The search for the ultimate truth goes on. In the meantime, the magic formula to predict the World Series champ continues to be as elusive as lipstick on a pig.
So, crank these new prognosticating tools into your fantasy games and see what happens.
The people at Baseball Prospectus have devised what they call the “Secret Sauce” of predictors for success in the post-season.
They have defined, based on historical finishes, the three most vital factors that lead a team to the promised land of World Champs.
They are a power-pitching staff that piles up the strike-outs, a good defense, and a top-notch closer.
There are no real surprises here, except to say the BP folks found that seven of the past 10 world champions ranked no lower than fourth in any of the Secret Sauce categories.
The three teams that defied the odds all changed closers during the season, namely, the 2003 Marlins, the 2005 White Sox and the 2006 Cardinals.
If we take that sauce and spread it over the American League this year, the winner is — drum roll please — yep, the Red Sox.
The Sox are second in team strikeouts, third in team defense and third in saves.
Interestingly, Tampa Bay, the White Sox, the Los Angeles Angels and Toronto are next in line.
That’s not a bad listing by standings in the AL. The one team that will not make it, but is finishing strong is the Jays. Their problem was early-season injuries they could not cover up.
The Angels are sixth in team strikeouts, but they are in the top five in defense and they have ultimately lived via the most saves in the AL from possible MVP Francisco Rodriquez.
Their small-ball game and wins by one or two runs was only possible because of K-Rod’s year. That is playoff baseball.
Tampa Bay and Boston are the most balanced teams in the sauce mix. Both are in the top five in all three categories.
It is worth noting that offense is nowhere to be found among the ingredients. There still have to be runs scored, but in the playoffs it is more about pitching than ever.
Even in the regular season that adage holds firm, otherwise the Rangers and Orioles would be heading to the post season.
For the sauce to be applied, a team must first get to October. The Sox and Tampa Bay will go, one as the wildcard.
The Angels are already there, so we are left to watch the Twins and White Sox do battle in the AL Central.
That is an interesting battle between the “always play to win by one” Twins and the “you never know” Pale Hose.
The end is near and then we’ll warm up the sauce.