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LazyEyeLou
08-16-10, 11:00 AM
Did a little research this morning, and am gonna paste some blog content here because I thought you folks would be interested...we'll pick up the post in the middle...

As awesome as it would be to play professional sports for a living, the month of August seems like a rough time to be a major leaguer. The excitement of the early season has worn off, and the all-star break is in the rearview mirror, but it's too soon to think about the playoffs. The heat can be intolerable, injuries start to stack up, and it must be a struggle to avoid mental and physical fatigue. For a team like the Yankees, with a good shot at the postseason, maybe stasis isn't so bad. Pettitte is out, the bats are hibernating, and they've had to play in some truly hot locations, particularly Arlington, Texas. Is it reasonable to be happy with what appears to be a muted effort? Can a Yankee fan be satisfied by an approach that looks an awful lot like treading water?

Let's peek at the numbers. First, the standings. The Yanks are 6-8 in August. When the month began, here's how the AL East looked, with standings and games back (apologies for the crap formatting):

August 1

NYY -
TBR 1
BOS 6.5
TOR 12.5
BAL 34.5

And here's how they stand today:

August 16

NYY -
TBR 1
BOS 6
TOR 10
BAL 31.5

In other words, nothing significant has changed. Toronto gained some ground, but Tampa and Boston were treading water, too. And when you look at those teams, you realize that they've been dealing with a lot of the same issues facing the Yanks. Niemann is out for Tampa, Boston's entire staff and bullpen have been struggling, and neither team could take advantage of the Yankee lapse. In August, nobody has it easy.

I sorted the standings by month, and it turns out Boston has allowed 67 runs this month, the most of any AL team besides Detroit. Like the Yanks, their run differential is only +1. The Rays are faring slightly better at +6, but a poor road record has consigned them to 7-7 on the month.

In fact, only three teams in the league have managed a record more than one game over .500 thus far in August. They are: Baltimore (9-5), Toronto (8-5), and Minnesota (10-4). Only the Twins really had anything to gain.

Then I got to wondering...is it possibly smart to take it easy in August? Not that any team is sandbagging, but could limited energy output (signified by losses, in this hypothesis) benefit a team in October? Is it unwise to peak in the dog days of summer? Here are the August records of every World Series team for the past few years:

2009

Yankees: 21-7*^
Philadelphia: 16-11*

2008

Tampa Bay: 21-7*^
Philadelphia: 16-13

2007

Boston: 16-13
Colorado: 15-14

2006

Detroit: 13-16
St. Louis: 13-15

2005

Chicago White Sox: 12-16
Houston Astros: 13-14

2004

Boston: 21-7*^
St. Louis: 21-7*^

2003

New York: 17-12
Florida: 14-14

2002

Los Angeles: 18-11*
San Francisco: 18-10*

That's as far back as ESPN will let me go. Unfortunately, these numbers don't show very much. Of the 16 teams listed, the ones with asterisks are those whose August records surpassed their season winning percentage. In other words, 9 out of 16 teams (56%) underperformed in August, based on their own season standards. But obviously, underperforming is fairly subjective. In 2003, the Yankees went 17-12, which is by no means a bad month. It just happened to pale in comparison to the rest of their season. Seven of the 16 teams had what we'll call 'exceptional' August runs, even if it fell below their season standard. Six teams were mediocre to poor- either one game over .500 or below. The last three were modestly successful.

You'll also notice the carrots next to certain teams. That ^ signifies that they had their league's best record in the month of August. It's only happened with four of the last 16 World Series teams, and only twice for the eventual champion. Conversely, there have been 3 World Series champions whose August record was below .500.

Dishonest but Statistically True Conclusion*: You're 150% more likely to win the World Series if your August record is below .500 than if you have the best record in your league!

*Since 2002

Basically, you can't predict a team's future based on August, either positively or negatively (unless you want to say that the team with the best August record in their league has a 25% chance of making the Fall Classic). And this post has been a long, convoluted way of saying that even though current conditions and results haven't been favorable to the Yanks, I'm not worried.

mjdlight
08-16-10, 11:05 AM
Dishonest but Statistically True Conclusion*: You're 150% more likely to win the World Series if you're August record is below .500 than if you have the best record in your league!

*Since 2002

An Eric Van type conclusion ;), but your overall point is spot on. Nice work.

NYYDragoon
08-16-10, 11:11 AM
Dishonest but Statistically True Conclusion*: You're 150% more likely to win the World Series if *you're* August record is below .500 than if you have the best record in your league!

