May 19, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Texas Rangers infielder Elvis Andrus (1) before a game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE
Ben Rogers tweeted this a few minutes ago:
Idea that Rangers are 15-16 over their last 31 because they are "bored" is not a sound baseball take in my opinion— Ben Rogers (@BenRogers) May 25, 2012
I agree with Ben -- that argument doesn't make sense. However, that's something that's been suggested as an explanation as to why a team touted as the best in baseball has a losing record through their last 31 games.
Others have gone the other way, saying that this team isn't really that good, that they're overrated, that they may be the best in the A.L. West but they aren't really the best team in baseball, much less deserving of being mentioned in the same breath as the '98 Yankees.
Here's the thing about that 31 game stretch, though...the team has really played pretty well.
While going 15-16, the Rangers have outscored their opponents, 153-126. A Pythagorean won/loss expectancy for a team that outscores its opponents 153-126 is a .596 winning percentage. In other words, even during the last 31 games, the Rangers are basically playing .600 ball -- a 96 win pace over 162 games.
The Rangers have, in a nutshell, been unfortunate in terms of the distribution of runs over the last month, resulting in losing more close games than would be expected. Based on run differential, they'd be expected to have gone 18-13 over the last 31 games.
The 2012 Rangers...so good that, even when they're playing bad, they're playing good.