Tom Verducci takes on “debunking the biggest myths of MLB’s wild-card era.” Using stats, Tom offers that, come October, the team with the better record is not the favorite, “hot” teams (the ones that play well down the stretch) are not the ones to fear in the postseason, and that the team that won the season series has no edge over its opponent.
Last week, I suggested that, when you crawl into the post-season, you’re going to need something to restart your engine for the big race. Back in 2003, after the World Series, Paul O’Neill touched on this when he said that “There’s one game throughout the series that seems to just change everything.”
What I would like to see, as a follow-up to Verducci’s study, is an examination of how many times where the team with the better record, or the hotter team, etc., did not win was there was some “turning point” (like using Jeff Weaver in Game 4 of the 2003 World Series) that can be found to explain why the “lesser” team took the series.
Maybe there’s nothing here – but, then again, maybe there is?
Or, maybe it’s time to look back to Buster Olney’s post-season Productive Out study – and update that through 2006? Perhaps that’s the reason why teams are able to beat others in October? Perhaps that’s where making contact comes into play?
For me, that’s what it comes down to in October – not who’s hot or who has the best record, etc. – the team who does not deliver in the clutch, who makes unproductive outs, and/or who makes unwise decisions in a pivotal games, will be the team that does not win.
It will be interesting to come back to this notion, after this October, and compare how the Yankees did in these areas compared to their overall team results in each series.