Neyer: In October, there really is momentum in baseball

From SABR member Rob Neyer at Baseball Nation on October 31, 2012:

I'm on record, many times, saying there's no such thing as momentum in baseball. Or as Earl Weaver put it, "Momentum? Momentum is the next day's starting pitcher."

I have long believed that, and I still believe it.

Well, except for this: Momentum -- or something that looks very much like it -- does seem to play a big role in October. The numbers are just overwhelming. Last week, when the Tigers lost the first three games of the World Series, [SABR member] Al Yellon wrote about what's happened to other teams that did that. Those numbers are dramatic, and of course Game 4 added yet another data point.

Just for fun, I tossed in the League Championship Series, too. Those numbers aren't as dramatic ... but they suggest the same thing: Teams play differently when one of them has a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven postseason series.

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This page was last updated November 1, 2012 at 5:12 pm MST.