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Greg Hibbard

AL teams with similar 33 game starts

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within one game of 11-22 (10-23, 11-22 or 12-21)

 

1996 Boston Red Sox - 12-21, finished 85-77, third place AL East (11th highest payroll)

1996 Detroit Tigers - 10-23, finished 53-108, last place AL Central (25th highest payroll)

1998 Detroit Tigers - 10-23, finished 65-97, last place AL Central (24th highest payroll)

1999 Baltimore Orioles - 12-21, finished 78-84, 4th place AL East (8th highest payroll)

1999 Minnesota Twins - 12-21, finished 63-99, last place AL Central (28th highest payroll)

2000 Tampa Bay Devil Rays - 12-21, finished 69-92, last place AL East (15th highest payroll)

2000 Detroit Tigers - 10-23, finished 79-83, third place AL Central (11th highest payroll)

2001 Tampa Bay Devil Rays - 10-23, finished 62-100, last place AL East (18th highest payroll)

2001 Kansas City Royals - 11-22, finished 65-97, last place AL Central (26th highest payroll)

2001 Texas Rangers - 12-21, finished 79-83, last place AL West (7th highest payroll)

2002 Toronto Blue Jays - 11-22, finished 78-84, 3rd place AL East (11th highest payroll)

2002 Kansas City Royals - 11-22, finished 62-100, 4th place AL Central (22nd highest payroll)

2002 Detroit Tigers - 11-22, finished 55-106, last place AL Central (20th highest payroll)

2003 Tampa Bay Devil Rays - 12-21, finished 63-99, last place AL East (lowest mlb payroll)

2004 Tampa Bay Devil Rays - 10-23, finished 70-91, 4th place AL East (2nd lowest payroll)

2004 Kansas City Royals - 11-22, finished 58-104, 5th place AL Central (22nd highest payroll)

2004 Seattle Mariners - 12-21, finished 63-99, last place Al West (10th highest payroll)

2005 Tampa Bay Devil Rays - 12-21, finished 67-95, last place AL East (29th highest payroll)

2006 Kansas City Royls - 10-23, finished 62-100, last place AL Central (26th highest payroll)

 

(I have verified that no 07-10 team that won more than 80 games or finished higher than 3rd place started worse than 13-20, but will add in the data for the teams later from those years)

 

* The 2002 Tampa team started 9-24 and finished with a 55-106 record. The 2003 Indians started 9-24 and won 68 games. The worst 33 game start is the 03 Tigers, who started 7-26 on their way to a 43-119 season. The '05 Royals started out 8-25.

 

Why am I posting this?

 

I'm posting this because there are a host of teams that start 13-20, 14-19, and 15-18 that advance to the postseason and win their division. The most incredible example of this is the 2001 Oakland Athletics, who started off 13-20, and then posted a miraculous rest of their 102-win season where they simply could not lose for five months (well, until the postseason). This 2011 season's Boston Red Sox started 14-18 and are coasting towards either a wild card berth or a divisional title. The 2005 New York Yankees sputtered to 15-19 before straightening their season out to accumulate 95 wins. The 2006 Twins started out 14-19 as well.

 

There has never been a playoff team from the AL that has started 10-23, 11-22 or 12-21 in the Wild Card Era. Never. I posted all of them because I wanted to illustrate that there are PLENTY of examples. In fact, no team has won more than 85 games, and no team has finished higher than third place. The lone team that won 85 games started out a game better than this season's White Sox at 12-21. Sure, there are many dogs in there that had no business competing on any level for anything because they were low-payroll also-rans in the thick of a long rebuilding process (the 2001-2004 tigs, the Rays for a lot of years).

 

It stands to reason that empirically speaking, the data suggests this team could not have won more than 84 games in their season after May 6th, and could not have finished higher than third place or advanced to the postseason. I did not know this, and I believed otherwise up until now, obviously. Of course, there is one caveat to that empirical analysis: that the rest of the division could play so badly that the title could have ended up falling into their laps, and that obviously the White Sox could have had a hand in that (for example at Detroit this weekend). 84 wins seems to be an outlier of a possibility, considering this data.

 

Because of their payroll, I think this team finishing between 75 and 81 wins was/is extraordinarily likely. Most of the higher payroll teams that scuffled at that level finished with about that many wins. However, as we see from the 2004 Blue Jays, it is possible for a high payroll team to simply mail it in after such a start.

