Return to Average: Week 5

This is the fourth week I’ve tracked the Pittsburgh Pirates offense relative to NL average (herehere and here). (I started tracking after the second week.)

It is important to compare the Pirates offense to league average because it is likely that their pitching/defense is only slightly better than league average. If they hope to win 75-85 games this year, they are going to have to score something close to a league average number of runs.

This week I again compare the Pirates’ runs scored to NL Avg. However, I will now  track Runs Allowed to 90% of NL Avg. There are three reasons for tracking runs allowed, and for tracking it at this lower rate:

  1. It is becoming increasingly unlikely that the offense will come within 5% of NL average runs. If the Pirates are going to end up close to 80 wins, they’re going to have to allow (well) below NL average number of runs per game.
  2. If the offense were to have stunning turnaround, allowing only 90% of league average runs would make them a pennant contender
  3. League average runs allowed would be a disappointment at this point. Expectations are that they will remain, at least, slightly below NL Avg. To finish 90% league average would be special accomplishment for the staff, even if the offense never comes around.

This week’s numbers:


The Pirates played six games this week and scored 19 runs – an average of 3.16 RS/G. They raised their season RS/G to 2.85, from 2.80. Last week they needed to average 4.35 runs to reach NL average by the end of the season. That number has increased to 4.41. In other words, the Pirates offense will have to score at a rate of 8% above NL average for the rest of the season in order to reach a NL average number of runs.

  • Blue = The average RS/G for the week.
  • Red= The average RS/G for the season
  • Green = The number of RS/G the Pirates will have to score in order to reach league average.

(Click to Enlarge)


The Pirates played six games this week and allowed 15 runs – an average of 2.50 RA/G. They decreased their season RA/G to 3.50, from 3.71. Last week they needed to average 3.81 runs allowed to remain below 90% NL average by the end of the season. That number has increased to 3.86. In other words, the Pirates pitching/defense will have to give up 5% less runs than NL average for the rest of the season remain below 90% league average RA/G.

Pythagorean Record

Each week I’m going to update the Pythagorean record of the Pirates based on two scenarios:

  1. Pirates offense scoring NL average runs; and the defense allowing its actual average runs
  2. Pirates defense allowing NL average runs; and the offense scoring its actual average runs.

This really gives you a sense how much pitching/defense is sustaining this team.

Weekly Observation

The Pirates only scored 19 runs, and yet won four out of six games this week. They could very easily have won five games if they had cashed in one of their many scoring opportunities Friday night.

The pitching/defense had a bounce back week – having allowed 5.85 RA/G last week. McDonald and Burnett put together two excellent starts, 14 IP 2 Runs and 16 IP 4 Runs respectively. But perhaps the most significant performance of the week was Wednesday night – after Bedard got injured, the bullpen carried the team to a win by giving up only 2 runs in 8 IP.

Finally, I think something should be said about Pedro Alvarez’s play at 3B. He made some errors again this week, but he also showed good range – making a series of difficult plays. While his offense fell off a bit this week, he saved a few hits with his glove. (For a look at the defensive evolution of the Pirates’ “Core Four”, go here)

That’s it for this week. We’ll see where things stand next Sunday after the Pirates visit Miami, Washington and Detroit. (Actually, more likely Monday, as I’ll be in Detroit for that series and driving home Sunday evening.)


Thanks for stopping by.

For lots of baseball tweets, consider following me on Twitter @highoutsideball

Also, you might be interested in “Pirates “Core Four” Defense”; “Positional Comparisons by OPS”“Pens Goals vs. Pirates Runs: Through 32 Games”; “Pirates Baserunning” and “NL Sacrifice Bunt Attempts Compared (AKA #Hurdled).” 

7 thoughts on “Return to Average: Week 5

  1. Pingback: #Hurdled: Sacrifice Bunts w/ Runner on 2nd | HighandOutside Baseball

  2. Pingback: Inning Runs Scored by Sacrifice Attempt/Non-Sac. | HighandOutside Baseball

  3. Pingback: Page not found | HighandOutside Baseball

  4. Pingback: Pirates Baserunning: Update 2 | HighandOutside Baseball

  5. Pingback: Return on Investment: Comparing Pirates Player Salaries to the “Dollar” Metric | HighandOutside Baseball

  6. Pingback: Off to Detroit | HighandOutside Baseball

  7. Pingback: Return to Average: Week 6 | HighandOutside Baseball

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