Monday, April 4, 2016

Inter-league Baseball 2016 Recap

The surest outcome in sports was that American League (AL) teams would win the majority of inter-league matches against their National League (NL) opponents in 2016.

The AL has been the superior league by far and has been for more than a decade. 2016 marks 13 consecutive AL triumphs over the NL starting with 2004. 

AL teams won 54.87% of inter-league matches in 2016 including the AL's 4th consecutive All-Star triumph and Cleveland's 3-4 loss in  World Series matches. I was surprised to see the NL staying even until nearly 1/3 of the way through the year after getting off to a 30-21 start. (The NL's performance this year reminds me of my ex-toy boy Reginald.) The AL finally re-asserted its superiority and finished 2016 a touch above its annual average winning record of 54.746% for the entire 2004-2016 period of AL dominance. 

Nevertheless, over this 13-year period of AL dominance the NL is actually ahead 7-6 in World Series victories. However, over a longer period, the AL representative has won 19 of the past 33 World Series

And, the AL has now won 16 of the last 19 all-star games to reach a decision and 22 of the last 28. 

The only positive sign for the NL is that the AL's 53.7% average (including All-Star and World Series matches) from 2010-16 is below the 55.9% average from 2004 through 2009. 

And, with the NY Mets, Chicago Cubs and LA Dodgers now run by AL-analytics-alumunae, the years of NL inferiority may be numbered. The Cubs were the best team in either league in 2016 and were 19-8 in their regular season and World Series matches against AL teams. I stuck with my annual prediction that the AL representative would win the World Series and was wrong yet again. 

The Cubs' success remains the exception in the NL. Until the analytic approach spreads throughout the NL, the theme for most NL management teams will continue to be the Scarecrow's song from the Wizard of Oz: "If I only had a brain" 

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