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Interesting Statistics and Analytics of the Guardians Topping the AL Central

AL Central
Photo via Cleveland Guardians

In my previous article, I mentioned that I use unconventional statistics to analyze the performance of MLB and NHL teams. One statistic is comparing win-loss records if games ended after 2 periods in the NHL, and six innings in MLB. Largely due to more teams making it into the playoffs in the NHL, there are very few surprises: teams that would make the playoffs if games ended after 2 periods almost always make the playoffs anyway. The only variable is seeding.

In MLB, it’s a vastly different story. A story that can’t be explained solely by the lower number of playoff teams.

Let’s take a look at the American League Central standings if games ended after 6 innings:


AL Central W L T Pct.
Minnesota 76 67 19 0.531
Chicago White Sox 73 70 19 0.510
Cleveland 71 71 20 0.500
Kansas City 56 81 25 0.409
Detroit 54 88 20 0.380


Using this statistic, Minnesota would have won the AL Central by 3 games over the White Sox and 4 ½ games over the Bridge Monuments.

But that’s not how it turned out:


AL Central W L Pct.  GB
Cleveland 92 70 0.568
Chicago White Sox 81 81 0.500 11.0
Minnesota 78 84 0.481 14.0
Detroit 66 96 0.407 26.0
Kansas City 65 97 0.401 27.0


The difference in the W-L (6) and the actual W-L is as follows:


AL Central

Minnesota -7.5
Chicago White Sox -1.5
Cleveland 11.0
Kansas City -3.5
Detroit 2.0


Minnesota’s 4 ½ game advantage over Cleveland was more than erased by each team’s performance from the 7th inning on. Cleveland gained 11 games in the standings (tops in MLB), while Minnesota lost 7 ½ games (only Arizona and the Angels were worse). That 18 ½ game spread turned a 4 ½ game Cleveland deficit into a 14-game advantage in the final standings.

Looking at it another way, Cleveland had 20 games in which they were tied after 6 innings. Of the 20, they won all of them, and also won 1 game in which they were behind after 6 innings. Minnesota, on the other hand, had a 2-17 record in games they were tied after 6 innings.

It’s important to note that this statistic is cumulative, meaning that taking into account games that were lost after being ahead or tied after 6, the aggregate totals are reflected in the above discussion.

The why’s

What caused such a discrepancy? In my opinion, the difference in each team’s bullpen away from their home stadium is a convincing factor. Those who watched the June 29 game between the Twins and Guardians saw the 2022 season in one game – actually one inning.  I had a front row seat at Flo Field for all of this.

The teams were tied 3-3 after 6 innings and remained tied going into extra innings. In the top of the 10th, Minnesota scored 3 runs off Eli Morgan. The Twins basically owned Morgan all season. If the Twins would have gone to any other reliever (including OF Nick Gordon), the Twins would most likely have held on to win.

Rocco Baldelli instead turned to the noted arsonist Emilio Pagan. Pagan was basically worthless all season and lived up to his reputation in the bottom of the 10th.

While Pagan richly deserves the heat for this game, the accumulation of short starts by Twins starters Chris Archer and Dylan Bundy (who started this game) played havoc on the Twins’ bullpen arms. Perhaps if Minnesota had starters like Cleveland does, perhaps the bullpen wouldn’t have flamed out.




1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Tim Corbett

    November 12, 2022 at 2:37 pm

    I love this written line: Rocco Baldelli instead turned to the noted arsonist Emilio Pagan.

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