Jaffe: Do World Series losers get hangovers?

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs on May 15, 2018:

The 2018 Dodgers found a new way to hit rock bottom, losing four straight at home to the Reds, the NL’s worst team. They’ve now lost 14 of 19 and, at 16-24, with Corey Seager out for the season, Justin Turner yet to play and both Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu on the disabled list, they entered Monday just a game ahead of the Padres (16-26) in the NL West. Read that again: a team with a payroll of nearly $200 million, one that lost Game Seven of the World Series, is within spitting distance of a rebuilding club that hasn’t seen a .500 season since 2010.

Through the first 40 games of the season, the Dodgers have fared worse than all but two of the previous 17 teams that lost the World Series — namely, the 2001 Mets and the 2008 Rockies, both of whom stumbled out of the gate at 15-25. Which raises the question: is there a “World Series hangover” for teams that lose the Fall Classic?

Last year, in the wake of the 2016 champion Cubs’ sluggish start, the powers that be at Sports Illustrated asked me to investigate the possible existence of a World Series hangover effect, particularly given that no team had repeated as champion since the Yankees in 1999 and 2000. While conceding that the numerous areas one might examine (such as a year-after effect on pitcher performance and injury, or on hitters and aging) are endless and potentially fascinating, I chose to keep things simple by testing a couple of theories — namely, that (a) the defending champions were more likely to start slowly the following year and that (b) said teams were more likely to finish slowly.

Read the full article here: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/do-world-series-losers-get-hangovers/

Originally published: May 16, 2018. Last Updated: May 16, 2018.