Getting a quick soar – by G. Scott Thomas

No one desires to start a yr the best way the Baltimore Orioles did in 1988 — losing their first 21 games — however a fast begin actually isn’t essential, is it? The season is a prolonged grind. What distinction might a few unhealthy weeks in April make?

Fairly a distinction, it seems.

Check out final yr — particularly, the primary 18 video games of 2022. I decide that quantity as a result of it divides properly into the season as a complete, representing exactly one-ninth of your complete schedule.

Consider it this manner: If we have been to view the full season as a single nine-inning contest, the primary ninth (that’s, the primary 18 video games) can be the equal of the primary inning.

Groups regularly battle again to win after falling behind within the opening inning, after all, however it’s clearly higher to leap out on high. The identical holds true with the lengthy season. A powerful begin within the first 18 video games often pays dividends in October.

4 of final yr’s 12 playoff groups gained at the least a dozen of their first 18 video games. One other three playoff-bound golf equipment went 11-7. Solely three of the groups that made the postseason have been under .500 on the 18-game mark.

The 30 big-league golf equipment are cut up into 5 classes under, primarily based on their 18-game begins in 2022. Full-season averages of wins and losses are proven for every group, together with lists of playoff qualifiers and non-qualifiers.

The lesson — with 2023’s opening day a bit greater than 48 hours away — is related to every one. It clearly pays to start out profitable as quickly as doable.

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  • Groups in 2022: 5

  • Common full-season document: 96.8 wins, 65.2 losses

  • Certified for playoffs: 4

  • Qualifiers (18-game document in parentheses): New York Mets (13-5), Los Angeles Dodgers (12-6), New York Yankees (12-6), Toronto Blue Jays (12-6)

  • Didn’t qualify for playoffs: 1

  • Non-qualifiers (18-game document in parentheses): San Francisco Giants (13-5)

  • Groups in 2022: 5

  • Common full-season document: 86.2 wins, 75.8 losses

  • Certified for playoffs (with 18-game document): 3

  • Qualifiers (18-game document in parentheses): San Diego Padres (11-7), Seattle Mariners (11-7), St. Louis Cardinals (11-7)

  • Didn’t qualify for playoffs: 2

  • Non-qualifiers (18-game document in parentheses): Los Angeles Angels (11-7), Milwaukee Brewers (11-7)

  • Groups in 2022: 10

  • Common full-season document: 79.1 wins, 82.9 losses

  • Certified for playoffs (with 18-game document): 4

  • Qualifiers (18-game document in parentheses): Tampa Bay Rays (10-8), Houston Astros (9-9), Atlanta Braves (8-10), Philadelphia Phillies (8-10)

  • Didn’t qualify for playoffs: 6

  • Non-qualifiers (18-game document in parentheses): Colorado Rockies (10-8), Miami Marlins (10-8), Minnesota Twins (10-8), Oakland Athletics (9-9), Chicago Cubs (8-10), Pittsburgh Pirates (8-10)

  • Groups in 2022: 5

  • Common full-season document: 78.0 wins, 84.0 losses

  • Certified for playoffs (with 18-game document): 1

  • Qualifiers (18-game document in parentheses): Cleveland Guardians (7-11)

  • Didn’t qualify for playoffs: 4

  • Non-qualifiers (18-game document in parentheses): Arizona Diamondbacks (7-11), Boston Crimson Sox (7-11), Chicago White Sox (7-11), Kansas Metropolis Royals (7-11)

  • Groups in 2022: 5

  • Common full-season document: 66.8 wins, 95.2 losses

  • Certified for playoffs (with 18-game document): 0

  • Qualifiers (18-game document in parentheses): (none)

  • Didn’t qualify for playoffs: 5

  • Non-qualifiers (18-game document in parentheses): Baltimore Orioles (6-12), Detroit Tigers (6-12), Texas Rangers (6-12), Washington Nationals (6-12), Cincinnati Reds (3-15)