What you are calling "luck" at a moment in games could in fact be exactly what you say but with a different interpretation. Enough pitchers make the right pitch enough times, and the team wins game. Enough players make the right play enough times, and the team wins games. "But," you say, "it was just good fortune that they made those plays at those times. They would not have made them yesterday, and they won't make them tomorrow. It was lucky that things came together so often at the right time." Unusual, maybe. Flies in the face of your numbers. You're still doing baseball as if it were a parlor game. At the end of the season, given your methodology, and with no W-L record, where would you guess the O's to have finished? Told where ( if they don't collapse ) you'd have to rummage through your "data" again, and say, "Well, they must have been very lucky." You could say that without having seen a single game.
That's, in effect, what you're still doing.
I'd rather give the players and the manager credit for doing what they had to do much more
( much more ) often than not. And, yes, with a little bit of luck. I've seen this happen on baseball fields. It can and does happen.
That's a good team. It may not continue to do it this year. It may never do it again. But to withhold the label "good team" from the current version and standing of the Orioles is just plain silly. Even perverse.
I'm not saying that a pitcher making the right pitch or a player making the right play is luck. That is skill, or heart, or clutch, or whatever you want to call it. That is not something that is only present in one run games. That is something that is present in most games for players and teams that possess those attributes. These attributes do not just magically appear in one run games.
Do these players/teams not have the skill or those intangibles in games that are decided by 3+ runs? If they don't, then are they really a good team? If they do, then why are they losing so many games decided by 3+ runs?
Here are some of the things that I am referring to as luck that can affect the outcome of a game. These things don't have to occur in the 9th inning. It might be something that happened in the 1st inning:
- a bad strike or ball call How many ways can that affect a game? It might be something as obvious as the difference in a run or runs being scored, or something less obvious like causing a pitcher to make extra pitches, thereby not allowing him to get as deep in the game
- a fly ball that bounces over the fence for a ground rule double versus hitting the top of the fence and staying in play
- a ball that is smoked but is right at a defender for an out versus a check swing grounder that rolls 30 ft for a hit
- fan interference
- a team that has 10 hits strung out throughout the game and scores 0 runs versus a team that has 2 hits the entire game but the hits happen to be in the same inning an result in a run
- a pitcher making a great pitch and the batter sticking his bat out and getting a bloop hit
The list goes on.
Now, how often is it that you go through an entire ball game without one of those lucky or random events occurring?
In one run games, things like this are huge. So huge, that the outcome of the game is attributed to luck or randomness more than any skill or lack thereof. It's often said that if you win a game by 3+ runs, it's skill. If you win by 1 or 2 runs, it's luck.