Playoffs


MLB League Division Series Predictions

MLB playoffs are a pretty good reason to make some time and finally write something on here again. Let me know your predictions in the comments and I’ll keep a running tally throughout the playoffs.

New York Yankees (95-67) vs. Baltimore Orioles (93-69)

This Baltimore Orioles just don’t quit. I was upset back in April when the Jays lost 5 out of 6 to this team thinking how can they lose to a basement dweller but boy was I wrong.

The Orioles lost the first four games against the Yankees this season (all in April) including two games in extra innings… after those two losses, Orioles did not lose an extra inning game THE ENTIRE SEASON. Yankees CC Sabathia went 0-2, 6.38 ERA and .312 avg against in 3 starts vs. Orioles this year.

I will take those two stats compounded with the first two games being in Baltimore helping knock out any nerves they may have and go with Orioles in 4.

 

Oakland Athletics (94-68) vs. Detroit Tigers (88-74)

The Athletics overcame a five game deficit with nine days to go and overtaking the Rangers on the last game of the season. Any team riding a hot streak like that can easily run the table in a short series but when you are going up against Verlander and Fister, you can find yourself one game away from elimination before you even know it. Also, Athletics will probably save themselves a lot of trouble by not pitching to the Triple Crown winner, Miguel Cabrera.

Being a big fan of Moneyball, nothing would make me happier than the Athletics finally getting around to winning the World Series but I just don’t see that happening here. Tigers in 5.

 

Cincinnati Reds (97-65) vs. San Francisco Giants (94-68)

I am still not sure how Cincinnati won 97 games this year but behind Johnny Cueto (19-9, 2.78 ERA, 170 strikeouts), they have a very good chance of beating Matt Cain and the Giants on the road. Joey Votto and Jay Bruce lead a pretty decent offense that could give the Giants some trouble.

The Giants’ will need all the help they can get from their rotation after Cain especially Lincecum who finished the season with only 10 wins and a 5+ ERA but I don’t know if Buster Posey and company can do enough to move on. Reds in 4.

 

Washington Nationals (98-64) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (88-74)

Anything short of a World Series win by this Nationals squad which feed fuel to the fire to the decision of shutting down Stephen Strasburg (15-6, 3.16) for the season. That said, the team went 13-11 after shutting him down and still won the division rather comfortably.

The Cardinals, who every one though would struggle to make the post-season after losing Pujols, beat the Braves in controversial fashion but I think that is as far as they will go as the Nationals are still too strong for St. Louis even without a starting pitcher. Nationals in 4.

 

 


MLB Playoff Predictions 1

After a crazy finish to the regular season, I’m not sure I want to do this but I will. If you want to submit your Playoffs predictions, feel free. Keep in mind that I wrote this before either game started and I did not change it after the Yankee rain postponement tonight.

Rays over Rangers in 4
Tigers over Yankees in 5

I think Rays ride their hot streak to easily take care of the Rangers in 4. The other series should be a lot more interesting.

The Yanks definitely have the better ERA but the Tigers’ staff was better in terms of quality starts – that can certainly go a long way in the playoffs. I give Verlander the edge over CC and if the Yankees bullpen has a hiccup or two, they will be one and done.

Phillies over Cardinals in 4
Diamondbacks over Brewers in 5

At the beginning of the season, I thought 97.5 was a high O/U number forPhiladelphiaand they surpassed it. Although it kills me to root for the Phillies, I can’t go against Roy Halladay and they should have no problem surpassing the Cards who should not have even made the playoffs if it wasn’t for the massive Atlanta collapse.

On paper, the Brewers are a better team than the Diamondbacks by a mile but that is why you play the game. Personally I have an interest in seeingArizonado well with the Jays trading Aaron Hill and Johnny Mac to them this season.

Tigers over Rays in 6
Diamondbacks over Phillies in 7

Tigers over D-backs in 6

But I will revise the later rounds as we move along. What are your picks?


Baseball’s Unlikely Regular Season Finish

A great piece by Nate Silver over at FiveThirtyEight on how unlikely the events of the last day of the Major League Baseball season actually were. Below is just a sample:

The following is not mathematically rigorous, since the events of yesterday evening were contingent upon one another in various ways. But just for fun, let’s put all of them together in sequence:

  • The Red Sox had just a 0.3 percent chance of failing to make the playoffs on Sept. 3.
  • The Rays had just a 0.3 percent chance of coming back after trailing 7-0 with two innings to play.
  • The Red Sox had only about a 2 percent chance of losing their game against Baltimore, when the Orioles were down to their last strike.
  • The Rays had about a 2 percent chance of winning in the bottom of the 9th, with Johnson also down to his last strike.

Multiply those four probabilities together, and you get a combined probability of about one chance in 278 million of all these events coming together in quite this way.


Well Done, Miami.

Call it what you want. It was unnecessary, stupid, down right cocky and it definitely was celebratory. This is something I would have expected from LeBron, not Wade but teammate tendencies certainly have ways of rubbing off on you. They had seen what Dallas had already done in the playoffs before against huge deficits with time left on the clock but I guess you have to witness it yourself to believe it.

With the next 3 games in Dallas now, the series may never even come back to Miami for a Game 6. I think it will, just so Dallas can win it on the road. Mavs in 6.


Is The Baseball System Really Broken?

I had yet to decide whether I thought the baseball system as it is, was broken or not but after doing just some simple research, I think I am ready to say that it is okay… for now.

There is no denying that there are the lopsided salaries in just a handful of teams but there have also been 9 different World Series champions (Arizona, Anaheim, Florida, Boston, Chicago (AL), St. Louis, Philadelphia, New York (AL), and San Francisco) in the past 10 years as well as 14 different teams (add Colorado, Detroit, Houston, Tampa Bay and Texas) who have played in the World Series in that same stretch of time. That is just about half the league.

After that, make note of the fact that Minnesota, Detroit, Cleveland, Oakland, Seattle, New York (NL), Atlanta, Chicago (NL), Cincinnati, Milwaukee and San Diego have also made the playoffs in the last 10 years and that brings the total up to 25 teams leaving just the Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Washington Nationals, and Pittsburgh Pirates to not make it into the postseason.

That is a pretty awesome system where 83% of your league has been in the playoffs in the last decade but baseball has done a really poor job in trying to capitalize off of that. Instead all we hear in the news is of steroids, players not signing extensions and botched efforts to try and keep the all star game relevant.

I would also be interested in seeing similar numbers for other major sports and if I had to guess, I would say NBA is the worst in terms of percentage of teams making the post season in the last decade but I would think NHL and NFL are right up there with the MLB. Maybe if I get time over the weekend, I will pull up those numbers as well.

As for the 5 teams left to make the playoffs since the 2001 season, who do you think will make it there first? I will say either the Washington Nationals or the Toronto Blue Jays but I don’t think either of those two will happen this year, or the next.