Monday, September 1, 2014
2014: SLOW DRIP's FINAL LEAK: INTERLEAGUE PLAY, SEPTEMBER
The AL wound up winning 26 of 49 interleague contests staged in August, but the ongoing news (not that anyone else will report this to you, of course...) is that the prevailing "random schedule bias"--now there's one that our alternate sponsor, the Euphemism for Euthanasia Foundation, can get behind--is still operating vis-a-vis interleague play.
NL teams still wind up playing more .500+ clubs from the AL than vice-versa: over the past five years, they've played 24% more such games than the AL. They have also managed to get trounced in these games, managing only a .415 WPCT from 2010-14. (That's worse than the historical average for teams playing vs. .500+ teams, which is .437.)
In terms of interleague play results and potential impact on the final 2014 standings, there's only one team that looks to be a pronounced beneficiary--the Royals, who completed their interleague schedule with a bang during August by winning seven of eight games, finishing 15-5 for the year. At the moment, that means that the Great Powder Blue Hope is only three games over .500 against its own league.
The Royals have been interleague road warriors this season (8-2, which ranks tenth all-time for road performance for teams with nine or more road games during a single season of interleague play). Drawing most of their road games against the doormats of the NL West (Padres, D-backs, Rockies) didn't exactly hurt their chances.
Attendance in interleague games has held steady with the 2013 average, but the September 2014 schedule looks noticeably softer than what proved to be the case "match-up"-wise for these contests. That last week, with two series where the teams are playing out the string, looks ripe for the "not with a bang but a whimper" scenario. (The good news: neither of the weakest interleague road draws--the Marlins and the Padres, both well under 25,000 per game--are in the mix. The bad news: the Red Sox, who are the second best interleague road draw at just under 42,000 per game, are in serious "phone-it-in" mode and may not bring in extra fans in Pittsburgh this time round.)