BP's Playoff Odds Report
Simulating every team's chances of reaching October
Posted: Monday September 17, 2007 12:29PM; Updated: Tuesday September 18, 2007 12:51PM
Since we introduced the Playoff Odds Report last week, there's been volcanic movement in the National League's playoff picture. The Cubs and Brewers may still be tied in the loss column -- a distinction that sounds impressive but really isn't -- but they've gone from a fairly even heat in the Playoff Odds (50 percent-43 percent, favoring the Cubs) to a fairly commanding lead for the Chicagoans, 71 percent-29 percent.
Much of the difference in the two teams' chances going forward is based on the strength of their schedules -- the Cubs' remaining games look like a dregs of the National League tour (Cincinnati, Florida, Pittsburgh), while the Brewers have to play eight games against teams with winning records (San Diego and Atlanta). The Cubs' success last week was achieved on the backs of the Cardinals, against whom they took three out of four over the weekend. The Cardinals haven't flatlined yet, but with seven games left against the Phillies, Brewers, and Mets, it's just a matter of time.
In the NL West, the Rockies' surge into contention was a little like a meteor shower-- no sooner do you notice it's happening than it's over. The Dodgers suffered a tough loss against the Diamondbacks on Sunday, with waiver pickup Esteban Loaiza imitating Steve Blass with seven walks (only one intentional) over 4 2/3 innings. That loss, combined with wins by all their division opponents and the Phillies' continued surge dropped the Dodgers' playoff odds by almost 16 percent in a single day. The big winner in the West last week was San Diego, who picked up much of the ground that Colorado and Los Angeles lost.
Meanwhile, the American League is down to a single race, Yankees versus Tigers for the Wild Card. New York's huge edge in the playoff odds is built on the system rating them as a significantly better team than Detroit; the Tigers' three-game set against Cleveland aside, they have a somewhat easier schedule than the Bronx Bombers down the stretch -- Kansas City and Cleveland at home, the Indians and White Sox on the road. Meanwhile, the Yankees' stretch drive features six games against the Orioles, a team that's played them extremely tough all season long (Baltimore's 8-4 against the Yankees in 2007). So hang on to your hats, because this one isn't quite finished, not yet.
For more on the methodology of the Report, click here. (Updated on the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 18.)
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