Run differential shows the difference between runs scored and runs allowed for each team, so, in theory, the clubs with the top run differentials at year’s end are oftentimes also the top teams. There can be hiccups along the way, and in either direction, for a variety of reasons: great bullpens helping to win a multitude of close games, lineups inconsistent with their run scoring whose run differential is built from a few blowouts, or just plain luck, good or bad, with runners in scoring position. Here, loyal reader, are baseball’s current leaders in run differential:
So, if the season ended today, 8 of the top 9 teams in run differential would be in the playoffs. The other 2 playoff teams would be the Los Angeles Dodgers (56-48, 17+ runs) or San Francisco Giants (55-47, 3+ runs), who are tied for the lead in the weak NL West, and the Pittsburgh Pirates (58-44, 27+ runs), who also play in a weak division, rank 12th in run differential, and have, arguably, the best closer in baseball.
So, and let me express this as articulately as I can, WTF CARDINALS?!
I know he has regressed toward the mean a bit, but I still get goosebumps when I see David Freese walk to the plate with an opportunity to win it.