Mains: What blowouts mean

From SABR member Rob Mains at Baseball Prospectus on December 15, 2017:

Toward the end of the season, I noted that the Padres, while obviously bad, were outperforming their preseason PECOTA projection. We projected a 70-92, last-place finish for San Diego. They finished in fourth place. Their final record was only one game better than PECOTA’s projection, but I’ll note that the team went 1-6 over its last seven games, almost completely ruining my intact-at-the-time-I-wrote-it “better than expected” thesis.

Commenter Dethwurm wrote: “… the Padres have, by an enormous margin, the worst run differential in baseball. … I’m really curious how they’ve managed this—blowout losses and a lot of two-run wins?”

I looked into this, and Dethwurm raised a good point. The 2017 Padres played 39 games that were decided by six runs or more. That’s a fair amount; the median in the 30-game era is 31. But it doesn’t stand out. The Diamondbacks, Marlins, Braves, and Royals also played 39 games decided by six or more runs last season, and seven other teams played 40 or more. What does stand out, though, is the Padres’ record in those games. They won only six. They were 6-33 in blowouts. (I’m going with the definition of a six-plus-run margin for blowouts.) As you’ll see, that’s really horrible.

That made me wonder what losing, or winning, a lot of blowouts means.

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Originally published: December 15, 2017. Last Updated: December 15, 2017.