As I am always anxious to challenge the status quo and the Talking Heads, I love to play around with basic numbers (nothing complicated, mind-you wouldn't want me to hurt myself) to satisfy my curiosity about some of the things the Heads love to say.
One of those things is the notion that Boston and Cleveland are the best teams is baseball, largely due to the fact that the two teams won the most games this season. That they did win more games than anyone else is a basic fact, laid out in the Win/Loss column. More telling, I think, is who all those wins came against. So I decided to look into that.
Here's what I found. (And BTW, I'm not dogging anybody here. Just trying to look at really basic numbers. And for those of you really love stats, even to the point of sabermetrics; I don't have that kind of mathematical mind-it takes me a week just to balance my dang checkbook!)
The Red Sox played 78 of their 162 regular season games against teams that finished the season below .500, going 52-26 against those teams. Which is what good teams are supposed to do, right? They played a total of 84 games against teams teams on the plus side, going 46-38, amounting to a winning PCT of .548. Respectable, but well below the .593 they finished the season at.
The Indians played 102 of the 162 regular season games against teams that finished the season below .500, going 67-35 against those teams. Again, that's what good teams do. However, that left them with only 60 games against teams on the plus side, going 29-31, for a winning PCT of .483. Out of the playoffs. (And no, Tribe fans, it's not their fault that they play in a lame division.)
The Rockies played 61 of their 163 regular season games against teams that finished the season below .500, going 34-27 against those teams. (And trust me, I really thought the Rox were going to be on the negative side of that one.) Hardly world-beaters, but 7 games to the good beats the other way around. So the Rox played 102 games against teams on the plus side, going 56-46 for a PCT of .549. A hair higher than the Sox, with 17 more games played in this category.
So the Rox played 18 more games against teams over .500 than did the Sox, and a whopping 62 more games than did the Tribe.
So what's the point, you ask? While it remains true that the Sox and Indians did win more games than anyone else in baseball, the Rockies have considerably more experience playing against winning teams. That strikes me as a considerable advantage when the going gets tough. The fact that we'll be the only team going to the Series with a winning PCT of 1.000 in the playoffs speaks for itself.