 

Their fate was sealed by May 6th. If you want to discuss how terrible a GM Kenny Williams is for the non-decisions made in-season, and how terrible a manager Ozzie Guillen is for making poor in-game decisions, and how those two people somehow had a hand in costing this team their season, well, the data suggests that you are wrong. That 4-18 stretch and the players on the field cost this team this season. Let me be clear: both Ozzie and Kenny should absolutely go, in my opinion, because this organization needs a shakeup, and because those two are accountable for this failure of this organization to execute on some level (Kenny for the building process, but we can also improve on a manager who no longer seems to care enough). I am grateful to both for what they did for this organization, and think that their legacy is a mixed bag. I would not trade that mixed bag for anything else, because the price of their legacy is a championship.

 

This division was theirs for the taking ONLY if Detroit and everyone else played down to a level commensurate with the number of possible wins the team could have had. In mid-August, when the White Sox rattled off a 16-8 stretch, it seemed as though they were poised to go on a run. However, this is baseball. Teams do not play .667 ball for extended portions of the season, and losing streaks, even unpredictable maddening ones, happen. It surprised me greatly when people would treat routine 3-4 game losing streaks as if it was the absolute end of the universe, as if they had never watch professional baseball before in their lifetime or followed any team for an extended stretch.

 

It is utterly unrealistic to expect any team, even a high payroll one, to rattle off an extended stretch of 129 games of baseball where they play .590 baseball, somewhere between 20 and 25 games above .500. That's what it would have taken to win 86 or 87 or 88 games, seemingly a number it will now take to win the division. The above numbers back up that teams that start particularly poorly, particularly 12-21 or worse, cannot recover from such a start, it's simply impossible. 13-20 seems to be the cutoff point.

 

I hope I never have to watch an 11-22 start again.

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To say Ozzie and Kenny played no part in the awful start is just wrong. There were numerous decisions by KW in the offseason (trusting Thornton to close, for example) and Ozzie (pulling Buehrle before the 9th inning in the home game against the A's) that contributed to the awful start. I don't get the purpose of your post, to be honest. Up until a week ago, you were saying the Sox were in great shape. Now, you're making it sound like they never had a chance.

Edited by fathom

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A bad start 2 years in a row by different players might also be an indictment of the team's Spring Training and offseason coaching and preparation.

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QUOTE (fathom @ Sep 5, 2011 -> 02:59 PM)
To say Ozzie and Kenny played no part in the awful start is just wrong. There were numerous decisions by KW in the offseason (trusting Thornton to close, for example) and Ozzie (pulling Buehrle before the 9th inning in the home game against the A's) that contributed to the awful start. I don't get the purpose of your post, to be honest. Up until a week ago, you were saying the Sox were in great shape. Now, you're making it sound like they never had a chance.

 

I never said they were in "great shape", I said that one team every year comes out of nowhere to win their division, and the white sox might as well be that team. I added that they certainly had to win 4 of 6 against the tigs.

 

Halfway down, I also indicated that the research I just did illuminated some things that I did not know, which is to say that I did not know that no team that started like this ever made the playoffs.

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QUOTE (Greg Hibbard @ Sep 5, 2011 -> 03:21 PM)
I never said they were in "great shape", I said that one team every year comes out of nowhere to win their division, and the white sox might as well be that team. I added that they certainly had to win 4 of 6 against the tigs.

 

Halfway down, I also indicated that the research I just did illuminated some things that I did not know, which is to say that I did not know that no team that started like this ever made the playoffs.

Didn't Boston start out 0-6 this season and no team had ever made the playoffs with that start? If you're saying the season was over at 11-22, that's a bigger indictment against KW and OG as they made it a point in spring training this year that a good start was a must. The way Ozzie used guys in spring training was supposed to make them as ready as can be to start the year as slow starts have hurt this team in the standings before and at the gate. I guess when they were a couple games out a few weeks ago, it really didn't matter that Adam Dunn was batting clean up or that Alex Rios was playing everyday. The research is nice, but the Sox play in a lousy division with a payroll much higher than most teams with that start.

 

Whatever the problem is, the OG/KW fued needs to go away, and the best way for it to go away is not declare one the winner, that would make the future worse. Make them both losers, and cue up Nancy Faust with a na, na, na , na.

Edited by Dick Allen

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Except they could just as easily have had the 16-8 run in April and the 11-22 run in August/Sept. They've largely been a .500 team the rest of the year and that's just plain not good enough for their paygrade.

