Mains: Searching for reasons for the Giants’ collapse

From SABR member Rob Mains at Baseball Prospectus on September 27, 2016:

The San Francisco Giants, you may have heard, have not had a good second half. At the All-Star break, they were 57-33. That was the best record in baseball, three games ahead of the Cubs. Since then, they are 25-41. That’s not the worst record in baseball—the existence of the Minnesota Twins ensures that—but it’s the worst in the National League. They’ve fallen from first place in the NL West at the break–6.5 games ahead of the Dodgers–into a tie with the Mets for the Wild Card and just half a game ahead of the Cardinals, trailing the division-clinching Dodgers by 8.0 games.

In doing so, they remain in line to set a record for the biggest swing in winning percentage from the first half to the second half. Their drop of .255–from .633 to .378–is the greatest since the first-half/second-half dichotomy was established by the 1933 All-Star game, ahead of the 1943 Philadelphia Athletics, who followed a 34-44 first half with a cover-your-eyes 15-61 second half, a .238 decline. The Giants have to win at least four of their remaining six games to avoid breaking those wartime A’s record.

You might think you’re hearing cries of “Howl! Howl! Howl!” from the Bay Area, King Lear-style, holding their even-year championship dreams in their arms instead of Cordelia. (I know, I know; technically, the Giants’ postseason is not yet dead.) Actually, they’re saying, “How?” as in, “How does a team have such a spectacular first half and such an abysmal second half?”

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Originally published: September 27, 2016. Last Updated: September 27, 2016.