The Cubs good start should be better
And, if they really want to keep Cody Bellinger their last best chance might be right now.
The Cubs finished their first full month of the season and they managed to gag away any momentum they had picked up by getting swept by the punchless Marlins in Miami.
The Cubs finished April 14-13 on the season and underperforming their run differential by a pretty stark amount. The Pythagorean Win/Loss metric is pretty rudimentary by today’s standards, and everybody knows that Pythagoras was merely a casual baseball fan. But the formula was actually created by Bill James as a measure of whether a team has gotten lucky or unlucky with their win/loss record based on their runs scored and runs allowed. It’s come to be thought of as a measure of managerial effectiveness, too. Teams that score a lot more than than they allow should win a lot of games.
For instance, until the Joe Maddon Cubs arrived, for many of us the most talented Cubs team of our lives was the 2004 edition. They took all that talent and barely missed the playoffs, but had Pythagoras managed them instead of Dusty Baker they’d have won 95 games instead of 88.
The David Ross Cubs of 2023 will not be mistaken talent-wise for those Cubs, but just a month and a few days into the season they are tied with the Barves for the second best run differential in the National League at +43 (Pissburgh leads with +53, but we’ll get to them later this week). The Barves are 18-9 with that differential, and the formula says the Cubs should be, too, but they are underperforming that by four wins. If you are wondering if four is a lot by the end of April, well, it is.
But we know it’s early because if everybody tracked at their current rates the Cubs would have some pretty interesting stats at season end.
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