Roberto Perez leads off the bottom of the 6th with a solo home run and Francisco Lindor follows him up by hitting a solo home run of his own
You can see the case for each side. When the Dodgers started their 10-game losing streak by Of course, you can't toss out the streaks as mere luck and act like they haven't added new information. The Dodgers, for example, are obviously better than they've been playing, yet concerns about Corey Seager's right elbow, Alex Wood's velocity, and the hitting struggles of Yasmani Grandal, Logan Forsythe and Curtis Granderson are real issues headed into October. If the team isn't this bad, it was probably never as good as it seemed at its peak, either.
So if what these teams are now is closer to their true talent level, then what we have is a Cleveland team that upped its winning percentage from .552 to .608, cutting the odds of an 18-game streak from 1 in 44,166 to 1 in 7,757, or about seven times as likely based on the big improvement in winning percentage.
Since the Dodgers (.643) now look worse than they did both when the 10-game streak started (.692) and the 15-of-16 skid did (.717), their odds are cut, too, but it's still more shocking than the Tribe's win streak. A .643 team would have had a 1 in 29,737 shot of losing 10 in a row -- and a 1 in 14,365,096 chance of losing 16 in a row.
There's another way to look at this, and that's in advanced projections. That is, by looking at each player's expected performance and expected playing time, you can project how well a team is expected to play. You may remember we did exactly this in January, raising some eyes by saying the Dodgers already projected to be as good or better than the Cubs, before they had a second baseman, Yu Darvish or knew anything about Chris Taylor. At the time, Cubs fans revolted, but projections are often worthwhile ways of taking emotions out of the equation and looking ahead.
This is likely to be controversial, but it won't be: Cleveland will lose games before the season ends. Los Angeles will win games, several of them. Based on the past two weeks, these are the best and worst teams in baseball history, and yet you can't simply throw out the information we learned over the first four-plus months of the season.
Taking all of that into account -- the elite Dodgers playing awfully, and the good Indians playing unbelievably -- the current projections, which don't factor in opponent strength, see both clubs as being about equal the rest of the year. Cleveland is projected with a .597 winning percentage, well above the .552 it was at when it started its run; Los Angeles is projected at .593, well below the .717 or .692 it was at for the start of its pair of terrible stretches.
Those numbers may be the best expression of their true talent, and it's worth noting they're not dissimilar to the .597 (Dodgers) and .577 (Indians) projected numbers we saw all the way back in April. If so, Cleveland's run of 18 wins from a projected .597 team would be 1 in 10,775, and for once that's less likely than the 1 in 8,017 odds of a .593 Dodgers team losing 10 in a row.
Again, though, that single 1-0 Dodgers win changes everything. If not for that, the odds of a .593 team losing 16 in a row are only 1 in 763,962. Or perhaps that ought to be "only," really. No matter which numbers you use, these streaks are nearly unprecedented. The only thing we know for sure is that they won't last forever. Probably.
Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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