Monday, July 20, 2009

The August Swoon Is a Myth

Forget what you've heard about the August swoon.

The August swoon is a myth generated by a collection of dramatic events that occurred during the 2007 season. In truth, late July - specifically, around the month's third week - has been a better barometer of the Orioles fortunes in recent seasons.

This fact should cause O's fans some concern as the team stares down a brutal slate this week at Yankee Stadium and then Fenway.

The birth of a myth

The Orioles were 9-19 in August 2007 following an encouraging 15-10 mark in July. The symbolic collapse included a 30-3 shellacking at the hands of the Rangers and the firing of Sam Perlozzo, both of which gave rise to the idea - now conventional wisdom - that August is the truest of all enemies to the Orioles.

However, the O's sandwiched the myth-generating 2007 season between two seasons when July was worse than August in terms of the team's record.

Consider an even broader perspective. In seven of nine seasons from 2000 through 2008 the O's have experienced losing streaks around the third week of July that defined their season more so than did games in August. And in six of those seven seasons, the team's record was worse in July than it was in August.

In other words, the next week of the season will go a long way to determining the success of the 2009 season in terms of the team's overall record.

Here's the rundown:

The O's tallied a five-game losing streak from July 22 to July 26 - a four-game sweep at the hands of Toronto followed by loss to the Angels.

July record: 10-16
August record: 11-17

The O's suffered a four-game losing streak from July 18 to July 22 - two straight losses to Oakland followed by two straight losses to the Rays - during a stretch where the Birds lost five of six.

July record: 11-15
August record: 12-14

The O's endured a six-game losing streak from July 19 to July 25 - two straight losses to Minnesota, three straight to the Rays and a loss to Texas. This was followed by an eight-game losing streak from July 27 to Aug. 3 that included two losses to Texas, four to Chicago, and two to the Angels.

July record: 8-18
August record: 11-17

The O's lost seven of 10 from July 22 to Aug. 1 in match-ups with Boston, Minnesota, and the Yankees.

July record: 14-14
August record: 13-15

The O's lost 7 of 8 from July 21 to July 28 in match-ups with Chicago, Toronto, Boston, and Tampa Bay.

July record: 11-14
August record: 14-16

The O's lost 11 of 12 from July 15 to July 26, including a six-game slide from the 15th to the 21st, in match-ups with the Marlins, Rangers, Angels, and Rangers.

July record: 6-21
August record: 11-16


The O's went on a five-game losing streak from July 23 to July 29 in match-ups with Toronto, New York, and Cleveland.

July record: 13-14
August record: 14-15

From Jeremy Guthrie's strong outing on Sunday to the team's lively bats throughout the weekend, there was plenty of optimism to be taken from the Orioles' series against the White Sox despite the fact that they lost two of the three games.

However, things could change fast, and if they do we may be staring at an ugly final record for the Birds.

No comments: