Don't Kill the Mellinger

Columnist Sam Mellinger's thoughts on sports and other important stuff

On the end of a flukey but interesting Royals trend: the four-runs thing

05/05/2014 8:33 AM

05/12/2014 4:54 PM

So, the Royals pretty much laid over and waited for someone to break up the fight this weekend, outclassed by the Tigers 26-8 in what Royals fans have been trained to see as the beginning of the end.

There is plenty to get to here, and plenty of time to talk about

a team that needs to earn fans’ trust^ but just for one quick blog post here let’s get to the end of a flukey-but-interesting trend of the Royals being undefeated when scoring four or more and, um, only

defeated when scoring three or fewer.


I have a feeling we’ll mention it in Twitter Tuesday .

They are now 14-1 with four or more runs, and 0-15 with three or fewer. As a point of comparison, American League teams as a whole are 40-160 when scoring three or fewer, and 183-71 when scoring four or more.

One more point of reference: the 2013 Royals were 22-63 when scoring three or fewer, and 64-13 when scoring four or more.

Son in a lot of ways, this small-sample-size-but-still trend is an exaggeration of what you’d probably expect anyway.

The takeaway is, basically, this: for most baseball teams, the big jump is five runs. For the Royals, it is four.

Their terrific defense and good (but often made to look terrific by the defense) pitching is enough to win a lot of games with exactly four runs — in the last two seasons, they are 20-7 (.741) in those scenarios while the rest of the American League is 216-163 (.570).

This is an oversimplified mathematical expression of what we all know, that the Royals are built on pitching and defense.

The problem, of course, is that other teams have good enough offenses to have many more games with four or five or more runs than the Royals.

Which is, I suppose, one more way of pointing out that every offensive player except for Omar Infante and Alcides Escobar is underperforming a reasonable expectation.

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