It’s hard when I get news like this. You see, a lot of the writing I do is a true inquiry. I ask a question to myself, myself answers, I take my meds, do some research, and before you know it, I have an answer. The answer is often a surprise since I go in with no presumed answer (Or at least I try to. If the question is Does Luke Hochevar suck? it gets harder to not have preconceived notions.)
It was hard this time finding out that the 2012 Royals were consistent losers. My question was Is there anything in the win-loss statistics that might provide insight into what the Royals might fix moving forward? A statistical anomaly that might explain why they lost more than I had hoped for and expected?
The answer? No there is not. It turns out the Royals were pretty much just losers across the board. They had a pretty even home-road split. They had a pretty even first half-second half split. I thought maybe in one-run games, but their numbers in one-run games are actually much better than their overall record (27-26). They didn’t get blown out much more than their overall record would indicate. They just lost a lot of three to four-run games.
Their win-loss numbers inside the division aren’t overly interesting. They had a good year against Chicago, a bad year against Minnesota, and everything else was pretty much expected—two games up on Cleveland and destroyed by Detroit. Overall, they were 34-38 in the division—not surprising and fairly boring.
I did learn that the Royals played a pretty tough schedule outside their division. Of their 18 opponents, 11 finished with records .500 or over, with Cleveland and Minnesota being two of the seven that didn’t. Against those winning teams, the Royals were 47-50, a pretty respectable record considering how bad the overall record was.
The one statistically interesting thing I found was how terrible the Royals win-loss record was against losing teams. Against losing teams, teams with records below .500, they were 25-40. That’s pretty bad, and much of that comes from the horrific years against Minnesota and Seattle. Combined the Royals were 8-18 against those two teams. That’s just sad. I think the Washington Generals could do better … at baseball I mean.
If you listen to the sabrmatricians, which more people should, they’ll tell you that win-loss records aren’t a great indicator of anything other than how many games a team won and lost. To a degree, they’re right. But what the win-loss records can do, sometimes, is show people big patterns about a team’s ability to win and lose. If they lose a lot of one-run games, a fan base might know that it’s a late inning problem or that those loses are a statistical oddity that might shake out the following year. If a team has an incredible win-loss in September, that says something as well, usually that they’re facing minor leaguers who will be selling insurance before too long.
The win-loss records from the Royals are somewhat enlightening if not encouraging. They say that the 2012 Royals were consistent losers with no statistical oddity (in terms of win-loss only) that points to an easily found culprit. Of course, we can point to starting pitching and management and timely hitting or whatever, and those might be the answer. But the answer to my question is simply that the Royals of 2012 were consistently terrible, not up and down terrible, but reliable in their losing.