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How Things Shape Up, Sept. 11 edition

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#1 IndianaTwin

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 06:30 AM

Perspective.

 

That’s my thought as we consider having lost the last two games in Kansas City. Winning those two would have helped us open up some distance on the field and effectively eliminate the Royals.

 

But we didn’t.

 

However, the reality is that we still had what I would consider a net gain in the race for the second Wild Card over the last few days. Let’s take a look at where the standings shape up now compared to when we arrived in the city of barbecue on Thursday.

 

Before:
Yankees +1.5
Twins   ----
Angels  -0.5
Orioles  -1.0
Texas   -2.0
Royals  -2.5
Rays    -3.0
Mariners -3.5

 

After:
Yankees +3.5
Twins   ---
Angels  -1.0
Royals  -2.5
Rangers -2.5
Mariners -3.0
Orioles -3.0
Rays    -3.5

 

So, while we lost two games to the Yankees, the reality is that we gained four days and a half game on the closest follower – the Angels. And where there were three teams within two games of the Twins, now there is just one.

Overall, they lost two on the Yankees and a half-game on the Rangers and Mariners, but they stayed even with the Royals and picked up a half-game on the Angels and Rays and two games on the Orioles.

 

The herd could get thinned in this next several days, based on the results of these series:

  • Padres at Twins
  • White Sox at Royals
  • Orioles at Blue Jays
  • Yankees at Rays
  • Mariners at Rangers
  • Astros at Angels. 

 

Here’s the team-by-team snapshot view of the teams in contention, with data from baseball-reference.com and fivethirtyeight.com. Scroll to the end if you need explanatory notes.

YANKEES

  • Record: 77-65.
  • Games ahead/back: +3.5
  • Luck: -9
  • 538.com projection: 89-73
  • 538.com playoff likelihood: 95%
  • Games against good: None.
  • Games against middle: Home 11 (Min 3, Bal 4, TB 3, KC 1), Road 3 (TB 3).
  • Games against bad: Home 3 (Tor 3), Road 3 (Tor 3).
  • Average record for remaining games: 69-72.
  • Summary: Their Pythagorean Winning Percentage (PWP) has them 9 games better than their actual record. They are the only team in the mix with no games remaining against a good team. They also have 12 of their remaining 20 games at home, including 11 of 14 of the games against teams remaining in the WC chase. Based on all that, I think it will be tough for the Twins to catch them unless the Twins sweep them next week.

TWINS

  • Record: 74-69.
  • Games ahead/back: ---
  • Luck: 3.
  • 538.com projection: 84-78.
  • 538.com playoff likelihood: 45%
  • Games against good: Road 3 (Cle 3).
  • Games against middle: Road 3 (NYY 3).
  • Games against bad: Home 9 (Tor 4, Det 3, SD 2), Road 4 (Det 4).
  • Average record for remaining games: 67-72.
  • Summary: The knock on the Twins is that they have over-performed according to Pythagoras, but most of the teams chasing them have as well, with the Yankees and Rangers as the exceptions. In addition, the Twins have the easiest remaining schedule, both in terms of remaining record and in terms of having 13 of their remaining 19 games against bad teams, with 9 of those games at home. Even the remaining series with Cleveland comes at a point when they maybe will have lost a game and may be working to set up rotation for the playoffs. The Royals and Yankees have the next-easiest schedules.

LA ANGELS

  • Record: 73-70.
  • Games ahead/back: -1
  • Luck: 1
  • 538.com projection: 83-79
  • 538.com playoff likelihood: 26%
  • Games against good: Home 6 (Cle 3, Hou 3), Road 3 (Hou 3).
  • Games against middle: Home 6 (Sea 3, Tex 3).
  • Games against bad: Road 4 (CWS 4).
  • Average record for remaining games: 73-66.
  • Summary: As of today, they are the only team within a game of the Twins, but they match Tampa Bay as having the toughest remaining schedule, with nearly half of their games against Houston (6) and Cleveland (3). Go ‘Stros!.

ROYALS

  • Record: 71-71.
  • Games ahead/back: -2.5.
  • Luck: 6
  • 538.com projection: 80-82
  • 538.com playoff likelihood: 5%
  • Games against good: Home 3 (Ariz 3), Road 4 (Cle 4).
  • Games against middle: Road 1 (NYY 1).
  • Games against bad: Home 6 (CWS 3, Det 3), Road 6 (Tor 3, CWS 3).
  • Average record for remaining games: 68-72.
  • Summary: The Royals may saved their season by getting the last two games against the Twins, but they still in a tough spot, having been the luckiest team and still being 2.5 games out. What they do have going for them is that they have 12 of their remaining 20 games against bad teams, though they also have to insert a one-game trip to New York. Only the Twins have an easier schedule remaining.