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QUOTE (Dick Allen @ Sep 5, 2011 -> 03:51 PM)
Didn't Boston start out 0-6 this season and no team had ever made the playoffs with that start? If you're saying the season was over at 11-22, that's a bigger indictment against KW and OG as they made it a point in spring training this year that a good start was a must. The way Ozzie used guys in spring training was supposed to make them as ready as can be to start the year as slow starts have hurt this team in the standings before and at the gate. I guess when they were a couple games out a few weeks ago, it really didn't matter that Adam Dunn was batting clean up or that Alex Rios was playing everyday. The research is nice, but the Sox play in a lousy division with a payroll much higher than most teams with that start.

 

Whatever the problem is, the OG/KW fued needs to go away, and the best way for it to go away is not declare one the winner, that would make the future worse. Make them both losers, and cue up Nancy Faust with a na, na, na , na.

 

My point is that anything that happened after 11-22 is moot because 11-22 was only recoverable from if the division winner won 84 or less games, a notion I think is mostly out of our control ( although still something I thought was possible until the Tigs got really hot recently)

 

I'd say three things are indictable during 4-18:

1) The idea of using Juan Pierre as a leadoff hitter in 2010 and 2011 (we got exactly the offensive production we expected of him both years, ultimately, but he cost us some games during that stretch defensively).

2) The idea of using Thornton as a closer that led to so many bullpen problems, specifically going into this season with a left handed setup man who had never closed as a closer.

3) The overall composition of the team, specifically adding a bunch of problematic second-tier players who have glaring holes in their game (Peavy's AL allergy, Rios' baggage, Dunn's propensity for slumptitude).

Edited by Greg Hibbard

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QUOTE (Balta1701 @ Sep 5, 2011 -> 09:00 PM)
A bad start 2 years in a row by different players might also be an indictment of the team's Spring Training and offseason coaching and preparation.

 

I'm sick of the team not knowing how to bunt.

I mean it's pretty obvious after the last few years the Sox must not work on bunting at all. I mean why the f*** not? It's sunny down there; there's nothing else to do but drink after playing and practicing baseball.

Why cant they work on bunting 2 hours a f***ing day until every non power hitter can at least have an 80 percent chance of putting down a sacrifice bunt instead of looking like Beckham and Lexi do whenever i watch them bunt??

 

I hope our new manager stresses bunting in ST. And running the bases.

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Didn't the '83 sox start like crap too?

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QUOTE (Greg Hibbard @ Sep 5, 2011 -> 10:06 PM)
My point is that anything that happened after 11-22 is moot because 11-22 was only recoverable from if the division winner won 84 or less games, a notion I think is mostly out of our control ( although still something I thought was possible until the Tigs got really hot recently)

 

I'd say three things are indictable during 4-18:

1) The idea of using Juan Pierre as a leadoff hitter in 2010 and 2011 (we got exactly the offensive production we expected of him both years, ultimately, but he cost us some games during that stretch defensively).

2) The idea of using Thornton as a closer that led to so many bullpen problems, specifically going into this season with a left handed setup man who had never closed as a closer.

3) The overall composition of the team, specifically adding a bunch of problematic second-tier players who have glaring holes in their game (Peavy's AL allergy, Rios' baggage, Dunn's propensity for slumptitude).

 

So, you're saying that the people who gave up in the first month of the season were both correct and had good reason to believe that.

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In other words, when Ozzie Guillen-led teams start slow and put themselves in a hole, they don't come back. They'll tease you a little during the summer months. But that's about it. Thank the devil we had that 15-game lead and had #163 at home.

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QUOTE (Milkman delivers @ Sep 5, 2011 -> 11:46 PM)
So, you're saying that the people who gave up in the first month of the season were both correct and had good reason to believe that.

 

As long as they were certain the ALC winner would have more than 84 wins, yes. The people who thought this team could win the division if 84 was enough would not have been incorrect necessarily.

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It is amazing to think we could be only the 2nd team to start that badly and recover to .500.

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This was done for the AL obviously, but the Astros bottomed out at 15 games under .500 in 2005 before winning 88 or 89 and making it to the WS. What was the Twins low-water mark in '06? I think it was well beyond the 33 game mark.

 

 

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QUOTE (Stan Bahnsen @ Sep 6, 2011 -> 12:26 PM)
This was done for the AL obviously, but the Astros bottomed out at 15 games under .500 in 2005 before winning 88 or 89 and making it to the WS. What was the Twins low-water mark in '06? I think it was well beyond the 33 game mark.

