The Mets got off to a surprisingly good start in the first half of the season, sitting at 46-40 (.535) at the All-Star Break. Some suggested they were “playing over their heads”. Since then, they have dropped 11 of 12 (.083), including today’s 5-2 loss to the Nationals.
Of course, many teams can go through bad two week stretches, and those stretches could be due to a particularly tough part of the schedule (as the Mets have had, with six games against Washington, three against the Dodgers and three against the Braves). Furthermore, the All-Star Break is an arbitrary endpoint. The Mets had won seven of the 12 games immediately preceding the break, so one could say they’ve won eight of their last 24 games. Still not too wonderful, but did four days off change the level of play of the team to this extent? But such is the nature of arbitrary endpoints.
Sometimes there is a clear delineation in a team’s season, from the purely statistical perspective of wins and losses. The All-Star Break is a convenient “juncture” for examination, rightly or wrongly. Let’s see which teams, from 1986-2011, have had the worst “second half” to their season:
Its easy to drop .200 or so points in winning percentage when you are “starting out” at or over .500. Every one of the 13 teams that fell by .175 or more points after the break had played at least .500 ball prior to it. On the flip side, 13 of the 15 teams that gained .175 points after the break had been playing under .500 before it. (Can you say regression to the mean?)