August 2, 2018

The New York Post Claims Red Sox And Yankees Have Been "Playing Ping-Pong" With MLB's Best Record "For Most Of The Year"? Is That True?

In a preview article for the four-game series between the Yankees and Red Sox that begins tonight at Fenway Park, Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post writes that the long-time rivals have been
playing ping-pong with the sport's best record for most of the year until lately, with the Sox edging out a little farther ahead.
One online definition of "ping-pong" as a verb is "to move back and forth or transfer rapidly from one locale, job, etc., to another; switch".

Has baseball's best record has been moving back and forth between the Red Sox and Yankees for most of the season?

You can probably guess that Vaccaro is full of shit for two reasons:
1.  I would not be posting if his statement was correct.
2.  You have followed baseball this year.
So with that in mind, I will give you a spoiler. When it comes to days spent in (or tied for) first place in the AL East, the Red Sox lead the Yankees 112-28.

This calendar shows the days on which the Red Sox or Yankees had MLB's best record. I went by winning percentage and used Baseball Reference's definition of a day, i.e., the standings after that day's games have been played. Purple squares are days on which the Red Sox and Yankees were tied for baseball's best record. A blank square means some other team held the best record.

The only time all season that could be considered ping-ponging was a small four-day stretch from June 29 to July 2.

The number of days that the best record "ping-ponged" completely from one team to the other? Eight. But not before May 22 and not after July 2.
March  - 0
April  - 0
May    - 1
June   - 5
July   - 2
August - 0

1 comment:

allan said...

And, yes, I have emailed Mr. Vaccaro, noting: "The best record has truly ping-ponged between the two teams on only 8 of 126 days this season."