Any time a team suffers a crushing loss like the Astros did in the fifth game of the NLCS, there is an inclination to write that team off. A lot of Giants fans will casually mention they "knew" the Giants weren't going to win the final game of the 2002 World Series after they blew Game Six.
Is this something that can be verified by statistics, or just an apocryphal tale? I usually don't dig too deep into the statistical side of baseball, but this is something that doesn't just pertain to Giants fans. There were whispers of "Donnie Moore" and "Byung-Hyung Kim" after Brad Lidge blew the save in Houston. However, this ignores the fact the teams of Moore and Kim had very different ultimate outcomes to their playoff series. Moore's team lost the series, and Kim's team won the World Series even after the ugly blown saves. So, is there an effect?
To keep this Giants related, I will examine all of the stats pertaining to the start by Livan Hernandez in the 7th game of the 2002 World Series, and contrast it with last night's start by Roy Oswalt. I enlisted the help of an old friend, James Westlington, who is currently working on his doctoral thesis - baseball related, no less - in Applied Statistical Analysis at Columbia. The man knows his stuff, and I'm proud to present his work.
We crunched every possible number, leaving nothing to chance. I don't really like to toot my horn on this site, but I really feel this work is important, and the results might surprise you. This will explain a lot of the differences between Livan's crucial start and Oswalt's performance last night. You can find the complete report, unabridged and annotated, here.