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All aboard the sinking ship

The Brewers '08 season appeared to be on the brink of collapse at a low point in September, too.

Kyle Rivas

On September 14, 2008 this was the Brew Crew Ball postgame thread image:

On September 1st the Brewers had the second-best record in the National League behind the division-leading Cubs and a 6.5 game lead in the Wild Card chase.

One 3-10 stretch later, the Wild Card lead was completely gone. The Brewers lost both games of a double-header in Philadelphia, and Manager Ned Yost was fired (in part due to the Brian Shouse/Pat Burrell debacle that really does not need to be rehashed).

There was no real reason on September 14, 2008 to think that the Brewers would come out of their slump afterwards and make a huge charge back to the Wild Card. And really, they didn't! They won 7 and lost 5 the rest of the way, 58% of their games-- slightly better than their average rate of winning games on the season.

That's the interesting thing about momentum and slumps. They certainly exist; I'm not going to come out and argue that baseball games are independent events like coin flips are. But literally no one knows how to predict when a slump will begin and a hot streak will end. Time and time again we can show that the average game for a player following a good stretch is right around his career average, and time and time again we can show that the average game for a player following a bad stretch is right around his career average.

The Brewers might lose tonight. The best teams in baseball lose around 40% of time anyways. But at what definitely qualifies as the lowest point of the year, realize that our best guess of the odds of winning the rest of the games is what we thought the talent level of this team was all along, not how well they've performed in the past week.