Here’s something I discovered today: when this year’s Yankees have scored two or three runs, their won-lost record is 9-15, which is actually quite good. When the Blue Jays have scored two or three runs, their won-lost record is 3-24. That’s the difference between the two teams right there.
Here’s the complete tables for each team, listing the number of times for each run count, and the matching record. First, the Blue Jays:
And now, the Yankees:
Some other interesting facts:
- The Jays and Yankees have played the same number of games in which they scored three runs or less (38). The Red Sox have 39, which is in the same ballpark. For every team, I guess there are some games where the opposing pitcher is too good to do much with (“good pitching beats good hitting”). For the Rays, this total is 53.
- The Jays have scored 10 or more runs in 16 games. Comparable totals for other teams: Yankees 6, Red Sox 3, Rays 2. It’s astonishing what the Jays’ offense can do on a good day.
- The Jays have scored six or more runs 44 times. The Rays have managed it 17 times. The two teams have about the same record despite playing completely differently.
From these numbers, it’s safe to say that the Jays need to do better in close games. But do they need better starting pitching, or better relief pitching? Looking at the list of losing pitchers might provide a clue. If a starter is the losing pitcher, he put the team in a hole and they couldn’t climb out of it. If a reliever is the loser, the starter pitched well enough to win, but the bullpen let him down.
Looking at the list of two-run losses, my (approximate) count is 16 losses blamed on starting pitchers, and eight losses belonging to relievers. This suggests that what the Jays need is a starting pitcher. But not just any starting pitcher: a pitcher good enough to win with only two or three runs of support. In other words, an ace. Somebody like, say, Marcus Stroman. Sigh.