It’s August, the start of the stretch run. The Residence Run Derby and All-Star Sport have handed, the Commerce Deadline is Tuesday and playoff-implication baseball is about to take heart stage.
It would really feel like if a staff isn’t in playoff place proper now, it might be time to be nervous. However is that true? For groups hoping to win the division, it’s undoubtedly getting near crunch time.
Let’s check out what it means to be in first place coming into August and what the playoff area could appear to be. Observe, all stats beneath exclude the shortened 2020 season and as a substitute have a look at full seasons for the impression and postseason implications.
What it means to be in first place (or not be there)
Since 1996 — the primary full season with at the least one Wild Card in every league — 111 of 150 eventual division champions held at the least a share of their division lead coming into August. That’s 74% of division winners.
Take notice, Yankees, Twins, Astros, Mets, Brewers and Dodgers followers — these are the groups that at present lead their divisions.
Final season, 5 of the six division leaders on Aug. 1 went on to win their divisions. Within the American League, the Rays, White Sox and Astros every gained their divisions. Within the NL, the Brewers and Giants every gained their divisions, however the Mets, who led the East coming into July, missed the playoffs.
Since 1996, 14 of the 25 World Collection winners, excluding 2020, led their divisions coming into August. However neither of the final two winners in full seasons – the ‘21 Braves and ‘19 Nationals – did. The Braves first took sole possession of the NL East in mid-August, whereas the Nationals have been a Wild Card staff.
Comebacks and people 2021 Braves
What in regards to the potential comebacks? Simply two groups have gone on to win the World Collection after being beneath .500 coming into August — the 1914 Boston Braves, who have been 44-45, and the 2021 Braves, who have been 52-54. That signifies that the 2021 Braves’ .491 profitable proportion coming into August was the bottom of any eventual World Collection champion.
Earlier than ‘21, the bottom profitable proportion coming into August to win the World Collection within the Divisional Period (since 1969) was .528 (57-51) by the 2011 Cardinals.
And if we have a look at merely making the playoffs? The bottom profitable proportion for a staff coming into August that went on to make the playoffs in a non-strike-shortened season was .436 (44-57) by the 1973 Mets, who went on to win the Nationwide League pennant and confirmed everybody that ‘Ya Gotta Consider.’ (Once more we’re excluding 2020 with each of those notes).
Total, 13 groups have made the playoffs in a non-shortened season the place they entered August beneath .500.
This yr’s leaders and competitors
Of this yr’s present division leaders coming into August, every has had at the least a share of that lead coming into August at the least as soon as within the prior two full seasons, too.
Three groups lead by at the least 10 video games coming into August this yr: the Dodgers (12 video games), Astros (12 video games) and Yankees (11 1/2 video games). It’s simply the third time because the cut up to 3 divisions per league that at the least three groups had a 10-or-more-game lead coming into August.
It additionally occurred in 2017, with the Astros (16 video games), Nationals (14 video games) and Dodgers (14 video games). And in 1998, with the Yankees (15 video games), Cleveland (10 1/2 video games), Braves (14 video games) and Padres (13 video games).
Along with the Dodgers, Astros and Yankees, the Mets additionally beforehand had a 10-game lead. It’s the third season within the Divisional Period (since 1969) the place 4 or extra groups had 10-plus sport division leads sooner or later earlier than Aug. 1, in response to the Elias Sports activities Bureau. It additionally occurred in 2019 (HOU, LAD, MIN, NYY) and 1998 (ATL, CLE, NYY, SD).
October is rapidly drawing nearer, however there’s nonetheless baseball left to be performed. Followers of the six division leaders can take some consolation in understanding that, traditionally, virtually three quarters of these groups have gone on to win their divisions. And for followers of groups that aren’t in playoff place, there’s nonetheless loads of hope — whereas 74% of those groups go on to win their divisions, meaning 26% don’t, too. The 2021 Braves’ successes ought to present loads of hope.
Now, all of us get to look at and see what occurs.