Break To Break

Phil Rogers wrote a very interesting column a couple of days ago (you can find it here but registration is required) regarding records of teams from All-Star Break ’06 to All-Star Break ’07. I was very surprised by who the division leaders are in B2B record:
AL East – NY Yankees (89-72)
AL Central – Minnesota (94-70)
AL West – LA Angels (99-63)
AL Wildcard – Oakland (92-70)
NL East – NY Mets (92-68)
NL Central – Milwaukee (80-80)
NL West – LA Dodgers (91-72)
NL Wildcard – San Diego (89-72)
I was surprised to see two teams from each Western Division in the mix. While each league’s western third seem to always be forgotten, both the AL West and the NL West feature two teams with very good records. One must also remember that Seattle and Arizona have both had very good first halves to this season, and are right up in the mix as well. A number that surprised me (but not too much) was the Milwaukee Brewers’ mark. Rogers mentioned in his article that the NL Central as a whole is 49 games under .500 since the All-Star break last year. The NL Central is certainly the worst division in baseball this year, as it was last year – St. Louis and Houston, in contention last year, are quickly falling out of the race, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh were never really in it to begin with, and the Chicago Cubs have marginally improved but still hover near .500 (whereas last year they were substantially below break-even).
This is a statistic that really falls under the column of “Huh! I did not know that.” However, it does seem to be a decent indicator of trends over the past twelve months for many teams – for example, my hometown Chicago White Sox are 72-88 since the break of ’06 – a 20-game deficit behind the Twins. (Sorry, Sox fans, but it doesn’t look good for them.) If nothing else, it will interest me to see how the trends continue during the second half this season.

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