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Baseball Primer Newsblog — The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand ## Friday, August 10, 2012## Pollis: The Mathematical Improbability of Cleveland’s 11-Game Losing StreakWhich is about the same as Lou Camilli going 0 for his first 34 with the Indians, I guess.
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Posted: August 10, 2012 at 01:51 PM | 32 comment(s)
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## Reader Comments and Retorts

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edit: So I went back and looked and MLB played 22 less games than scheduled so that drops it down to 48,578 streaks and a slightly higher .14%.

And so the binomial distribution tells us that this means that the average team has a true talent of .449, or about 73-89.

EDIT: Or that MLB as a whole has a true talent of .449, or whatever. I'm being flip.

We've done this before, with batting streaks. The problem is that you really don't have 152 chances to have an 11 game losing streak. In actuality it's much less. If you have a 7 game losing streak and then win one, you've eaten up 8 of your mythical 152 chances in one go.

Maybe he just did the National League.

If you have a 7 game losing streak and then win one, you've eaten up 8 of your mythical 152 chances in one go.How does that make 152 chances mythical?

You lose game one of the season, so you've started a streak. The you lose game 2. That's a continuation of your first streak, not a new one. Then you lose games 3-9, and then win game 10. So your first attempt ended in "failure". But at that point, you don't have 151 more chances.

Hell, even if you lose game 1 and win game 2, thus failing in your first attempt. Starting in game 3 you have only 150 more chances, not 151.

edit: so to answer directly, it's mythical because the only way to have 152 chances is if you win your first 151 games of the season.

From 2002 to 2011 there have been 67 11 game losing streaks. In a 162 games schedule there are 152 sets of 11 games. Assuming all teams played 162 games gives us 4,860 11 game streaks per year. So .14% of all 11 game streaks resulted in a 11 game losing streak.Does this count a 12-game losing streak (assuming there have been any) as two 11-game losing streaks? Because obviously those two chances are not independent of each other. Which I think gets at what #7 is talking about [EDIT: although now I am not sure after reading #10].

Also, for those who can figure this out, how many 11 game winning streaks have there been?

EDIT #2: removed a sentence because of bad statistics.

Yeah, there's that too.

Hell, even if you lose game 1 and win game 2, thus failing in your first attempt. Starting in game 3 you have only 150 more chances, not 151.Winning in game 2 doesn't just make you fail your first chance but it also makes you fail in your second chance. You've played two games and have a win in your second game. You now have 150 chances to lose 11 games in a row. I'm still not seeing how 152 chances is mythical.

If 152 chances is mythical what are the true amount of chances per season for a team?

thatin your odds and smoke 'em...But does that count the 12 game streaks as 2 11's? And the 13's as 3 11's. And so forth. If not, then the percentages will be much much higher.

That'swhy the 152 chances are mythical.But does that count the 12 game streaks as 2 11's? And the 13's as 3 11's. And so forth. If not, then the percentages will be much much higher. That's why the 152 chances are mythical.Why? I'm not looking at the odds that a team will lose exactly 11 games. I'm looking at the odds that a team will lose 11 in a row at some point. And again if 152 chances is mythical what is the right amount of chances?

Have there been 63 streaks of 11-or-more losses? Or have there been 63 sequences of LLLLLLLLLLL? You don't want to count a 12-game losing streak twice, but you do want to count it at least once.

There are 152 chances, you just can't treat them as independent.

Yeah, I guess that's what I was getting at. Without saying, or even realizing it, my point was there aren't 152

independentchances. a 12 game losing streak is a 12 game losing streak, not 2 11's. For a team, the chances of losing 11 in a row, and then losing the next game to make two 11 game streaks, are not remotely the same. For a true talent .500 team, the odds for the former is (using the odds from the excerpt), are .049%. For the latter it's 50%.As for this, it depends. It's not a question that can be answered

a priori. It depends on the distribution of wins and losses, with a lower bound I suppose of 14 (a team which loses 10 and then wins 1, loses 10, wins one... for the entire season), and an upper bound of 152 (the afore mentioned 151-0 team).Perhaps, but you're treating them as independent in #2.

An equal mix of 61-win teams and 101-win teams have about 8 times more 11-loss streaks than a group of 81-win teams.

EDIT: My point is that approximating the win probability with 50% is going to be wrong by orders of magnitude (one here, if you got the Astros in the league, more).

1899 Spiders lost 24 in a row.

/I was there in '88, so we were wondering if we might just get that record.

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