RANGERS

  • Record: 71-71.
  • Games ahead/back: -2.5.
  • Luck: -3
  • 538.com projection: 82-80
  • 538.com playoff likelihood: 16%
  • Games against good: Home 3 (Hou 3).
  • Games against middle: Home 4 (Sea 4), Road 6 (LAA 3, Sea 3).
  • Games against bad: Home 4 (Oak 4), Road 3 (Oak 3).
  • Average record for remaining games: 69-70.
  • Summary: Aside from the Yankees, the Rangers are the only team in which PWP regression would suggest that they pick up a game or two. They have a generally easier schedule, with just 3 home games against Houston. Oakland could be our friend by spoiling 4-5 of their remaining 7 games with the Rangers.

ORIOLES

  • Record: 71-72.
  • Games ahead/back: -3
  • Luck: 3
  • 538.com projection: 80-82
  • 538.com playoff likelihood: 5%
  • Games against good: Home 3 (Bos 3).
  • Games against middle: Home 4 (TB 4), Road 7 (NYY 4, TB 3).
  • Games against bad: Road 5 (Pit 2, Tor 3).
  • Average record for remaining games: 72-68.
  • Summary: The Orioles have been as lucky as the Twins and have one of the tougher schedules, playing seven games with the teams going after their division title (three in Boston and four with New York) and seven with the Rays. The Indians series came at an inopportune time, as they were the only team to get swept this weekend.

MARINERS

  • Record: 71-72
  • Games ahead/back: -3
  • Luck: 2
  • 538.com projection: 79-83
  • 538.com playoff likelihood: 4%
  • Games against good: Home 3 (Cle 3), Road 3 (Hou 3).
  • Games against middle: Home 3 (Tex 3), Road 7 (LAA 3, Tex 4).
  • Games against bad: Road 3 (Oak 3).
  • Average record for remaining games: 73-66.
  • Summary: They are 3 games out, with five teams to pass, and a tough schedule. No wonder fivethirtyeight.com gives them only a 4 percent chance.

RAYS

  • Record: 71-73
  • Games ahead/back: -3.5
  • Luck: 0
  • 538.com projection: 79-83
  • 538.com playoff likelihood: 2%
  • Games against good: Home 5 (Bos 2, Cubs 2).
  • Games against middle: Home 6 (Bal 3, NYY 3), Road 7 (Bal 4, NYY 3).
  • Games against bad: 0.
  • Average record for remaining games: 75-65.
  • Summary: They are 3.5 games out, with six teams to pass, and the toughest remaining schedule. Even their remaining games aren’t against teams that “matter,” since they have five with the Cubs and Boston and six against a Yankee team they aren’t going to catch, so winning games won’t give losses to the teams immediately ahead of them. They have the toughest row to hoe in every way.

 

 

Explanatory notes:

Team name: Duh.

  • Record: Actual won-loss record.
  • Games ahead/back: (In the second Wild Card chase).
  • Luck: (this compares their Pythagorean record to their actual record, giving a suggestion of whether they are over- or under-performing. A team with a positive number (like the Twins have been for most of the year) has won more games than their runs scored/allowed would suggest).
  • 538.com projection: The final projected record based on 100,000 simulations of the remaining season, using starting pitching data, days off, and travel distances. See https://projects.fiv...lb-predictions/.
  • 538.com playoff likelihood: Likelihood of making the playoffs based on those simulations.
  • Games remaining against “good” teams: I’ve noted how many games remaining the team has against the three “good” teams in the league, which happen to be the three division leaders – Houston, Cleveland, and Boston. Because Boston is leading the division and is well ahead of the Yankees, and because the Yankees are in the Wild-Card chase, I drew the line between Boston and Yankees as the marker between “good” and “middle.”
  • Games against “middle” teams: Games remaining against the teams that are in the middle segment of the league (Yankees, Twins, Angels, Texas, Baltimore, Seattle, Toronto, Kansas City).
  • Games against the “bad” teams: Games against the teams that have struggled (Toronto, Detroit, Oakland, White Sox).
    • (Note: There are a few remaining interleague games which are added into the groupings.)
  • Average record for remaining games: A quantifiable measure of their remaining strength of schedule, this is the average current record for their remaining opponents.
  • Summary: My comments.
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#2 USAFChief

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 06:54 AM

Turning Saturday into a loss hurts.  It needn't be fatal, but an opportunity missed for sure.

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I am not the paranoid you're looking for.


#3 Bill Brown69

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 06:59 AM

I am sure hoping for 86 wins before Sept is over.


#4 drjim

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 07:58 AM

The Twins can take care of business this week. 4 or 5 wins out of the 6 games.

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#5 gunnarthor

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 08:15 AM

NIce write up. It sure is fun to be playing meaningful games in September.

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#6 IndianaTwin

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 09:30 AM

By the way, if people find this interesting/helpful, I'm game for updating it after each series. 

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#7 goulik

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 10:23 AM

 

By the way, if people find this interesting/helpful, I'm game for updating it after each series. 

After each series would indeed be fun! Thank you for the two already and yes, please continue!

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#8 Mike Sixel

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 11:29 AM

That is a GREAT post. Nicely done!

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I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#9 spinowner

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 06:36 PM

To add to the analysis of the Twins: they have no games remaining against any of the other six wild card contenders. That means that none of the other teams is guaranteed to gain on the Twins with a win. While it also means that the Twins are not guaranteed to increase their lead against a team with a win it puts more pressure on the trailing teams to win.

