Commentary

Playing with the numbers: Oh, the drama

Updated: August 14, 2007, 9:01 PM ET
By David Srinivasan | Special to ESPN.com
I was at a pool party a few weeks ago (back when the average daily temps were 93 degrees, instead of 99). The best T-shirt I saw there was one on a guy that said, "Save the Drama for your Mama."

Sorry, gang, I'm holding nothing back. Last week, I wrote that my staff appeared OK for the stretch run. But after running my latest statistical report (read on for the ugly truth), I'm not so confident. This week, I looked at how many runs each pitcher should have allowed based on a variation of Jim Furtado's extrapolated runs formula. Mr. Furtado's original formula is for hitters and assigns values to each event such as a double, a walk or a strikeout. With a little bit of twiddling, I was able to convert the formula to work with pitchers.

Once I did that, I compared the numbers generated by this new formula, what I call PRA (pitching runs allowed), to the actual runs allowed by all the pitchers in the game. Here are 20-plus pitchers of interest. What should you garner from this week's column? Just this: The guys we're talking about here have been "lucky" this season, and their ERAs are misleading. Truth be told, I wouldn't be surprised if the odds are against them for the rest of the season. So why am I worrying? Because I own Nate Robertson, John Smoltz, Mark Buehrle and Daisuke Matsuzaka. They comprise a rather important hunk o' my pitching staff, and if they're headed south, so are my title aspirations. I wish you better luck.

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