The Mockingbird

Finally Five

with 2 comments

So the Blue Jays finally made it to a five game winning streak, their first in 182 games (despite what the Star thinks). They also have a chance for their first 6 game winning streak in 555 games, and that looks possible considering they have won 5 of their last 6 games with Friday’s starter, Josh Towers, on the mound. And then comes the Doc, so who knows where this insanity will end…

Continuing my recent trend of reducing the intricacies and beauty of baseball to a few not-entirely representative columns of data, I decided to calculate the probability of either of these two droughts occuring. If you really want to put yourself to sleep with the math, be my guest. The results are:

Probability of a team with our record not winning 5 games over a 182 game period: 3%

Probability of a team with our record not winning 6 games over a 555 game period: 1.4%

There are a couple of baseball-ignorant assumptions made for these calculations. Although we have a .506 record since the last 5-game winning streak, of course that doesn’t mean we had that chance to win every game. Teams go hot and cold, home and away, face winning and weaker opponents. But those are actually more likely to group wins and losses together.

The real streak-breaker is having a terrible 5th starter. Although the 2006 Josh Towers was not in the rotation for the 5-win drought (the last time we won 5 in a row was the week we dropped him from the rotation), the back end of our rotation has been a black hole for a while now (11-32 last season). Having really good and rather bad starters instead of constant mediocrity will make it harder to put up streaks – e.g. if all your starters are .500, your chance of winning the next 5 games is about 5%. Having the same record but with a 75% starter and a 25% starter lowers your chances to 2%.

Unfortunately, none of this means that we are any more likely to win tomorrow due to the “law of averages.” As much as it pains me to reject any assistance, however mythical, to the Jays continuing to win games. Heck, if the Easter Bunny wants to help keep them on a roll, I say we pencil him in at rover…

Written by halejon

July 26, 2007 at 7:13 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Yesterday we published a sabrmetrics video podcast: “The Future of Baseball” http://tinyurl.com/6zft9m

    timwasher

    November 7, 2008 at 9:17 pm


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