Monday, September 8, 2008

September Slumps Nothing New For World Series Winners

The Cubs have been slumping the last 10 days or so, in case you haven't heard.  Most people are freaking out (referencing 1969 in some way, etc.) while others are just mildly upset (I refuse to watch any sports coverage for fear of them mentioning the Cubs slump).  Maybe we should relax a bit though.  Every team that has won a World Series in the last 8 years has had some sort of September swoon.  Bleed Cubbie Blue broke it down:

What we wonder, then, is how recent championship teams have fared. Have they gone through stretches like this? Some of you have posted this in the comments, but I thought I'd consolidate all the information here, to console and bring optimism back.

The answer to the question above is decidedly, yes. Here's how each of the last eight World Series winners did down the stretch:

2007 Red Sox: Had a 7-game lead on September 4. Then, they lost 8 of 12 and saw their lead drop to one game on September 19. Finished the season 6-3 to win the AL East by two games and had an 11-3 record in the postseason.

2006 Cardinals: Had a 7-game lead on September 19. Then, they lost 7 in a row and 8 of 9 to see the lead drop to a half game with three games left. Won two of the three and clinched on the season's last day even though they lost. Had an 11-5 record in the postseason.

2005 White Sox: Had a 9-game lead on September 7. Then, they lost 10 of 14, including two in extra innings; the lead dropped to 1.5 games on September 22 (and would have gone to 0.5 games if Grady Sizemore hadn't lost a ball in the sun vs. the Royals). After that, won 8 of their last 10 regular season games and went 11-1 in the postseason.

2004 Red Sox: Went 7-8 between September 9 and 24, but still won the wild card (by five games) and went 11-3 in the postseason.

2003 Marlins: Not to be discussed in polite company.

2002 Angels: Lost 8 of their last 13 regular season games, but won the wild card by six games and went 11-5 in the postseason.

2001 Diamondbacks: Went 10-11 in September and saw a 4.5 game lead dwindle to 1.5 games; won four of their last six regular season games and went 11-6 in the postseason.

2000 Yankees: Stumbled into the postseason by losing six in a row, winning two, then losing their final seven regular season games (overall, losing 13 out of their last 15!) and seeing a 9 game lead on September 13 shrink to 2.5 at season's end, winning the AL East only because the Red Sox couldn't play better than .500 ball in September; had a mediocre 87-74 record (the worst of any of the 2000 postseason entrants) but went 11-5 in the postseason.

So I guess there's a precedent for this.  This obviously does not mean that the Cubs will necessarily be fine, they do need to start playing better.  If anything this shows that when a team maintains such a high level of play for so long, no matter how good they are, they will eventually need to relax a bit.  Relaxing may even end up being good; the last 7 teams to win the World Series did it and came through alright.


1 comment:

Top Ten Nominee said...

Does this help u sleep at night?

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