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Article:What's Luck got to do with it?

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The boys from I Remember Dome-Dogs just keep it comin':

Thinking about Cve's quote of the night from last night, I decided to check the Astros X W-L, which as MLB computes is: Expected won-loss record based on runs scored and runs allowed, using this formula: RS^1.82/((RS^1.82)+(RA^1.82)). Currently the Astros have an X W-L of 4-4. Which means we should have an extra win, or should we?

The formula MLB uses was created by legendary Sabermetrics guru, Bill James. It gives us an approximation of how a team should have performed. There are, of course, limitations to X W-L and one has to look no further than the 2007 Diamondbacks to see that (90-72 W-L to 79-83 X W-L). The Diamondbacks played a lot of very close ball games last year, which is why Jose Valverde was able to lead the National League in saves. In comparing the Diamondbacks W-L to X W-L we can see they were either very lucky or very clutch -- where you fall depends on whether you believe clutchness exists or does not (click the link if you really want to make up your mind).

So with that in mind, and with Cve's thought that the Astros seem to have the tools to be a slightly above average team (which is all it takes to win the NL Central) in mind, what does that ellusive win that the Astros should have represent? I assert that it in fact represents bad luck. For the Astros to be successful this season, a lot of things will have to go our way. Backe and Wandy have to pitch career years, Roy has to be Roy (which he hasn't been so far), and our hitters have to hit well and all of that has to occur simultaneously. That simultaneous provision is the luck factor that I feel accounts for that 1 win we are deficit. Thus far, it has been hit or miss as far as it all coming together, but if that win we are deficit is truly just a result of bad luck, then I think we're ok. Why? Because luck evens out over time (see the law of large numbers, or averages). We've seen all of those factors I discussed so far this season, we just haven't seen the together so far. If they exist, then they should; and when they do, X W-L says, so far, that we should be a .500 team.

Who knows, with a little luck in our favor, we're a few wins above .500 and maybe, just maybe, we're in a play-off hunt. Of course, I am looking waaaaaaayyyyy to far into the futher as we have only played 8 games, but it's food for thought none the less. So I guess Cve's fundamental question of whether have "faith and hope" in the Astros is too loyal or not can't be answered yet, but lady luck has a lot do with it. So, do we feel lucky? Do we? (Sorry, that was a poorly done Clint Eastwood reference).

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