Wednesday, August 01, 2012

MLB Teams in July: The Hot, the Cold, and the Inconsistent

This past month in Major League Baseball, several teams distinguished themselves by playing either really well or really poorly. I'm sure there have been similar months in MLB history, but I can't remember any off the top of my head.

Four teams that were hot in July were the:
  • Oakland A's (19-5 for the month, including a 16-of-18 winning stretch that harked back 10 years to the "Moneyball" A's); 
  • Cincinnati Reds (19-7, including a 10-game winning streak over which longtime Reds announcer Marty Brennaman has promised to shave his head); 
  • Detroit Tigers (16-10, which included a 13-of-15 winning stretch, although the team lost 6 of its final 8 games of the month); and 
  • Pittsburgh Pirates (17-9). Pittsburgh's July play is noteworthy in that it has helped lift the Pirates to a current 60-44 record, as they seek to end a streak of 19 consecutive losing (i.e., sub-.500) seasons. The Pirates must win at least 22 of their final 58 games to ensure a winning record.
The following chart shows how these four teams fared on each of July's 31 days (there were actually only 27 days of play, due to the All-Star Break; days without games are indicated with a slash). You may click on the graphics to enlarge them.

Three teams, for lack of a better term, stunk it up in July:
  • The Houston Astros (3-24), who are in the midst of a "fire sale" to rebuild for the future;
  • New York Mets (7-18), whose 4-14 post-All Star Game stretch sunk a once-promising season; and
  • Colorado Rockies (7-17, including 4-12 after the break).

Finally, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, who are battling for first place in the National League West, each exhibited streakiness in July. Whenever one of these teams won a few games in a row, it would follow-up by losing a few straight.

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