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O's are better than their record

In analyzing the pennant races earlier, I noticed something about the Orioles. They've been really unlucky this year.

In the '80s, Bill James invented something called the Pythagorean winning percentage. Basically, it predicts team records based on runs scored and runs allowed. It's an imperfect tool for diagnosing specific problems but holds up well over large samples of data. 

By the Pythagorean method, the Orioles should be a .500 team. They've scored seven more runs than they've allowed this year, better than two divisional contenders, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers.

But the Orioles have been undone by a brutal 10-24 record in one-run games. That speaks in part to a disappointing bullpen but also to poor fortune.

It's not like bad luck has pulled them out of pennant contention. It's just worth noting that this is not a terrible team. In fact, it might be the best we've seen since the last winning season in 1997.

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