RandBall Logo

Blog

RandBall

Find breaking sports news & commentary on Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Wild and University of Minnesota Golden Gophers and high schools from Minneapolis, St. Paul, the Twin Cities metro area and Minnesota.

Nuclear Wessel: This is the end of the EPL as we know it (for now)

nuclearDana Wessel works at Go963 FM in Minneapolis and formerly worked at Enterprise Rent-A-Car under their excellent corporate structure where *they* gave *him* the tools to be his own boss.

This is it, Nuclear Warheads. The end is near.

We have reached the final match day in the greatest league in the world. It is both a sad and joyous occasion. It’s like saying goodbye to all your friends on the last day of school. You’re sad but you know you will see them again in August.

In case you are new to the Premier League, the final day of the season has all 10 matches starting at the same time. It is smart because it avoids any team getting a competitive advantage by knowing what earlier results are. Guys scoreboard watch, sure. But this at least makes it as fair as possible. In fact, it is such a good idea that MLB borrowed it last season and is doing the same thing this year.

So previewing three separate matches like I normally do is worthless so I will just let you know where you can find all 10 matches that kick off Sunday morning at 9:00am and what the remaining implications are.

Chelsea were crowned champions like 6 weeks ago and the other three Champions League spots were buttoned up already. Two of the three relegation spots are already filled so there unfortunately is very little to play for on Sunday.

That is, of course, unless you are a Newcastle or Hull City fan. Then Sunday could be a day for celebration or a day for sob-crying into your Memorial Day weekend beer.

16. Newcastle 36 points

17. Hull City 34 points

So here are the scenarios:

  • If Hull City beat Manchester United at home AND Newcastle loses or ties at home to West Ham, Newcastle is relegated

  • If Hull City lose or draw Manchester United at home, Hull City are relegated.

  • If Newcastle wins at home against West Ham, they are safe regardless of the Hull/United result.

Arsenal vs West Brom on Bravo

Aston Villa vs Burnley on Esquire

Chelsea vs Sunderland on NBC Sports Network

Crystal Palace vs Swansea City on E! (Seriously. You know you wanna watch a match on E!)

Everton vs Tottenham on CNBC

Hull City vs Manchester United on NBC

Leicester City vs Queens Park Rangers on Oxygen

Manchester City vs Southampton on MSNBC

Newcastle United vs West Ham United on USA

Stoke City vs Liverpool on SyFy

It’s a bummer there is not more to play for on the final day of the season. Being at a pub when tons of meaningful matches are happening on the final day is such an incredible experience. You keep hearing shouting and yelling from all over. I remember being at Brits three years ago when Manchester City rallied in the 90+3rd to steal the trophy from the hands of United. It was unlike anything I had ever seen.

But this was still an incredible season. It sometimes just works out that way in this format. Thanks for taking the time to read these silly posts all year. Hope you enjoyed the 2014-15 Premier League season as much as I did. Doubtful if you aren’t a Chelsea supporter.

Remember, plenty of soccer this summer. The Women’s World Cup kicks off in June. The CONCACAF Gold Cup kicks off in July. We also have the Minnesota United and MLS happening as well. Cheers.

RandBall: Fewer runs in MLB means adjusting our view of good hitting, pitching

After a dramatic drop in runs scored in major league baseball in recent season, offenses are on a slight uptick in 2015.

All the same, the overall trend remains the same: since 2000, offense is waaaaaay down in MLB — and you really only have to go back to 2009 to see a pretty drastic difference as well.

While most of us have noticed this in the games we watch, I have a feeling some of us — and I’m as guilty as anyone — haven’t yet made the adjustment when it comes to the idea of an average performance and an excellent performance.

Let’s start here: The average game had 10.28 runs in 2000 and 9.23 in 2009, but even with a slight increase this year from last year that number is only 8.39 — roughly 4.2 per team, whereas 15 years ago it was about 5.15 per team.

If you adjusted your expectations 15 years ago so that five runs was an average performance, it’s time to drop that back down to four runs begin an average performance and anything above that being what should be more than enough runs to win on most nights.

Similarly, the average ERA in 2000 was 4.76; so far this year, it’s 3.91. Here’s where I’m particularly guilty of failing to adjust my calibration and expectations — and have therefore tended to overrate pitchers like Kevin Correia (career era with the Twins: 4.49) as functional when really they are below average.

And finally, a quick look at OPS, which started to become more mainstream around 2000 — when the MLB average was .782. The average remained around .750 for most of the 2000s; last year it dipped all the way to .700, while this year it has inched back to .710.

The typical standard has been that an OPS over .800 stands out; Bill James, a stats guru, wrote in 2009 that an OPS over .900 is great, over .833 is very good and over. 766 is above-average. We probably need to readjust our thinking on that to account for the times. I’d say now that an OPS above .675 is acceptable, the 725 to .775 range is above-average, .775 to .850 is very good and anything over.850 is great.

By that measure, Brian Dozier, Trevor Plouffe and Torii Hunter all fit into the “very good” range, while Joe Mauer, at .722, is technically above the league average but is on the borderline between acceptable and above-average (at least when compared to all of baseball, though as a first baseman he is expected to hit with more power). The Twins, with a .698 OPS, are below the MLB average but are still fourth in the AL in runs scored thanks largely in part to hitting with runners in scoring position.

Local Schedule

< >
  • Twins at Chicago White Sox

    3:10pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Jacksonville at Minnesota United FC

    7pm

  • Fargo-Moorhead at Saints

    7:05pm on 105.1-FM

  • Twins at Chicago White Sox

    1:10pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Fargo-Moorhead at Saints

    5:05pm on 1220-AM

  • Boston at Twins

    1:10pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Saints at Amarillo

    7:05pm on 1220-AM

  • Boston at Twins

    7:10pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Saints at Amarillo

    11:05am on 1220-AM

  • Boston at Twins

    12:10pm on 96.3-FM

  • Saints at Amarillo

    11:05am on 1220-AM

  • Toronto at Twins

    7:10pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Saints at Laredo

    7:30pm on 1220-AM

Today's Scoreboard

< >
  • Texas

    NY Yankees

    12:05 PM

  • Seattle

    Toronto

    12:07 PM

  • NY Mets

    Pittsburgh

    3:05 PM

  • Philadelphia

    Washington

    3:05 PM

  • Houston

    Detroit

    3:08 PM

  • Milwaukee

    Atlanta

    3:10 PM

    FOX SPORTS 1

  • Minnesota

    Chicago White Sox

    3:10 PM

    FSN

  • Cincinnati

    Cleveland

    3:10 PM

  • San Francisco

    Colorado

    3:10 PM

  • Oakland

    Tampa Bay

    3:10 PM

  • LA Angels

    Boston

    6:15 PM

    FOX

  • St. Louis

    Kansas City

    6:15 PM

    FOX

  • Baltimore

    Miami

    6:15 PM

    FOX

  • San Francisco

    Colorado

    8:10 PM

  • Chicago Cubs

    Arizona

    9:10 PM

  • San Diego

    LA Dodgers

    9:10 PM

  • Anaheim

    Chicago

    7:00 PM

    NBC

  • Golden State

    Houston

    8:00 PM

    ESPN