128 125 .506
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/18/2016.

How many of those top teams reached the World Series?

World Series 2011-15

  • 2015 World Series – The Kansas City Royals Defeated the New York Mets 4–1
  • 2014 World Series – The San Francisco Giants Defeated the Kansas City Royals 4–3
  • 2013 World Series – The Boston Red Sox Defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 4–2
  • 2012 World Series – The San Francisco Giants Defeated the Detroit Tigers 4–0
  • 2011 World Series – The St. Louis Cardinals Defeated the Texas Rangers 4–3

Winning pct. in one run games for the Series participants:

  • 2015 Royals – .575
  • 2015 Mets – .510
  • 2014 Giants – .450
  • 2014 Royals – .468
  • 2013 Red Sox – .500
  • 2013 Cardinals – .556
  • 2012 Giants – .600
  • 2012 Tigers – .438
  • 2011 Cardinals – .531
  • 2011 Rangers – .442

Random one-run games stats

Hopefully by this time in this column you are seeing the minimal value of one-run games and while I could go on ad nauseum, let’s limit it six more stats.

  • Last season, the Phillies had the worst record in baseball with a winning pct. of .389; in one-run games they had a .372 winning pct. However, the AL East champion Blue Jays had a winning pct. of .574 but had an MLB-worst .349 pct. in one-run games.
  • In 2014, the Padres went 77-85 (.475) which included a one-run game record of 33-21 (.611) the best in baseball.
  • In 2013, the Phillies and the Giants were each .500 in one-run games but the Phils were .451 and the Giants were .469 overall. In that season, the Red Sox  and Cardinals each had a .599 overall and in one-runners the Cards were .556 and the Sox were .500 like the Phils and Giants.
  • In 2012, the Orioles went an amazing 29-9 in one-run games, which means outside of those games they went 64-60.
  • In 2008, the Angels had the best record in baseball (100-62, .617), their one-run record was 31-21 .596. The Giants that season tied for the 24th best record in baseball (72-90, .444), their one-run record was 31-21 .596 same as the Angels. The Giants overall record was the same as the Braves who in one-run games had a record of 11-3 .268, the worst in baseball.
  • Finally, in 2003 the Tigers were one of the worst teams in baseball history with a record of 43-119 .265. Their record in one-run games was 19-18 .514.

 

 

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