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The Game After

The blog Tiger Tales recently studied whether or not a team has a higher success rate than normal in the game following a walk-off win.

He came to the conclusion that overall, there is not a significant statistical difference in performance in the following game.

So I went through my database and compiled how the Mets did in the game following a walk-off win, disqualifying games that marked the completion of a season or were ties (1 instance of a tie).

With Friday's win, the Mets improved to 182-169 in games that followed a walk-off win (including postseason). That's a win percentage of .519. Tiger Tales suggests that you compare that to the team's home win percentage, since in an overwhelming number of instances, your next game following a walk-off win is at home (not 100% sure of that, but seems like a reasonable premise). The Mets overall home win percentage, including postseason, is .514 by my computations.

So statistically speaking, it looks like there is no impact. I've had similar discussions with those in the sports statistics biz and they've come to the same conclusion.

But sometimes I think we're overgeneralizing by saying that. There are cases in which I think teams do play better post walk-off.

The 1969 Mets went 10-1 in games that followed a walk-off win. The statistically inclined might call that a small-sample sized fluke, but I think there's something to the idea that they played better post walk-off. Tom Seaver's "imperfect" game came the game after a huge walk-off win over the Cubs. The division-clinching shutout of the Cardinals came the game after a walk-off win. The World Series-clinching win over the Orioles came a game after a walk-off win.

The 1986 Mets went only 6-5 in games following a walk-off win, but their two biggest wins- the pennant clincher against the Astros and the World Series-clincher against the Red Sox- followed walk-off wins. As Sparky Anderson said on the CBS Radio broadcast, describing how he thought the Mets would fare in Game 7 of the World Series: "They'll come out looking like they're on stilts." That didn't exactly happen, but people in the ballpark that night tell me that they could feel it in the air that the Mets would not lose.

So I'll leave it to you to judge.

The day after a walk-off win, the Mets fan knows that...

The Mets are 4-2 in games that follow a walk-off win in 2008.

The 1975 Mets went a team-worst 0-6 in the game following a walk-off win.

The Mets have had two walk-off wins against the Tigers (both in 2004). One came in the game after a walk-off win.


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