 

The '06 Twins started 14-19 and bottomed out at 7 games under .500 at 25-32.

The '05 Astros did start 15-30 (12-21 in the first 33) and did make the playoffs, but the NL and particularly the NL Central was a far inferior league/division at that time.

 

The '83 White Sox started 13-20, bottoming out at 16-24.

 

 

 

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The Sox seem to really have boughten into the whole mentality of "It's a marathon, not a sprint" in regards to the baseball season. Which in most cases is true, but it SHOULD NOT be the White Sox thoughts anymore after the last two seasons. Having a winning April should be priority #1 from now on. The bats can't struggle in April like ALWAYS. Priority #2 BEAT THE CENTRAL teams.

 

After starting 11-22 they've played 12 over .500 and in the second half have performed better within the Division. All of that s*** needs to happen in the first half too and hopefully the new manager can't stress that enough to these players.

 

Win in April + Win vs. the Central = October Baseball

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It tells me that there is a fundemental flaw in the spring training program. I'm not certain what was different in 2005 to cause the team to shoot out of the gate. Some of the problems have been veterans who I guess suddenly don't remember how to prepare for a season? Probably another good reason for a manager/ coaching staff shuffle.

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QUOTE (Tex @ Sep 6, 2011 -> 01:56 PM)
It tells me that there is a fundemental flaw in the spring training program. I'm not certain what was different in 2005 to cause the team to shoot out of the gate. Some of the problems have been veterans who I guess suddenly don't remember how to prepare for a season? Probably another good reason for a manager/ coaching staff shuffle.

Let's not forget that there were some guys in 2005 who, frustratingly, did not "Shoot" out of the gate. Konerko and Dye were awful until late May.

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QUOTE (Cali @ Sep 6, 2011 -> 11:47 AM)
The Sox seem to really have boughten into the whole mentality of "It's a marathon, not a sprint" in regards to the baseball season. Which in most cases is true, but it SHOULD NOT be the White Sox thoughts anymore after the last two seasons. Having a winning April should be priority #1 from now on. The bats can't struggle in April like ALWAYS. Priority #2 BEAT THE CENTRAL teams.

 

After starting 11-22 they've played 12 over .500 and in the second half have performed better within the Division. All of that s*** needs to happen in the first half too and hopefully the new manager can't stress that enough to these players.

 

Win in April + Win vs. the Central = October Baseball

 

Thanks.

 

Getting out of the gate is certainly very important. We knew it would be this year, but still seemed to lack the sense of urgency needed to avoid it. One COULD say that this another instance where the org's "too loyal/too comfortable" culture bites us in the ass.

 

I put it almost entirely on the players, myself. But I didn't believe we were completely doomed in this division at 11-22 either. Still don't.

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QUOTE (Greg Hibbard @ Sep 6, 2011 -> 12:39 PM)
The '05 Astros did start 15-30 (12-21 in the first 33) and did make the playoffs, but the NL and particularly the NL Central was a far inferior league/division at that time.

 

As opposed to the powerhouse AL Central this year?

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QUOTE (Greg Hibbard @ Sep 6, 2011 -> 12:39 PM)
The '06 Twins started 14-19 and bottomed out at 7 games under .500 at 25-32.

The '05 Astros did start 15-30 (12-21 in the first 33) and did make the playoffs, but the NL and particularly the NL Central was a far inferior league/division at that time.

 

The '83 White Sox started 13-20, bottoming out at 16-24.

 

What about the 100-win Cardinals?

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QUOTE (Stan Bahnsen @ Sep 6, 2011 -> 11:03 AM)
Thanks.

 

Getting out of the gate is certainly very important. We knew it would be this year, but still seemed to lack the sense of urgency needed to avoid it. One COULD say that this another instance where the org's "too loyal/too comfortable" culture bites us in the ass.

 

I put it almost entirely on the players, myself. But I didn't believe we were completely doomed in this division at 11-22 either. Still don't.

 

The lack of urgency should start with the Manager, but it's definitely on the players as well. Particularly the Captain, which if the things stated here on Soxtalk are true, isn't helping the situation in the clubhouse.

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QUOTE (Cali @ Sep 6, 2011 -> 02:29 PM)
The lack of urgency should start with the Manager, but it's definitely on the players as well. Particularly the Captain, which if the things stated here on Soxtalk are true, isn't helping the situation in the clubhouse.

He seemed to be one of the few people who came out of spring training ready for the season to start.

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