Graph of the Intermittent Time Period

I look forward to Mondays, when ESPN updates their power rankings. I and other members of Rob Neyer’s Sweetspot blog network submit a blurb about our teams, which then get posted on the power rankings page. It’s a project I think has worked out very well. Speaking of working out very well — Tom McCarthy transition! — the Phillies are back in first place in the power rankings for the first time since the second week of the season, when they started off 5-1 against the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros (they wound up going to 7-1 before losing again).

Looking at the week-to-week progress (or sometimes lack thereof) of the Phillies throughout the season is pretty mind-boggling. I made a line graph for both the Phillies and the New York Yankees, showing each team’s ranking on a week-by-week basis.

Obviously, as the line goes towards the top of the graph, the worse the team is ranked. Week 10 to about Week 22 were trying. Although the power rankings don’t show it until week 26, the Yankees have had a tough time in September, winning only 11 of 24 games (.458), including only 7 of 20 (.350) since September 5.

Would the Phillies be considered favorites in a World Series rematch with the Yankees?

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  1. Danny

    September 27, 2010 03:49 PM

    Your question is interesting since it can be answered two ways.

    Would the Phillies be considered the favorite?

    The answer is an emphatic no, from Vegas’s point of view. The Yankees are the most public of all the baseball teams, meaning simply that more people bet on the Yankees than any other team because they are the Yankees. Amateur bettors often bet on their favorite teams for an added incentive (it’s actually a huge mistake because nobody can look at his/her favorite team with complete objectivity), and the Yankees probably have the most fans worldwide.

    So, right now, the Yankees are 2/1 favorite to win the World Series, while the Phillies are a close second at 3/1. There is no chance that Vegas gives all the Yankee bettors better odds than they currently have.

    Now, onto the other way of answering it.

    Yes, I think the Phillies are the clear World Series favorite heading into the playoffs. The pitching matchups would presumably be Halladay/Sabathia, Hamels/Pettitte, Oswalt/Burnett, Blanton/Sabathia, Halladay/Pettitte, Hamels/Burnett, Oswalt/Sabathia. I think the offenses, when accounting for both teams’ injuries, is a wash, and the Yankees have the edge in the bullpen because of the ageless wonder Mariano Rivera.

    That being said, the starting pitching is a clear advantage for the Phillies, enough so in my mind to make up any deficiencies. I think Philadelphia would be a slight favorite in my eyes, although like I said before, my opinion is probably biased.

  2. Phillies Red

    September 27, 2010 03:54 PM

    Right, I think the Phils would be favorites now because of these power rankings.

    All joking aside, you’ve got to at least like their chances more this year with three pitchers capable of shutting down any offense and a bullpen that has been much better (btw, did you see the shutdown/meltdown article at fangraphs today? Phils had a top 5 ratio).

    Finally, I had to laugh yesterday when Madson gave up that HR while trying to keep the game close. Manuel does the right thing in using him, the exact thing you had been exhorting him to do, and the guys gives up a two run shot. I guess you can’t win ’em all.

  3. micah

    September 27, 2010 06:22 PM

    The phillies, twins, and probably the rays should all have been ranked ahead of the yankees for at least the last 2 weeks. last week espn more or less admitted that they gave the yanks an undeserved #1 ranking so that they could set a record for most weeks at #1.

    ESPN’s power rankings are a joke.

  4. John

    September 27, 2010 09:32 PM

    Love the Tom McCarthy transition – you used it perfectly. Man is that annoying. Does he have to do it with everything? I’m wondering if you could do some kind of statistic to analyse the number of weird transitions he does.

  5. Scott G

    September 27, 2010 09:51 PM

    Just thought some of you who listen closely to critique Chris Wheeler might like to know this.

    Tonight he said the Nationals have had a knack for making late inning comebacks against the Phillies over the last few years.

    Since 2008, the Phillies have lost 14 games (of 51 games) to the Nationals. 4 of those games included the Nationals making comeback wins (4/15/2010, 7/31/2010, 3/31/2008, and 8/21/2008).

    Apparently ~28% is having a knack. Chase Utley has a knack for getting hits this season.

    Or 4/51 (7.8%) of the games vs the Nationals did they make late inning comebacks. Roy Halladay has approximately double a knack for getting hits this season.

  6. micah

    September 27, 2010 10:33 PM

    scott what percentage of games that the phillies have lost overall in the last 3 years were games in which the phillies blew a lead?

  7. Scott G

    September 27, 2010 10:39 PM

    That would require more than 10 minutes worth of work.

    I understand why you ask. I may or may not look into it later. The only way I knew how to do this was to look up every game between the two teams over the last three years. If anyone else can think of an easier way I might be interested in figuring that out.

  8. micah

    September 27, 2010 10:49 PM

    Meh honestly, don’t complain about chris wheeler. I know it might be sacrilege, but the last couple years hk was unlistenable.

  9. kmart

    September 27, 2010 11:37 PM

    I think the Phillies would stand a much better chance vs. the Yankees this year than they did last year. Instead of having one shutdown starter like we did last year, we have three. Lidge is also pitching better this year, and having Polanco instead of Feliz is making a huge difference in the quality of our lineup.

  10. Scott G

    September 28, 2010 05:58 AM

    HK was senile. 2-3 years of senile HK doesn’t compare to what Wheeler has been forever. It’s much different than a little dweeb who says stuff like that ball “was headed right for his seed (head)”, “they’re in a no doubles defense (any late inning defensive alignment)”, “crooked number” (any number other than 0 or 1), “goofy”, and who talks about how fast certain home run balls leave the yard (as if particular home runs just sort of inch their way out of the ball park.

    See for more Wheelerisms!

  11. Bill Baer

    September 28, 2010 06:16 AM

    I’d take a senile Harry Kalas any day over a perfectly coherent T-Mac, Wheels, and Sarge. Although some may argue that Sarge has never been coherent.

  12. micah

    September 28, 2010 09:53 AM

    Look I’m not defending the ridiculous things that Wheels, Sarge, and LA say. All I’m saying is that the last two years of listening to HK breathe heavily were painful.

    I’ll never understand why they got rid of scott graham. He was better by far than anyone currently on the staff.

  13. Mratfink

    September 28, 2010 10:21 AM

    I think the Wheels comment wasn’t about the Nats comeback wins, but the fact they tend to turn blowouts into close games late in the game. I feel like i remember a lot of games where we were up by 5 brought in a Baez type closer against them and then had to bring in Madson or Lidge because they started scoring runs in the 8th and 9th.
    Besides no matter how bad Wheels is, he is nowhere near as bad as Sarge who makes me wants to punch a tv

  14. Scott G

    September 28, 2010 06:20 PM

    LA > Sarge > Franzke > TMac > Wheels

    These ratings are not based solely on baseball knowledge or intelligent conversion, rather by how much they amuse me/don’t make me angry.

    LA complains about the umps and doesn’t hold back his feelings. I really enjoy that because most MLB umps are TERRIBLE. He’s also extremely funny.

  15. Scott G

    September 28, 2010 08:08 PM

    It’s atrocious that Chris Wheeler couldn’t guess who hit the game winning double in the division clinching game in 2008 after receiving the “Yo no se” clue from TMac.

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