Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.
Things are not looking good this year for a World Series title for the Toronto Blue Jays. The same for the L.A. Angels. The St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Yankees are still looking good, as are the Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants. Arizona, Atlanta and Boston are really looking good.
We’re only a little over two months into the season, but based on some historical stats, we can point to a standard that has determined the eventual World Series champ to see who might be hoisting the trophy this season (and who will not). The standard? Games under .500 during the season.
Here’s the statistical scoop: Of the last 25 World Series champs, 22 were no more than four games under .500 at any time in their championship season. In fact, nine of the last 25 MLB champions were never under .500 in their title season. The nine: Oakland-1989, Cincinnati-1990, Toronto-1992, Atlanta-1995, Florida-1997, N.Y. Yankees-2000, Chicago White Sox-2005, St. Louis-2006, San Francisco-2010.
This season, three teams have never gone under .500: Arizona, Atlanta and Boston. Eleven teams have gone no more than three games under .500 this season: N.Y. Yankees (3 games under .500), Oakland (2), St. Louis (2), Cincinnati (2), Washington (2), Texas (1), San Francisco (1), Colorado (1), Baltimore (1) and Detroit (1). The other 16 MLB teams have all been at least five games under .500 at one time during this season.
Following are the World Series champions that were the most games under .500 in the year they won the title (1987-2012).
Most games under .500, team, season
10: Florida, 2003 (they were 10 games under .500 on May 22)
8: Anaheim, 2002 (they were 8 games under .500 on April 23)
7: Minnesota, 1991 (they were 7 games under .500 on April 20)
4: Arizona, 2001 (they were 4 games under .500 on April 15)
4: St. Louis, 2011 (they were 4 games under .500 on April 9)
3: N.Y. Yankees, 1998 (they were 3 games under .500 on April 6)
3: San Francisco, 2012 (they were 3 games under .500 on April 11)
I guess if there is a lesson to be learned here it’s that if you have to go under .500 in your season and still want to win a World Series, make sure you go under .500 early in the season, preferably in April!
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How often have you heard an NFL head coach mention that his team needs to “limit the turnovers” and “protect the ball” to be successful in their upcoming game? Quite often, I bet.
In the 2012 season, there were 123 occasions when a team played a game without committing a turnover. In those games, teams were 98-24-1, an .801 winning percentage.
Eleven teams last season were undefeated in games when they committed no turnovers. Houston topped the list going 7-0 last season in games with no turnovers. Super Bowl champs Baltimore were close behind going 6-0 in no turnover games. Three teams, Indianapolis, Minnesota and Pittsburgh were 4-0 in those error-free games. (The 49ers were 6-0-1 in games where they committed no turnovers.)
Three teams led the league with most games with no turnovers: Atlanta, Houston and San Francisco each played seven games with no turnovers. Oakland was the only team in 2012 that did not win a game when they had zero turnovers. They were 0-1.
If we expand the parameters a little and look at how well teams have played in turnover-less games since the start of the century, we discover that NFL teams were 1025-291-1 in games with no turnovers dating back to the start of the 2000 season. The Patriots top the list with 68 games played with no turnovers, while the Indianapolis Colts have the league’s best record in these games, going 39-2 (.951 winning percentage) in those games.
Following is a look at each teams’ record in games with no turnovers (from 2000-2012).
Indianapolis 39-2 .951
New Orleans 38-3 .927
Baltimore 39-4 .907
Denver 35-4 .897
Pittsburgh 41-5 .891
New England 60-8 .882
Green Bay 42-6 .875
San Francisco 38-6-1 .856
San Diego 41-8 .837
Cincinnati 30-7 .811
Arizona 17-4 .810
Carolina 32-8 .800
New York Giants 39-10 .796
Tennessee 34-9 .791
New York Jets 41-12 .774
Seattle 34-10 .773
Atlanta 37-11 .771
Tampa Bay 33-10 .767
Dallas 27-9 .750
Miami 27-9 .750
Jacksonville 36-13 .735
Chicago 25-9 .735
St. Louis 19-7 .731
Minnesota 27-10 .730
Washington 27-12 .692
Philadelphia 26-12 .684
Buffalo 26-13 .667
Oakland 23-12 .657
Houston 23-14 .622
Cleveland 19-12 .613
Detroit 19-12 .613
Kansas City 29-20 .592
Note: The Atlanta Falcons had the longest current winning streak in games where they did not commit a turnover. The Falcons had won their last 19 straight turnover-less games, dating back to Sept. 28, 2008. They then were defeated 22-17 by Tampa Bay in a turnover-less game on December 30, 2012, thus ending their streak at 19. The Baltimore Ravens have the longest current winning streak of turnover-less games with 12.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp