Monday, April 9, 2012

THE 0-3/3-0 THANG...

The Yankees and the Red Sox got off to 0-3 starts this year; so did the Giants, Padres, Braves and Twins.

Conversely, the Rays and the Diamondbacks (the two most recent additions to MLB) both started 3-0; so did the Dodgers, Mets, Tigers and Orioles.

This is not the type of season-opening streak
we're talking about here. (Of course, this is also 

not a picture taken at a baseball game...)
Does this mean anything in terms of the eventual outcome of the season? We went back thirty seasons and tracked all of the teams that started 3-0 and 0-3 over that time frame to see what happened. Here's what we found:

Of the 90 teams from 1982-2011 (not including 1994 and 1995) that began the year 3-0, 27 were division champs. Five more made the playoffs as wild card teams. That's a 35.6% success rate.

The overall record of these 90 teams: 7633-6935 (.524).

Of the 88 teams from 1982-2011 (again, no '94 or '95) that started 0-3, only nine were division winners. Two more were wildcard teams. That's a 12.5% success rate.

The overall record of these 88 teams: 6782-7463 (.476).

So over the past thirty years, teams that go 3-0 to start the year are just under three times likelier to make the postseason than teams that go 0-3.

In 2011, four teams started 3-0. Two of them--the Rangers and the Phillies--made the post-season. The other two (Orioles and Reds) won 69 and 79 games respectively.

Four teams began 0-3 in 2011. Two of these--the Rays and the Brewers--went on to the post-season. The Red Sox, who also started 0-3, somewhat famously allowed the Rays to sneak into the playoffs. The other team dropping its first three--the Astros--finished 56-106.

Two-thirds of the teams that started 3-0 finished at .500 or higher at the end of the season. Just under 40% of the teams that started 0-3 finished at .500 or higher.

Four teams (the '85 Cardinals, '98 Yankees, the '99 D-backs, and the '03 Braves) won 100+ games despite starting the season 0-3. Two teams (the '02 Devil Rays and the '08 Nationals) lost 100+ games despite starting the year 3-0.