October 17, 2021

The Second-Half Slides That Have Crowded the Wild Card Races (FanGraphs)

It didn’t explicitly come up in the Effectively Wild podcast spot I did highlighting this year’s Team Entropy series, but one reason why the Wild Card races that I covered in my second installment early this week are so wild — with five teams chasing two spots in the AL, and five more chasing one spot in the NL — is a handful of prominent collapses. The Mets, Padres, and Red Sox all spent a good chunk of the season occupying playoff positions, with New York and Boston occupying the top spots in their respective divisions for more days than any of their competitors. Yet all three teams could miss out on October baseball thanks to some of the most drastic first half-to-second-half drop-offs we’ve seen in recent years.

The Mets, despite a slew of injuries, led the NL East — at times with company in first place — for nearly four months, from April 13 to August 6, with a slight return after falling out of first that stretched the window to August 13. They somehow did that by posting winning records only in May (17-9) and July (14-13), and even after being overtaken, they remained within striking distance for about half of a dreadful August during which they went…

Click here to read the whole article at FanGraphs