How the #Nats doing? Ask Pythagoras

pythagoras

That Nationals are a respectable 8-6 to begin the season, with series sweeps of the Marlins and White Sox.

But they also have embarrassing losses of 0-15, 0-9, and 2-8 (last night to the those same pathetic Marlins).

According to a Pythagorean win expectation calculation, the Nationals would be lucky to have six wins.

I’ll explain.

The Pythagorean win expectation formula is named after the Greek philosopher and mathematician, who famously postulated that the length of a long side of a right triangle equals the square root of the sum of the two sides squared.  The Pythagorean win expectation formula uses a similar calculation.

Pythagorean Theorem

A (squared) + B (squared) = C (squared)

Pythagorean Win Expectation

Winning perecentage = runs scored (squared) divided by the sum of runs scored (squared) plus runs allowed (squared)

Let’s do the math.

The Nationals have scored 58 runs and given up 70 (thanks to those three blowout losses).

58 x 58 = 3364.  70 x 70 = 4900.

3364 + 4900 = 8264

3364 / 8264 = .407

A .407 winning percentage over 14 games would equal 5.698 wins.  According to this simple calculation, the Nationals would be lucky to have 6 wins this season.  They currently have 8.

The season is young.  The sample size here is very small.  In fact, even over the course of a season, a Pythagorean win calculation can be misleading since it doesn’t take into account quality of the bullpen, terrible starting pitching performances (like Dan Haren last night) that are statistical outliers, and other team specifics.

Still, giving up 70 runs to 58 scored is a bad trend.  Pythagoras agrees.

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