(Ed: Occasionally, we like to feature contributions from you, the Loyal Citizens of Redleg Nation. Today, we bring you another post from Lawrence Wheat, known as “LWBlogger” in the comments; it’s an update of a post from earlier this season.)

You might recall that earlier this season, back in June, I had an article published here at Redleg Nation that shed some light on what was sometimes perceived as the Reds’ “feast or famine” offense. In that article, I determined that “feasting” wasn’t a bad thing and offensive explosions led to winning. However, scoring 2 runs or less often leads to exceptionally low winning percentages league-wide (obviously). Therefore, for that study I decided to focus on those low-scoring, “famine” games. My earlier study looked at the 2011 season, 2012 season, and games played through May 22nd in 2013.

Rather than rehash that study, I’ll just refresh our memories on how the NL stood back on 5/22 as far as these “famine” games were concerned. The NL teams, their number of “famine” games, along with their respective records in those games early this season:

Team: games (record in those games) – as of 5/22/13

Giants: 13 (4-9)
Cardinals: 13 (3-10)
Cubs: 13 (2-11)
Mets: 13 (2-11)
Braves: 13 (1-12)
Diamondbacks: 14 (4-10)
Brewers: 14 (0-14)
REDS : 15 (3-12)
Rockies: 15 (2-13)
Pirates: 16 (3-13)
Dodgers: 17 (3-14)
Phillies: 18 (2-16)
Padres: 19 (5-14)
Nationals: 24 (4-20)
Marlins: 29 (5-24)

So we see that the Reds were right about in the middle of the pack in these “famine” games, sitting with the 8th fewest (and 8th most!) at that time.

Since it’s the end of the Reds season and since I didn’t have many other baseball-related activities to keep me out of trouble, I decided it would be good to revisit that early study and see how the Reds stacked up with the rest of the NL. After some digging around on Baseball-Reference; I came up with the totals and ordered the teams from fewest to most “famine” games. After the “long 162”, here is what the NL teams looked like as well as their respective records in “famine” games for 2013:

Team: games (record in those games) – 2013 Regular Season Final

St. Louis: 47 (6-41)
Atlanta: 53 (12-41)
Arizona: 53 (8-45)
Milwaukee: 53 (7-46)
REDS: 54 (10-44)
Pittsburgh: 56 (12-44)
Colorado: 56 (7-49)
Philadelphia: 56 (6-50)
Los Angeles: 57 (14-43)
New York: 59 (9-50)
Chicago: 59 (5-54)
San Francisco: 64 (11-53)
Washington: 65 (8-57)
San Diego: 70 (13-57)
Miami: 76 (13-63)

I predicted in my initial study that the Reds’ “famine” game totals would level off due to the small sample used in my earlier study. My idea at the time was that the Reds had a pretty good offense and that they would do better than having the 8th fewest “famine” games by the end of the season. I felt pretty good about the prediction up until the last couple months of the season where it felt like the Reds had a bunch of these low-scoring affairs. I was worried that when I revisited my study, the Reds would actually be worse than 8th on the list.

While the Reds certainly had their fair share of “famine” games, the outcome wasn’t as bad as I had feared. While my prediction that they’d significantly improve wasn’t quite true, they did in fact improve when it came to avoiding “famine” games; at least, with respect to how the rest of the NL scored their runs. Here at the end of the season, we find the Reds are right at the edge of the top third in the NL, having had the 5th fewest “famine” games.

The initial conclusion then is that while they didn’t improve as much as I thought they would in this area, they did improve, and in fact, were not really more prone to “famine” games than most of the other teams in the NL. Note that Pittsburgh and LA, both playoff teams, played more “famine” games; while playoff teams the Cardinals and the Braves, played fewer. The Reds were right in the middle of the playoff teams in this area. I find myself a little amazed at the Cardinals’ ability to avoid those “famine” games however. The Cards played 6 fewer “famine” games than the 2nd best team on the list (Atlanta). To put that in some perspective, slots 2 and 11 on the list are separated by an equal 6 games

I decided to do a little more digging because when the study was first published on Redleg Nation, one of the recurring comments was that I had set the floor too low for what constitutes a “famine” game. Therefore, this time I decided to also look at how many times NL teams scored 3 runs or less. Looking at that, I was somewhat surprised to see the Reds actually looking quite a bit better than they did in the 2-run chart above. The chart below reflects games where NL teams’ offenses scored 3 runs or less, and their respective records in those games this season:

Team: games (record in those games) – 2013 Regular Season final (3 runs or less)

St. Louis: 65 (14-51)
REDS: 72 (19-53)
Milwaukee: 73 (13-60)
Pittsburgh: 76 (25-51)
Colorado: 76 (12-64)
Atlanta: 78 (25-53)
Arizona: 78 (22-56)
Chicago: 82 (17-65)
New York: 83 (18-65)
Los Angeles: 85 (28-57)
Washington: 85 (18-67)
San Diego: 86 (21-65)
Philadelphia: 86 (19-67)
San Francisco: 89 (20-69)
Miami: 103 (22-81)

What this tells us is even after another somewhat disappointing season and early playoff exit, the Reds offense overall, didn’t look particularly inconsistent compared to the other NL teams. They were top third in avoiding games scoring 2 runs or less and actually had very few games scoring 3 or fewer runs, relative to the rest of the NL. Does this mean that the approach doesn’t need to change or that this team didn’t come up short in many areas? No, but it does indicate that the Reds’ offense wasn’t quite as feeble as it seemed sometimes this year. There is work to do offensively but it doesn’t appear that inconsistency is the primary issue.

Thoughts Nation?