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Are the Giants really a get-well team?

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Does beating up on the Giants help a team in their next few series?

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants
This picture isn’t especially relevant, but it’s kinda funny, I guess, so whatever
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Dodgers rolled into town on Monday, losers of 10 straight, and after the Giants won the first game of the series (at 2:10 AM, you know), the Dodgers took the next two games. Now, adjusting for the Giants, only winning two out of three basically means the Dodgers would have gotten swept against a normal team, so in that sense it’s a moral victory, but in the sense of actual victories, well, why start now?

After the series, there were a number of comments that the Dodgers had found themselves against the Giants and would be fine from now on. I’m not here to say that they’re definitely going to be bad; teams with the best record in baseball in September tend to be good baseball teams who are more likely to win baseball games than other baseball teams. However, to give the Giants any credit for this turnaround, you have to think that when teams play well against the Giants, as basically every team in baseball has this year, it has an effect on how well they play after facing the Giants.

We can actually test that. I looked at the 10 games before each team faced the Giants, the 10 games after, and their record against the Giants to see if there was any correlation. First, here’s the table I used, because the Internet loves tables:

Get well team?

Series # Series Win Pct before Record against Giants Win Pct after Win Pct change
Series # Series Win Pct before Record against Giants Win Pct after Win Pct change
1 Padres 1 0.250 0.667 0.400 -0.150
2 Dbacks 2 0.857 0.333 0.500 0.357
3 *Rockies 1 0.600 0.750 0.600 0.000
4 Royals 1 0.600 0.500 0.100 0.500
5 Rockies 2 0.500 1.000 0.500 0.000
6 *Dodgers 1 0.400 0.500 0.800 -0.400
7 Padres 2 0.400 0.667 0.300 0.100
8 *Dodgers 2 0.600 0.333 0.700 -0.100
9 *Reds 1 0.500 1.000 0.200 0.300
10 Mets 1 0.600 0.667 0.300 0.300
11 Reds 2 0.800 0.250 0.400 0.400
12 Dodgers 3 0.700 0.333 0.800 -0.100
13 Cardinals 1 0.700 0.333 0.400 0.300
14 Cubs 1 0.600 0.750 0.400 0.200
15 Braves 1 0.600 0.333 0.500 0.100
16 Nationals 1 0.500 1.000 0.500 0.000
17 Phillies 1 0.500 1.000 0.500 0.000
18 Brewers 1 0.500 0.500 0.600 -0.100
19 Twins 0.400 0.667 0.400 0.000
20 Royals 2 0.600 1.000 0.700 -0.100
21 *Rockies 3 0.700 1.000 0.200 0.500
22 Braves 2 0.500 0.750 0.600 -0.100
23 Mets 2 0.200 1.000 0.500 -0.300
24 Rockies 4 0.500 0.000 0.500 0.000
25 Pirates 1 0.600 0.000 0.700 -0.100
26 Tigers 0.400 0.667 0.500 -0.100
27 Marlins 1 0.400 1.000 0.400 0.000
28 *Padres 3 0.600 0.667 0.400 0.200
29 Indians 0.400 0.333 0.900 -0.500
30 Padres 4 0.400 0.750 0.500 -0.100
31 Pirates 2 0.700 0.333 0.500 0.200
32 Dodgers 4 0.800 1.000 0.700 0.100
33 A’s 0.400 0.500 0.400 0.000
34 Dbacks 3 0.600 0.333 0.400 0.200
35 Cubs 2 0.500 0.333 0.700 -0.200
36 Nationals 2 0.600 0.667 0.600 0.000
37 Marlins 2 0.500 0.667 0.800 -0.300
38 Phillies 2 0.400 0.500 0.400 0.000
39 Brewers 2 0.600 0.333 0.600 0.000
40 Dbacks 4 0.400 1.000 0.900 -0.500
41 Padres 5 0.300 0.667 0.600 -0.300
42 Cardinals 2 0.300 0.667 0.778 -0.478
43 Rockies 5 0.400 0.666 0.857 -0.457
44 White Sox 0.200 0.667 0.667 -0.467

I omitted the first series against the Diamondbacks and the last series against the Dodgers because there was no series before the first series and no series after the most recent ones, so they would not be useful for the purpose of the table. And the asterisk before the name of a series (for example *Dodgers 1) means that the team played the Giants again soon enough that those games were included in the Win Pct After section too.

Okay, so, that’s a big table and it’s hard to see any correlations there. Here’s all of that data in a chart, though, and if you want a spoiler, it’s gonna be too messy for you to really see what’s going on. But you definitely can see that the Giants have lost a lot of games this year! Ha ha ha, what fun.

Of course, the correlation we’re really looking for is between the record against the Giants and how the team’s winning percentage changed. You can see that here:

“Hey, that doesn’t look like much of a correlation at all,” you’re probably saying. “But can you throw a trendline on there just so I can be sure a computer agrees with me?” Sure can!

As you can see, there’s actually been a slight negative correlation between teams winning against the Giants and improving their record. Now, in the interests of fairness, if you look at the first chart, you’ll see that teams who had been unusually bad (.200-.300 winning percentage) did play much better after facing the Giants. But does that really mean the Giants fixed them, or do most teams play much better after a 10 game stretch of abysmal baseball? They are major league teams. They have talent. They tend to pull out of tailspins.

So in conclusion, no, it doesn’t look like the Giants are a get-well team for the rest of baseball. If the Dodgers start winning again, it’ll be because they’re an extremely talented baseball team and not because they played the butt-ass Giants and thought, “Oh right, winning, we should do winning. Thanks, Giants!” So no matter what the Dodgers do over the rest of the season, it was not the Giants that fixed them.