October 02, 2007
2004 Yankees Vs. 2007 Mets
Newsday compares the collapse of these two teams:
According to a probability expert who specializes in baseball elimination scenarios, the Mets' choke job is more pathetic. And it's not even all that close, mathematically speaking.
Steven M. Patent, a Bay Area-based statistical guru, studied the numbers in the wake of the Mets' loss yesterday and concluded that the Mets had a 97.35 percent chance of making the playoffs Sept. 12, when they led the Phillies by seven games.
The Yankees' chances of beating the Red Sox in the '04 ALCS after taking a three-games-to-none lead was 93.75 percent, which probably is not as great as you would think it would be.
As for the Mets' collapse, Patent's study determined that this ranks as the third-worst in baseball history, trailing only the late-season meltdowns by the Phillies in 1964 and the Red Sox in 1978.
The Phillies that year had a 98.88 percent chance to make the World Series, but their 6½-game lead Sept. 21 with 12 games to play quickly dissipated, thanks to a 10-game losing streak. And the Red Sox in '78 led the Yankees by 14 games on July 20, which Patent said amounted to a 98.67 percent chance to prevail in the American League East. We all know how that worked out.
The Mets' collapse this year is even more stunning when you put the wild card into the equation. They didn't earn that, either.
Interesting. Nate Silver at Baseball Prospectus ranked the Mets dive at #2 all-time, behind the 1995 California Angels. (And, Steven M. Patent doesn't have the Angels in his top three.)
At the end of the day, I guess it's safe to say that the Mets collapse of 2007 is in the "top five" all-time for the regular season - and that the Yankees of 2004 is in the "top something" (probably three) of post-season collapses (up there with the 1982 Angels, 1986 Red Sox, 2001 Yankees, 2003 Red Sox, or whatever post-season tank-job floats your boat).
Posted by Steve Lombardi at October 2, 2007 04:37 PM
2001 Yankees? 2003 Red Sox? Come on. The 2001 series was in-the-bag for Arizona, but they insisted on using BH Kim twice in a row, with Gagne-esque results. I doubt the Yankees had even a 90% chance to win in the ninth inning, with a one-run lead, even with Rivera on the mound.
The 2003 series was very back-and-forth, and forced a game 7. Did the Red Sox have a 90% chance of winning when they were up by 3 in the bottom of the eighth? It's worse than 2001, but really not that horrendous, just memorable.
But, statistically speaking, the 1978 Red Sox were the worse chokers than the 2004 Yankees. Perhaps 10 years from now, when everyone from the 2004 team is gone, when it is brought up by some uppity Sox fan, Yankee fans can easily bring up 1978 as a better example. And Mets fans can never speak again, as far as I'm concerned.
Steve, I prefer to look at the Yankees WPA when they had 2 outs in the top of the 9th in Game 4 and were thus an out away from heading to the WS. WPA had them at ~90% to win that game. Still, that makes it about a 98% chance that they blew it, compared to the Mets 99.7+%..