Actually, this is a conclusion based on misunderstanding causality. Also, you made a typo.

At any rate, the gist of your post is too positive and NYYFans doesn't want to hear it. This team sucks, has no heart, isn't championship calibre, needs Ajax, etc etc etc.

LazyEyeLou
08-16-10, 11:17 AM
Actually, this is a conclusion based on misunderstanding causality. Also, you made a typo.

At any rate, the gist of your post is too positive and NYYFans doesn't want to hear it. This team sucks, has no heart, isn't championship calibre, needs Ajax, etc etc etc.

Oh Jesus that typo is embarrassing. That ends a long your/you're streak for me. Sad.

Also, since I understand causality, it's not a misunderstanding, just dishonest.

NYYDragoon
08-16-10, 12:05 PM
Also, since I understand causality, it's not a misunderstanding, just dishonest.The way you worded it, it's not even statistically true though.

yankee82093
08-16-10, 12:11 PM
Did a little research this morning, and am gonna paste some blog content here because I thought you folks would be interested...we'll pick up the post in the middle...

As awesome as it would be to play professional sports for a living, the month of August seems like a rough time to be a major leaguer. The excitement of the early season has worn off, and the all-star break is in the rearview mirror, but it's too soon to think about the playoffs. The heat can be intolerable, injuries start to stack up, and it must be a struggle to avoid mental and physical fatigue. For a team like the Yankees, with a good shot at the postseason, maybe stasis isn't so bad. Pettitte is out, the bats are hibernating, and they've had to play in some truly hot locations, particularly Arlington, Texas. Is it reasonable to be happy with what appears to be a muted effort? Can a Yankee fan be satisfied by an approach that looks an awful lot like treading water?

Let's peek at the numbers. First, the standings. The Yanks are 6-8 in August. When the month began, here's how the AL East looked, with standings and games back (apologies for the crap formatting):

August 1

NYY -
TBR 1
BOS 6.5
TOR 12.5
BAL 34.5

And here's how they stand today:

August 16

NYY -
TBR 1
BOS 6
TOR 10
BAL 31.5

In other words, nothing significant has changed. Toronto gained some ground, but Tampa and Boston were treading water, too. And when you look at those teams, you realize that they've been dealing with a lot of the same issues facing the Yanks. Niemann is out for Tampa, Boston's entire staff and bullpen have been struggling, and neither team could take advantage of the Yankee lapse. In August, nobody has it easy.

I sorted the standings by month, and it turns out Boston has allowed 67 runs this month, the most of any AL team besides Detroit. Like the Yanks, their run differential is only +1. The Rays are faring slightly better at +6, but a poor road record has consigned them to 7-7 on the month.

In fact, only three teams in the league have managed a record more than one game over .500 thus far in August. They are: Baltimore (9-5), Toronto (8-5), and Minnesota (10-4). Only the Twins really had anything to gain.

Then I got to wondering...is it possibly smart to take it easy in August? Not that any team is sandbagging, but could limited energy output (signified by losses, in this hypothesis) benefit a team in October? Is it unwise to peak in the dog days of summer? Here are the August records of every World Series team for the past few years:

2009

Yankees: 21-7*^
Philadelphia: 16-11*

2008

Tampa Bay: 21-7*^
Philadelphia: 16-13

2007

Boston: 16-13
Colorado: 15-14

2006

Detroit: 13-16
St. Louis: 13-15

2005

Chicago White Sox: 12-16
Houston Astros: 13-14

2004

Boston: 21-7*^
St. Louis: 21-7*^

2003

New York: 17-12
Florida: 14-14

2002

Los Angeles: 18-11*
San Francisco: 18-10*

That's as far back as ESPN will let me go. Unfortunately, these numbers don't show very much. Of the 16 teams listed, the ones with asterisks are those whose August records surpassed their season winning percentage. In other words, 9 out of 16 teams (56%) underperformed in August, based on their own season standards. But obviously, underperforming is fairly subjective. In 2003, the Yankees went 17-12, which is by no means a bad month. It just happened to pale in comparison to the rest of their season. Seven of the 16 teams had what we'll call 'exceptional' August runs, even if it fell below their season standard. Six teams were mediocre to poor- either one game over .500 or below. The last three were modestly successful.

You'll also notice the carrots next to certain teams. That ^ signifies that they had their league's best record in the month of August. It's only happened with four of the last 16 World Series teams, and only twice for the eventual champion. Conversely, there have been 3 World Series champions whose August record was below .500.

