A little recap of the month of May. We ended April wishing May might be as merry, and for some it was. For others it was even merrier, and for still others… not so much.
EFL Standings for 2021
|Old Detroit Wolverines||39||16||.707||—||323.8||208.4|
|Flint Hill Tornadoes||33||22||.600||5.9||248.0||207.2|
Old Detroit: L, 4 – 8. (42 PA, .205, .262, .487; 18.3 ip, 12 er, 5.90 ERA) On May 19, the fourth-place Wolverines lost their 15th game of the season, making their record 29 – 15 and dropping the W’s into 5th place, just behind the Balk. The Oldies’ May record at that point was 9 – 8.
Over the next 11 days, the Oldies went 10 – 0. I didn’t notice this winning streak while it happened; perhaps some of you did, and muttered among yourselves, or to God, about it.
On Memorial Day, May 31, the W’s finally lost their 16th game, shaving their lead over second place Peshastin by 0.2 games to 1.6. They ended May 19 – 9 for the month, the EFL’s third best May record by winning percentage, second best by games over .500. All that mediocre pitching Monday probably helped, since it erased 6 or 7 innings of replacements, and left the W’s as the only team without any replacements OR surplus plate appearances.
Peshastin: DNP, 1 – 3. (27 PA, .273, .346, .500; 5.7 ip, 4 er, 6.32 ERA) The Pears’ matched the poor quality of Monday’s Wolverine pitching, but were saddled with less than 1/3 of it. Meanwhile a good day of hitting didn’t move the needle much because the Pears, oddly, did not play on Memorial Day.
Peshastin began May 18-8, in 4th place, 1.4 games out. They ended May in second place, still 1.4 games out, having matched the W’s 19-9 monthly record almost precisely. That kind of consistency bodes well for the Pears’ place in the upcoming pennant pursuit.
Peshastin were in first place on the morning of May 21, the day the W’s started their winning streak. They fell out of first two days later, then immediately regained that position until the Wolverines displaced them on May 26. Their ability to hang in on this pennant race is all the more remarkable considering they produced the second-worst offensive numbers in the league, creating only 4.79 runs per game in May. As you might predict, the Pears made up for that in pitching: a league best 2.95 ERA for the month – despite the clunker Pear pitchers produced on the last day.
Kaline: W, 6 – 1. (42 PA, .256, .310, .487; 7 ip, 1 er, 1.29 ERA) Kaline secured the best May record in the league — 21 – 8 — with a strong Memorial Day win. Jose Urquidy shut down opposing hitters, holding them to 1 earned run in 6 innings. Hunter Renfroe provided the offensive boost the Drive needed to score 6 runs (going 2 for 3 with a double and a triple).
Kaline started May 15 – 12, in sixth place. The Drive didn’t taste first during May, but have erased half their deficit in the standings, cutting it down to 2.5 games. They did this mostly by placing second in the league for May ERA at 3.02, backed by a good 37.5 team defense.
Haviland: W (-1), L 2; (-4) – 8. (41 PA, .103, .145, .205; no pitching) The Dragons had a rough day, slipping out of third place. Their hitters mustered only 4 hits, three of them by Amed Rosario (who included a homer). Six batters went 0 for 4, and Alex Kirilloff went 0 for 5. Without any pitching to compensate, the Dragons were vulnerable to a big loss.
The Dragons last tasted first place in those two days between the Pears’ last two turns in that office. Their ERA for the month, 3.81, is good, befitting their .652 winning percentage on the season, and their 18-11 record in May. Offense was the issue. According to the database monthly stats report, the Dragons scored 4.09 runs per game, 9th in the league, with a .667 OPS, 10th in the league.
DC: L, 5 – 4. (19 PA, .263, .263, .579; 13.3 ip, 6 er , 4.06 ERA). For much of May, the Balk have run season winning percentages higher than the teams in front of them in the traditional “games behind first” standings. The Balk (and the Kangaroos) came into the month with about 5 fewer games played. Things have only gotten worse in that department, due to bad weather on the East Coast. Because the Mets lead the NL East, DC has played 10 fewer games than the Drive, 9 fewer than that Wolverines, and 8 fewer than the other teams in front of them.
