Friday, June 03, 2005

cub winning streaks

back when the cubs were taking a seven-game header, we posted a study of cub losing streaks as a means of putting what was happening into some kind of context -- and maybe giving us a peek at what might become of the cubs this year. the conclusion then was this:

taken as the whole this means, on the basis of this losing streak alone, the 2005 squad has something like a 1 in 4 chance of being a winner, and only a very minute chance of reaching 90 wins. if we were to compound this probability with their overall record to this point, i suspect the odds would get yet worse.

well, what's good for the goose is good for the gander -- what the hell does seven straight wins historically mean for this squad? here's the chart.

 Posted by Hello

what does it mean? well, folks, allow me to analyze:

-- of the 104 cub teams charted, 55 won at least seven straight (53%) and 36 won at least eight straight (35%).

-- of the 19 teams which won a maximum of seven straight, 12 were winners and 7 losers; however, only five won at a pace that would yield 90 wins in a 162-game schedule (ie., .556).

one would have to say, on the basis of this winning streak alone, that the cubs stand a good chance of being a winning team this year, but still face only a 1-in-4 chance of managing the 90 wins that has been the minimum to take the wildcard in 8 of the 10 years it's been in place. in other words: keep winning!

perhaps the more comprehensive analysis of the cubs streaks, however, is to use both the max win and max loss streaks in a ratio, and then compare this to winning percentage. while many of the best cub teams didn't go on extended winning streaks, very few of them ever lost more than three or four in a row at any point, keeping their streak ratio (wins:losses) over 2.0 in many cases. (the greatest ever cub team, 1906, won 14 straight against a longest losing streak of just 3 -- a 4.67 streak ratio, second best to 1935's 21:4.) conversely, some of the abysmal teams of yore may not have lost more than 8 or 9 straight, but likewise never won more than 3 or 4.

 Posted by Hello

i included a logarithmic line of best fit as well, to illustrate how the regression manages to cross an even ratio (1:1) almost exactly at a .500 winning percentage. exceedingly few cub teams which couldn't manage a winning streak to match their longest losing streak -- just 3 of 50 -- got to even on the year; from a statistical point of view, these last seven games have reinstilled much of the promise that the losing streak removed.

but that promise remains only .500 -- for now. twenty-nine past clubs have run maximum winning and losing streaks that fall within a game in duration on either side of each other. the average winning percentage of those 29: .502. and only four of them -- a dismal 14% -- finished with a winning percentage greater than .556.

hopefully, the cubs rattle off another few to give me something more optimistic to talk about....

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