Dishonest but Statistically True Conclusion*: You're 150% more likely to win the World Series if your August record is below .500 than if you have the best record in your league!

*Since 2002

Basically, you can't predict a team's future based on August, either positively or negatively (unless you want to say that the team with the best August record in their league has a 25% chance of making the Fall Classic). And this post has been a long, convoluted way of saying that even though current conditions and results haven't been favorable to the Yanks, I'm not worried.

This is just selection bias. Teams that struggle in August need to have a hotstreak to get into the postseason. It doesn't mean that struggling in August is in anyway a good thing. It's very much a bad thing.

TheYankee
08-16-10, 12:40 PM
Oh Jesus that typo is embarrassing. That ends a long your/you're streak for me. Sad.

Also, since I understand causality, it's not a misunderstanding, just dishonest.Don't worry. I do it at least once a day, and AJ calls me out for it every time. Jerk.

BronxYanks45
08-16-10, 12:48 PM
funny how not much has changed from Aug 1 to now

GimeMoMuny
08-16-10, 01:04 PM
First point; cool.

Second point; I'm not into.

LazyEyeLou
08-16-10, 01:20 PM
This is just selection bias. Teams that struggle in August need to have a hotstreak to get into the postseason. It doesn't mean that struggling in August is in anyway a good thing. It's very much a bad thing.

Struggling any time is not a good thing, but the point of this is that struggling in August is not a cause for panic. As you can see, it's fairly common for a team to hover around .500 or slightly below during August and still make the World Series. Yes, some of them had to make September runs, but some of them didn't. I bet if you looked at September records (which I'll probably do tomorrow), you'll find that it's a much better indicator of success.

LazyEyeLou
08-16-10, 01:24 PM
Also, just for the hell of it: if the Yanks went 22-23 the rest of the season, just under .500, the Red Sox would have to go 27-18 to finish in a tie with us.

That's a .600 winning %, which is better than they've done all year.

BroadwayBomber55
08-16-10, 01:42 PM
Struggling any time is not a good thing, but the point of this is that struggling in August is not a cause for panic. As you can see, it's fairly common for a team to hover around .500 or slightly below during August and still make the World Series. Yes, some of them had to make September runs, but some of them didn't. I bet if you looked at September records (which I'll probably do tomorrow), you'll find that it's a much better indicator of success.
The 2000 Yankees championship is one example that they had a bizarre stumbling into the playoffs, but refresh themselves to win the World Series.

That Yankee team went 5-16 in the final 21 games and had a 8-game lead on the Red Sox in the AL East and won by 2.5 games.

NYYDragoon
08-16-10, 02:03 PM
Struggling any time is not a good thing, but the point of this is that struggling in August is not a cause for panic.I repeat: NYYFans doesn't want to hear this, dammit. We're DOOOOOOOOOOMED!

teknetic
08-16-10, 02:13 PM
The resident bridge jumpers on this board all but handed Tampa the division crown, whilst ignoring the fact that they actually lost more games than they won in June.

People are dumb, news at 11.

CanoForPresident
08-16-10, 02:22 PM
The resident bridge jumpers on this board all but handed Tampa the division crown, whilst ignoring the fact that they actually lost more games than they won in June.

People are dumb, news at 11.

No its because they're playing bad right now and are bound to get better.

The Yankees are old and are going to miss the playoffs.

AUSTIN JACKSON!!!!1111!!!!

theDurk
08-16-10, 02:34 PM
The important message is that Baltimore has gained 3 games over two weeks or a pace of 6 games a month. If the season were only four months longer, they would take the lead. The Showalter juggernaut is statistically unstoppable, especially if you believe August numbers mean more than the season-to-date.

I don't, and that applies to any other two-week stretch.

__starr69
08-16-10, 02:36 PM
Oh no! You mean to tell me that we lost 2.5 games in the standings to Toronto and 3 to Baltimore. We're Doomed!

montrealer
08-16-10, 03:51 PM
Just like every other team we`re in a wee bit of a funk.......rather it happen in mid August than at season`s end.

Maynerd
08-16-10, 04:35 PM
Just like every other team we`re in a wee bit of a funk.......rather it happen in mid August than at season`s end.Or just immediately AFTER the season's end.

BroadwayBomber55
08-16-10, 09:11 PM
I repeat: NYYFans doesn't want to hear this, dammit. We're DOOOOOOOOOOMED!
Well, I'll doom myself then. WE'RE DOOMED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE ALL ARE DOOMED!!!!!!!!!!