I have seen the same mistake crop up lately in a number of places, including a Bill Madden column, so I just wanted to nip it in the bud. Madden suggested that if the Yankees had just taken 4 of the games against Boston, they would be up 6.5 rather than 2.5 games. While this sounds intuitive (4 more wins + 4 Sox losses= 4 games in standings), it greatly understates the truth. In actuallity, the Yankees would lead Boston by 10.5 games!!
How does this work? Well, the key is identifying the error. The mistake is that Madden is adding the 4 games without first removing them from the current standings, thus double counting them. To properly make this calculation, first you need to remove the actual results from the teams records. You do so by subtracting 4 wins from the Red Sox and 4 losses from the Yankees. Thus, had the games never been played, the Yankees would be up 6.5.… Click here to read the rest