This chart is fantastic work from Amanda Cox and Joe Ward at NYT. It tracked the baseball Tigers' season, showing how they peaked in early August (with a 10 games lead) and limped into the playoffs, five days after losing the division title. That slide, beginning in mid-September, set them back 4.5 months. (It would help to label the 5 games behind the leader line.)
The shading to show which team(s) were chasing them is a stroke of genius.
Further, the dot plots on the right very cleanly brings out their advantage in pitching. The hitting numbers are mixed.
The following chart is for the Cardinals:
Reference: "World Series Preview", New York Times, Oct 21 2006.