Post Article: "Striking Out Pythagoras" in MLB Posted September 26, 2007 Nice article about how the Diamondbacks are 20 games over .500 despite being outscored by their opponents. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/25/AR2007092502515.html So, there's this guy, name of Pythagoras, who's been going around bad-mouthing the Arizona Diamondbacks. Says they're a fluke, that they should have a losing record -- that, matter of fact, they should be scratching and clawing just to stay out of last place, instead of preparing to clinch the National League West title. Well, word has gotten back to the Diamondbacks about this character, and let's just say if they came across him, they'd be liable to punch him in the hypotenuse. "Pythagoras?" said rookie center fielder Chris Young, when apprised of the verbal potshots. At age 23, Young is not that far removed from 10th-grade algebra. "You mean like the Pythagorean Theorem?" Precisely. That's the guy. Now, if you're getting confused as to what Pythagoras, a sixth-century B.C. Greek philosopher best known for inventing the theorem showing the relationship between the lengths of the sides of a triangle, has to do with the Diamondbacks, follow along closely: Several years ago, Bill James, the noted statistician and founder of the modern sabermetric movement, developed a formula showing the correlation between a team's winning percentage and its ratio of runs scored to runs allowed. Because it involved math similar to that of Pythagoras's formula, he dubbed the product the "Pythagorean winning percentage" -- which, in a nutshell, equals a team's runs squared divided by the square of its runs plus the square of its runs allowed. And because the Diamondbacks, despite being 20 games above .500 (88-68) entering Tuesday night's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, actually have been outscored by their opponents by 14 runs this season -- for reasons we will attempt to explain later -- their Pythagorean winning percentage (.487) and their actual winning percentage (.564) are at odds with each other in a way rarely seen in history. "It just shows," Young said, "you can't put this game into a math equation."