From Sam Gardner at Fox Sports Midwest on August 21, 2012, with mention of SABR member Phil Birnbaum:
Fresh off their second World Series championship in the last six seasons, the St. Louis Cardinals have done just about everything a fan could ask of them this year, and statistically speaking, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be a contender for the crown once again.
Some of St. Louis’ shortcomings can be tied to a lack of timely hitting and other losses can be traced back to struggles in the bullpen late in games — we’ll get to that later — but above everything, the most reasonable explanation for the Cardinals’ underwhelming record may be simpler than that.
“The difference between a team’s won-loss record and run differential, when there is a big difference, I would say that almost all of it is going to be luck,” said Phil Birnbaum, editor of the Society for American Baseball Research’s sabermetrics publication, “By the Numbers.”
“If you’re looking for some sort of indicator of how good a team is, how much talent a team has or what you should expect from that team in the future, I would say that run differential would give you a much better estimate than wins and losses.”
Related link: To read past issues of “By The Numbers”, click here
Originally published: August 21, 2012. Last Updated: August 21, 2012.