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It's Not Time to Panic, Baseball Fans.

NEW YORK - APRIL 19:  Carlos Delgado #21 of the New York Mets stands in the field after grounding into a double play with bases loaded against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field on April 19, 2009 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Ira LiemanContributor IApril 22, 2009

The Mets are not a .500 team. 

I'm pretty sure Cleveland will win more games than it loses, and I don't think Toronto is going to win 2/3 of its games for the rest of the season.

Got that? 

So why is this a problem?

We're less than ten percent through the 2009 season and already we have fans complaining, ready to throw in the towel. 

Baseball is a game of streaks and slumps. Full of hitting slumps and streaky pitchers. 

I like to illustrate my point in articles or comments by using statistics. One must look at comparisons between data points in order to get the full story.

If a batter is hitting .300, on the surface it sounds good, but the texture of that number changes depending if the player is a career .260 hitter or a .330 hitter.

If a pitcher has a 4.50 ERA over their first three starts, the perspective changes whether their career ERA is 3.50 or 5.50.

After three starts, Johan Santana sports a sterling 0.46 ERA. Mark my words, he won't finish the year with that. We can expect he will regress back to somewhere between his 3.08 mean career ERA and last year's NL-leading 2.57 ERA. 

Albert Pujols may be the most statistically consistent active player in MLB.  However, his batting average sits under .300, which is 40 points below his career average and more than 60 points below his .357 BA last season. If Pujols doesn't get that batting average up, it will be a major surprise.

It all comes down to expectations.  It's part of following a player or team long-term to come up with predictions based on past performance, and explain away streaks or slumps with those expectations.

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