FG on Fox: The Myth of Second Half Momentum

Back at the end of July, there was one overarching narrative: the Tigers and A’s engaging in an arms race to try and get an advantage for their inevitable October match-up. On the day the Tigers acquired David Price and the A’s acquired Jon Lester, Oakland had the best record in baseball, while Detroit had a comfortable four game lead in the AL Central; since adding their respective aces, both have surrounded their divisional leads, with the A’s falling so far behind the Angels that their chances of winning the AL West now stand a fraction of one percent.

Toss in the quickly fading Milwaukee Brewers — 60-49 on July 31st, 14-22 since — and we have three strong first half contenders limping to the finish line. Like the A’s, the Brewers should basically punt any hopes they still hold about a division title, and are now hoping entirely for a surge that will put them back in the Wild Card race. But even if the A’s, Tigers, and Brewers manage to right their ships, should they really be optimistic about their chances in October? After all, they’ve spent the better part of the last few months playing lousy baseball, and at some point, doesn’t a second half slump become an indicator of underlying problems that would derail a playoff run even if the team managed to get to the postseason?

In a word: no.

Read the rest on Just a Bit Outside.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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Rich Mahogany
9 years ago

The lazy sportswriter explanation for the A’s poor play has been that trading Cespedes annihilated team chemistry, leaving the team aimless and undesiring of victory.