Won a day: For some, point in week seems to matter
Braves lost 12 straight games on Mondays; Royals have great success on Tuesdays
Aches and pains have become built-in sensations. Off-days are gratifying and necessary reprieves. The calendar has morphed into a target, upon which players struggle like misguided archers to pinpoint the proper day or week.
"Once you get to this part of the season, I don't even know if it's morning or night sometimes," said Indians infielder Jason Donald. "Everything just kind of runs together now."
For some teams, though, there appears to be a way to distinguish between days of the week.
During much of this season, the Braves suffered from a caustic case of the Mondays.
For the Indians, the weekend has been a downer.
On the other hand, the Royals' 15-6 record on Tuesdays has been a big contributor to their third-place standing in the American League Central.
Whatever the explanation, some teams have racked up eye-catching results on specific days of the week. Atlanta's notorious streak of manic Mondays earned plenty of attention, as the Braves dropped their first 12 games played on that day.
After the 12th defeat, third baseman Chipper Jones referred to the innocent day as "Monday, bloody Monday." To combat a 13th consecutive loss, the Braves united in hiking up their pant legs and displaying their stirrups. Coincidentally or not, Atlanta snapped its hex with an 8-2 triumph over Miami on July 30.
"I figured if it was brought to everyone's attention, we might play a little harder," Jones said. "It didn't work [the previous week]. But it's my job to change things up around here when they're not going good. The socks worked."
During the dozen Monday losses, the Braves batted .186 with a .498 OPS. They had at least a .235 team average and .646 OPS on every other day of the week.
"For whatever reason, we leave the bats at home on Mondays," Jones said. "I think everyone was a little tired of hearing about it."
The Braves, who conversely have mounted a 16-4 record on Fridays, aren't alone in their mysterious ways.
The Astros haven't found much success on any given day, but they have dropped 13 of their last 14 Wednesday tilts and seven consecutive Thursday contests.
Baltimore endured a stretch of eight straight Monday losses earlier in the year. The Royals are 4-13 on Mondays and 5-16 on Fridays, but are 15-6 on Tuesdays. The Angels have followed up a seven-game Sunday win streak with a six-game drought.
The Indians are slightly below .500 during the week, but the bottom has fallen out for the Tribe on the weekends. They are 8-14 on Saturdays and 6-16 on Sundays.
Of course, to even acknowledge such things, a player must be cognizant of the day of the week. At this point in the season, that is no easy task.
"I never know which day of the week it is unless it's Sunday, because it's usually a day game," Donald said.
One of Donald's teammates, sidewinding reliever Joe Smith, said players were tested on which day of the week it was when he was with the Mets earlier in his career.
"You get in those ruts where you don't know," Smith said. "We actually had a guy in 2008 in Spring Training who came around to every guy and said, 'What day is today?' It's the same thing. Spring Training in March gets boring and in August you can fall into that same thing. It's the dog days for a reason."
The Rangers have a winning record on every day of the week. First baseman Mitch Moreland attributed his club's consistency to the players mastering daily habits.
"You definitely get in a routine by this point in the season and try to repeat each day, especially the ones that seem to be more successful," Moreland said. "The days do run together. Every day is game day."
Since getting the Monday monkey off their backs, the Braves have split their past six contests played on the first day of the traditional workweek.
Players might claim ignorance to paying any mind, but a 12-game losing streak on a particular day defies logic, so every member of the Braves knows when Monday rolls around.
For certain teams, it's "just one of those days" more often than usual.
"It's just one of those things," Braves skipper Fredi Gonzalez said. "I really couldn't put a finger on it. If I answer it I'm going to sound stupid, so I'm not even going to answer it or try to put any reason behind it or logic behind it."