SABRMatt (and Taro) sez,
The Rangers in the first half played extremely lucky. Then they traded for ALL THE PLAYERS and got Yu Darvish back.
Definitely they made the big trades in the summer.
Also interesting, though, that their batting splits were the same 1H and 2H, that is, a 755 OPS in both halves. They added Darvish, of course, who pitched great, but their other pitchers' problems got almost worse. Their pitching splits were 4.44 ERA first half, 4.31 ERA second half, with a 2.5 CTL ratio in the second half compared to 1.9 in the second.
Can certainly buy the idea that they were tougher to deal with in the second half, but we still have the fact that the bases gained and lost add up to only 82 wins, after you factor in their trades and Darvish. They actually won 95. The second half of the season, with Darvish and their trades, projected to 84 wins absent "luck."
It could be that pure luck explains the 13 wins extra and that the "chemistry does not apply" theory remains intact. Didn't LOOK like it to me, though, when the Rangers beat us 7 games to 2 in the FIRST half. :- )
Seems to me that the Texas Rangers will bring their positive karma into 2017. This is now the 5th year in the decade they have made the playoffs, and in a 6th year they won 91 games while missing the playoffs.
I'm being half serious - but did it have anything to do with Rougned Odor cold cocking tough-guy Bautista in the jaw on television? That combined with Adrian Beltre's sheer immunity to pain sets them up as a tough-as-nails group of guys, no? I feel silly even positing this, especially since you asked for data... Ha.
Great to see yer Dan!
In response to Dan's proposal ... oh, I dunno. Did Kam Chancellor's career-ending (clean) destruction of Vernon Davis have anything to do with the way that rivalry turned out? It always mystifies me that we speak about baseball as though it's played with Strat-O-Matic or APBA cards.
Sports are masculine. A lot of people analyzing baseball, are not. They don't want baseball to be, either. I mean that in a good way. ;- )
Personally I've got very little problem with masculinity; it's natural for 50% of people I know to be that way. Seattle Sports Insider, your one-stop shop for Baseball As Gladiation. Dr. D, and the average sabermetrician, are doomed to forever talk past each other because we disagree about whether sports are masculine. (Not to diminish female triathletes, obviously. There's a difference between strength and aggression.)
But this factor might explain why some baseball analysts literally don't believe that masculinity ever! affects any! outcome of this particular sport.
Way to return with a bang, Dan.
It seems like the Mariners only felt comfortable when they were behind. That point in June, where the Mariners were on top of the world? They just finished a road trip, then they came home, and were in first place. Then swept by the Twins, then won a series, then swept by the Rangers, then had a six game losing streak to the Red Sox and Tigers. That was rock bottom, and they had to climb out of a hole after that. As soon as the Mariners were a .500 team again, they started playing well.
What made the Mariners hard to watch this year was that it kept losing the head to head match ups against the contender teams when it really counted. The Rangers in May. The Tigers in June, the Blue Jays in September.
My theory is this: The Mariners are haunted by their own ghost. The team hasn't made the playoffs in so long that the players press when they should be cruising. Texas got to 10 over, then played .500 ball the last month. That has to be some sort of skill set. The Astros are just like the Mariners.
I'd been focusing on the fact that the Mariners were resilient, bouncing back from AL West Standings danger three or four times at least, during the course of the season.
Like quiet Russian grandmasters, or Hobbits from the Shire if you prefer, the 2016 Mariners hoped to rely on technique - allowing themselves to be taken by the throat before truly starting to fight.
But I like this photo-negative also, that the Mariners ran badly when they pulled alongside the leaders.
Dr. Detecto sez,
In any case, the Mariners have needed grit for, oh, since Lou Piniella left or so. They moved forward this year, but as Bill James tells a reader about once a week, changing things takes a lot of time. Two or three years can be a short time for a baseball GM. Hey, for Jack Zduriencik, seven years was way too little time.
We haven't gotten started on that late-season TV interview by DiPoto. When he was asked about Servais, the first thing DiPoto brought up was resiliency.
The 2016 Mariner Shirelings liked to eat five meals a day when they could get them. But they could also go a month without eating if the giant Swastika Eye compelled them. From where Russ and I sit, we waited a long time for a different hand at the tiller. First year's sailing was on track.