Friday, July 4, 2014

More on the Giants - Is It Luck?

Yesterday, I wrote that the San Francisco Giants' 5-16 swoon (now 5-17) is pretty grim, as no San Francisco team to have had a record that poor over 21 games has ever finished the season with a winning record. Later in the day, Jonah Keri, writing at FiveThirtyEight, delved into the reason for the team's abrupt turn of fortune, from the best in the majors to the worst. The whole article's here. His conclusion: It's a matter of "cluster luck." Early in the season, the team's batters were bunching their hits together and the pitchers scattering them throughout the game, resulting in more runs scored and fewer allowed than you'd expect. Of late, it's gone the other way. Or, as Keri puts it:
Whatever luck the Giants had earlier in the season, these latest numbers show that their good fortune has almost completely evaporated.
Keri's more optimistic than I (I wrote, "Can the Giants shake off their slump and hold off the Dodgers? History says they won't.") about the Giants going forward, so you Giants fans (and Dodgers haters) who didn't like my conclusion should feel better about his:
The Giants are a talented team, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them contend for the NL West title, and maybe even make a run at the World Series. They have a young ace in Madison Bumgarner, Tim Hudson enjoying a late-career revival, Tim Lincecum suddenly pitching masterfully, All-Stars Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval heating up after lousy starts, excellent first baseman Brandon Belt due back soon after a long stint on the disabled list, and a general manager who’s made lots of aggressive trades in his 18 years at the helm. The cluster luck regression has come, yet they’re still hanging onto first place. 

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