Sometimes after an interesting game, I will jump over to the other team's SB Nation site and see what their view on the game was. After yesterday's split, I decided to do this with the Brewers' page. When I was reading the recap of the game, one of the "Related Fanposts" was called The Misery Index. What can I say - maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment. But given the way our past few weeks have gone, I couldn't help but give it a read.
The gist of the post was that the author felt like the Brewers had just had rotten luck and seemed like they couldn't catch a break but figured that other teams' fans probably felt the same way (this was written on July 13, over the AS break). He decided to grade teams wins and losses based on their Win Probability. A team was awarded +3 for a win in which their Win Probability was below 10 percent, +2 when it was below 25 percent, and +1 for all other wins. However, the team was deducted 3 points for a loss where the Win Probability was more than 90 percent, -2 when it was over 75 percent and - 1 for all other losses.
At the All Star break, the Pirates were 47-43 and had a +3. The Brewers were 49-43 and had a +1. Essentially, at this point the Brewers and the Pirates were playing about even and they were both pretty satisfying to watch (good wins made up for bad losses). This is where I decided to see what had happened since then. The Pirates had 10 games between the break and, oh, let's say July 25 (no reason). They went 6-4, had one tough loss (blowing the lead vs the Astros) and were a +1. In the same time span, the Brewers went 5-6 but had two great wins so they were also a +1. So, at the end of the day on July 25, the Pirates were 53-47 and had a M.I. (Misery Index) of +4. The Brewers (coming off two straight losses) were a half game back at 54-49 and had a M.I. of +2.
As I'm sure you are aware, July 26 was (the start of) the Jerry Meals game. While I can't think of a more agonizing way of losing a game, technically, the Pirates' highest Win Probability in that game was 77.5 percent (after McKenry's homer in the third inning) so it was only a -2. In all fairness, the Braves had an 84.1 percent chance of winning even before the blown call. Since that day, the Pirates have gone 7-20 with a -18 M.I. They had six heartbreaking losses: the Jerry Meals game, the eighth-inning HR by Raul Ibanez, the meltdown vs the Cubs, the first game of the Padres series (I know they lost 15-5 but they had a 79.3 percent Win Probability after Ryan Ludwick's first-inning RBI), McKenry's dropped third strike vs the Brewers, and the Reds game where Garrett Jones and Andrew McCutchen were thrown out at home. Now, the Pirates sit at 60-67 with a -14 M.I. for the season.
The Brewers, on the other hand, won their game on July 26. The proceeded to win the next seven games, actually, 13 of the next 14, and 19 of the next 21. Since that fateful day, the Brewers have gone 23-4 with a +21 M.I. On the season, they are 77-53 with a +23 M.I.
While these numbers can be explained as just the Brewers being better than we are (which they are), I've been trying to think of a way to quantify how painful the past month has been and this actually fits pretty nicely. For comparison's sake, only two teams in the National League had more misery crammed into the entire first half than the Pirates managed to squeeze into the last four weeks. Not surprisingly, those teams are the Cubs and Astros. Ugh.