I don’t know whether the Mets’ laggardly game playing helps or hurts the Balk. I suspect it hurts. The Balk have no replacement innings or PA in May, but they have 109 surplus PA suppressed. So I think they had plenty of players playing.
DC started the month at 18-8, in third place a game out. On the day with W’s fell out of first place, when the entire “elite” tier was within 0.6 games of the lead, the Balk were the ones 0.6 out. Ultimately all the big bodies choking the path prevented them from reaching the summit. Even though the Balk ended up going 13 – 7 on the month, that .650 winning percentage was only the sixth best league. Even so, today they are still in fifth place, just 3.3 behind — thanks in large part to family man Jose Berrios’ 8 ip, 1 er gem.
Flint Hill: L, 3 – 6. (33 PA, .172, .250, .310; 14 ip, 10 er, 6.43 ERA) If any team deserves to be disappointed about May, it might be the Tornados. The defending EFL champions started the month in 5th place, only 1.6 games out. When we came out of the beginning-of-the-month tunnel on May 5, the T’s were in second place, just 0.9 games out. On the morning of May 8, when the Pears took over the lead the first time, and the Wolverines were 0 games out, the Tornados were in third, also 0 games out.
Flint Hill took over first on the 9th, and held it until they were displaced on the 12th (Jamie’s 20th anniversary ) when the Pears surged from 3rd place to take the lead. Flint Hill regained the lead the next day, but the Pears supplanted them again on the 15th. Having fallen to third place, 2 games out, by the 17th, Tornado management sent the league a photo of a Pear being blasted to pieces by an arrow, appearantly attempting to intimidate a piece of fruit. And sure enough, two days later the Pears were only 0.1 games ahead of the Tornados. The T’s fell off to third on the 20th, climbed back up to second 0.2 games out on the 21st, came within a hair of catching the Pears on the 22nd: 0 games back, but behind .704 to .700 in winning percentage.
But that’s when the bottom fell out. Two days later, the Pears were still in first, but the Tornados had fallen to fourth, 1.3 games back. The next day (the 25th) their deficit was 2.1, then 2.4, 3.5 (in 5th place), 3.4, 3.6 (in 6th place), 4.8 (the demise of the two-tier system), and 6.0 yesterday morning.
Today the Tornados have stopped the free fall, still in 6th but only 5.9 out. June came not a moment too soon, to a Tornado fan.
Canberra: W, 10 – 3. (25 PA, .381, .480, .857; 8 ip, 2 er, 2.25 ERA). Rich Hill is ancient. He doesn’t throw 5 shutout innings without supernatural help. Javier Baez is in decline. He can’t blast two homers in a day on his own power. Mauricio Dubon is a puppy, not a home run hitter — unless he’s getting help. What’s the secret, Canberra, and can we all have some?
Not only that, but the Kangaroos started May 12 – 14, in ninth place, 6.8 games out. They were still in 9th, 7.8 games out, when we emerged from the early month tunnel. They bobbed around just under .500 until May 12, skipping a few games along with the Mets, when they made it to 15 – 15, in 8th place, 6.6 games behind the then-first-place Pears. By May 17, the ‘Roos had reached 7th place (finally passing the Rosebuds), but were 8.2 games out of first at 19 – 16, having gone 7 – 2 for the month.
Now the ‘Roos are still in 7th place, but only 7.7 games out, having gone another 7 – 4 in the 14 days since May 17. Canberra’s .718 winning percentage is the second best in the league for May, a notch below Kaline’s .744 and a bigger notch above 3rd place Old Detroit’s .688. The league’s best offense in May (5.76 rc/g as opposed to OD’s 5.75) drove the Kangaroo’s success.
The Mets redolent approach to getting their games played may be a mercy to the Cannies. They have no May replacement innings, but they do carry 5 replacement PA.
