Streak, Interrupted

Sometime streaks in baseball are very brief, and quickly interrupted

Mediocrity comes in many forms.  Last year, the Braves kinda sorta set a record for the most games alternating wins and losses.  (Technically, they didn’t set the record because a suspended game in the middle, when completed, was counted as having occurred on the day the game started.) 

But alternating wins and losses is only one kind of mediocrity.  A somewhat more relaxed version is the failure to win or lose three in a row.  And it is more relaxed.  A team that alternates win as and losses for a whole season is never more than a game from 0.500.  But it would be technically possible to win two out of every three for a whole season and win (or lose) 107 games.  But people like to talk about momentum. And the way they talk about it is by looking at streaks.  So if you never win three in a row, or lose three in a row, it’s hard to argue that momentum exists.

And while it seems like going a month without winning or losing three in a row would be common, it isn’t.  The probability of a 0.500 team going 25 games without a three game streak is less than 1 percent.  And the probability for teams either better or worse than 0.500 teams is even lower.  (I spent three days writing and analyzing models of streakiness to come to this conclusion, and it’s the only math fact I’m going to share with you today.  But I’ve got the details if anybody wants them.)

But with 30 teams and a six month season, that means there ought to be one or two teams every year that manage a streak-free month.  And there are.  But in a hundred years of playing, only one team has managed to start the season with 36 games without a streak: the 1959 Chicago Cubs, an otherwise forgettable 74-80-1 team.

And that record is now broken.  The Braves will have a streak of at least 38 games without a three game streak (at least 40 if they win today) and they are within shouting distance of the alltime record: the 2015 Seattle Mariners went for close to two months (46 games) from June 6th to July 29th without a three game streak.  They finished 76-86.  Something to aspire to.

Author: JonathanF

Alive since 1956. Braves fan since 1966. The first ten years were pretty much wasted. Exiled to Yankees/Mets territory in 1974 --- bearable only with TBS followed by MLB.TV.

16 thoughts on “Streak, Interrupted”

  1. I think I’ve seen Soler do that before.

    Morton’s pitched really well, but that was a hanger.

  2. O’Flaherty on 755 Is Real was talking about how hitters in the 9th are simply willing to do more to keep the game alive. They’ll choke up, they’ll hit the other way, etc. That’s really bad for a pitcher like Will Smith who’s throwing curveball/slider so much. And then listening to Brian Jordan on the broadcast talk about Smith not leading with his fastball, and it makes me think that Smith’s approach is all wrong to be pitching in high leverage. It’s crazy to think that Smith piled up all those strike outs and led the league in WPA one year.

  3. Watching tonight’s game I spent a fair bit of time throughout the evening toing and froing, also able to catch as much of Freddie as I could, against the Phils. I had it in mind, as both games progressed, to compare the first baseman. I confess to being antsy about what I would find, in advance.

    LA won the game 4-0 I believe. Freddie drove in 2 0f those runs in his first at bat ( which means I guess he was not leading off tonight.) Hard hit, solid ground ball single over second base bag, scoring both runners. Throughout his at bats every hit was solid it seemed. He made just one out I think and even that was so FF, powerful, solid line drive caught by an outfielder because it was straight at him. Later, with the score still only 2-0, he walked with one out and turned his single that followed into an aggressive extra base from which he trotted home on the subsequent SF. By this stage in the game he had driven in the first 2 runs and scored the third, by virtue of that extra base. I didn’t see the closing innings, they would have paled in comparison to what I had come for and duly noted, sadly. No pleasure here in this task, as these two games played out.

    Frankly, as a comparison, Olson tonight was pretty awful. Everything, it seemed, was at a different level.

    CONTACT…the noise, Solid hard ground balls -the shape of the parabola wrote by the ball that was driven in the air. No pop ups.
    CONTACT when it mattered(RBI)
    SPEED, for heavens sake. He took a big extra base.
    DEFENSE AT FIRST GOOD HANDS Olson shivers you sometimes. Too often.
    SMILING, what a difference it makes. He is clearly unhappy, we must somehow cheer him up.

    That’ll do. I have no solutions and neither do you. It’s very simple really. We are in this for umpteen years, it must be turned around in the same number of weeks or he will drag us all down financially. We will not win another Division Championship until we do.

  4. @9

    Surely not. When the regular season was done he took his WPA whatever and effectively burnished it, then repeated it all in the post season. 7 for 7 eh, World Champions. What is it with you guys who can’t stand him being as great as he was? He needs your support just like he needed it back then – and never got.

    Piling on, it’s always ugly.

  5. @12 His pitch mix was different during the playoffs, according to Jordan. He was throwing more four seamers in the playoffs, he said. He’s got a 6.09 FIP, blazon.

  6. @ 13

    You’re more of a numbers man than I am so I’ll take that as read.

    He did a fine job last night though with our other guys beat up, you would agree?

  7. Jorge Soler
    an infectious smile, a withering altitude, the upper air
    post World Series
    there must be a few theories
    retention, did we try, did we not dare?

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