Cottage: DNP, (-2) – 0. (.25 ip, .100, .280, .150; no pitching) It’s a good thing Memorial Day was an off-day for the Cheese. The “no pitching” would have hurt them in April, when they led the league by a big margin in replacement innings. But the Cheese had no replacement innings in May, and only 20 replacement PA — as well as 50 surplus PA, indicating the Cheese had enough hitters, just not very well distributed to the positions of need.
Cottage started the month in last place, but escaped by the time we left the first-of-the-month tunnel. They tussled with the Kangaroos for most of the month as both teams climbed over their rivals on the way to the exit from the grounded tier. The Cheese, who had the second best offense in April, slipped to fifth best in May, at 5.24 rc/g. Their improvement in pitching/defense offset that decline: from dead last (6.01 ERA, compared to the 10th-best Kangaroos at 5.17), the Cotties sported the third best ERA at 3.30 in May. Tying for 10th in defensive rating (at 33.1) undid some of that great pitching, so they “only” went 18- 9 on the month but it was still a heartening improvement.
Pittsburgh: W 1, L 1; 14 – 12. (21 PA, .368, .382, .737; 0.7 ip, 0 er, 0.00 ERA) The Alleghenys have hovered around .500 all year, going 11 – 13 in April and 16 – 14 in May to reach a .501 winning percentage.
That May result came to pass because the Alleghenys had a great Memorial Day. The scant pitching didn’t help — it was good, but the 5.8 replacement innings were avoidable with a decent day. But the hitting, while also thin, was outstanding, with four doubles (two by Dominic Smith) and a homer (by Jose Altuve) providing the spark.
The Allegheny offense was the third most potent in the EFL in May, humming along at a 5.45 rc/g clip, just in front of Kaline.
Portland: DNP, 2 – 1. (23 PA, .348, .348, .739; 6.7 ip, 6 er, 8.06 ERA) The Johnson brothers both had disappointing Mays. Portland started the month 13-13, in 8th place 6 games out. Despite their very nice day at the plate Monday (featuring homers by O’Neill, Polanco, and Carlson), the ‘Buds finished the month with the third-worst offense, only creating 4.79 runs per game in May. Add to that the league’s worst ERA (4.95) and it’s no surprise they sank to a virtual tie for last place before creating some space between them and the Cascades on Monday.
Portland racked up 28 replacement plate appearances while also throwing away 27 surplus PAs. A little redistribution may be in order.
Bellingham: W 0, L 2; 5 – 13. (29 PA, .185, .241, .333; 7.7 ip, 4 er, 4.68 ERA). The Cascades went 13 – 11 in April, good enough for 7th place in that torrid month. They had the worst May in the EFL, managing only 12 wins and 18 losses. Bellingham needed no replacement innings, although the team ERA was a 4.32, 8th in the EFL and over a half-run worse than 7th place Haviland (3.81). The Belles used a league-leading 82 replacement PA, although they also had a robust 55 surplus plate appearances.
The big last day, with two games to cover, spoiled Bellingham’s chance to overtake the Rosebuds, with whom they started the day in a dead-heat tie. The weak hitting was typical for Bellingham, which had the lowest rc/g rate at 3.92, 0.83 runs per game lower than 10th-best Peshastin.
Any team with Ronald Acuna Jr. ( 8 homers in May after co-leading the EFL with 8 in April) and the rest will not linger long under 4 rc/g game, one would think. Here’s to good results in June!
Combined MLB + EFL Standings for 2021
|Old Detroit Wolverines||39||16||.707||—|
|Tampa Bay Rays||35||20||.636||3.9|
|Boston Red Sox||32||21||.604||5.9|
|Flint Hill Tornadoes||33||22||.600||5.9|
|New York Yankees||29||25||.537||9.4|
|Toronto Blue Jays||27||25||.519||10.4|
|New York Mets||26||20||.565||5.1|
|Chicago White Sox||33||21||.611||—|
|Kansas City Royals||26||26||.500||6|
|St. Louis Cardinals||30||24||.556||0.5|
|Los Angeles Angels||24||30||.444||11.9|
|San Francisco Giants||34||20||.630||3|
|San Diego Padres||34||21||.618||3.5|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||32||22||.593||5|