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eiπ + 1 = 0


#10 spinowner

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 06:38 PM

 

RAYS

  • Even their remaining games aren’t against teams that “matter,”

 

This is inaccurate. As was stated in the analysis of the Orioles, Tampa Bay and Baltimore play each other seven more times.

Edited by spinowner, 11 September 2017 - 06:39 PM.

eiπ + 1 = 0


#11 IndianaTwin

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 06:50 PM

 

This is inaccurate. As was stated in the analysis of the Orioles, Tampa Bay and Baltimore play each other seven more times.

 

My bad -- I've got too many lines on my cheat sheets. That's a comment that should have been made about the Royals, whose only game remaining with the teams they are competing against being the makeup game with the Yankees.  

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#12 IndianaTwin

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 06:50 PM

 

To add to the analysis of the Twins: they have no games remaining against any of the other six wild card contenders. That means that none of the other teams is guaranteed to gain on the Twins with a win. While it also means that the Twins are not guaranteed to increase their lead against a team with a win it puts more pressure on the trailing teams to win.

 

Excellent point. 


#13 spinowner

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 06:58 PM

 

To add to the analysis of the Twins: they have no games remaining against any of the other six wild card contenders. That means that none of the other teams is guaranteed to gain on the Twins with a win. While it also means that the Twins are not guaranteed to increase their lead against a team with a win it puts more pressure on the trailing teams to win.

 

 

Excellent point. 

I'm not being completely accurate here. For the sake of simplicity I conceded the first wild card to the Yankees and looked only at the remaining seven teams.

Edited by spinowner, 11 September 2017 - 06:58 PM.

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eiπ + 1 = 0


#14 spinowner

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 07:13 PM

 

I'm not being completely accurate here. For the sake of simplicity I conceded the first wild card to the Yankees and looked only at the remaining seven teams.

I suppose it's bad form to quote myself but I'm pointing out that it was bad form for me to omit the Yankees from consideration. Going into tonight's game they have 14 of their remaining 20 games against the other teams legitimately challenging for a wild card berth. This means that in spite of their lead a losing spell makes them more vulnerable than a team with few games left against the other contenders. This also means that a winning spell effectively guarantees them a one of the two wild card berths.

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eiπ + 1 = 0


#15 IndianaTwin

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 07:39 PM

 

I suppose it's bad form to quote myself but I'm pointing out that it was bad form for me to omit the Yankees from consideration. Going into tonight's game they have 14 of their remaining 20 games against the other teams legitimately challenging for a wild card berth. This means that in spite of their lead a losing spell makes them more vulnerable than a team with few games left against the other contenders. This also means that a winning spell effectively guarantees them a one of the two wild card berths.

 

I've been including them, but in my mind I'm generally where you are. In reality, I think the Yankees are a better team than the Twins and any of the teams that are chasing them, plus they are playing 17 of their last 20 in New York thanks to already having 14 home games and having the three Tampa Bay games moved to Citi Field.

 

Because of how tough they will be to catch, I won't even be too disappointed if they sweep the Rays, for example, since it will effectively wipe them out. If the Rays sweep, they become a bigger problem for the Twins. 

 

 

Edited by IndianaTwin, 11 September 2017 - 07:40 PM.

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#16 Old Twins Cap

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 07:40 PM

My take on this year and the wild card is that, aside from the Yankees, who have a clear advantage, there is not a team fighting to get in that has stellar credentials or an obvious advantage.

 

The teams fighting to get in are what they are: teams with potential but evident flaws.

 

There is little chance that one of them goes on a winning streak, or a losing streak.Thus, it will play out in the middle:a game here or there will make the difference.

 

I like the Twins predicament, but there is no substitute for playing good baseball.If they do that, they will qualify.If they don't, which they did not in the last two games in KC, they will likely be nipped by a team kind of, sort of playing better than they did.

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#17 spinowner

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 07:48 PM

I enjoy calculating how close teams are to elimination, and it's more complicated than just looking at current wins and losses. Going into tonight's games the Yankees have 77 wins, but because of games remaining against other the teams at least one of the three AL East teams in contention for the wild card will finish with at least 79 wins.

eiπ + 1 = 0


#18 IndianaTwin

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 08:42 PM

 

I enjoy calculating how close teams are to elimination, and it's more complicated than just looking at current wins and losses. Going into tonight's games the Yankees have 77 wins, but because of games remaining against other the teams at least one of the three AL East teams in contention for the wild card will finish with at least 79 wins.

 

I was doing the same kind of thing to see if the White Sox are officially eliminated, even though the "elimination number" is listed at 3. They do remain mathematically alive for a tie if they can win all 20 games and get to 76-86, but I'm not sure if they can do it if they don't win out. That is, I don't think they can get everyone to 87 losses.  

 

My process was to...

  1. Give the Sox 20 more wins to end up 76-86.
  2. Then, go through the remaining Boston, Houston, Cleveland, and New York games and let them win out.
  3. Give wins to the NL team in any remaining interleague games.
  4. By this time, some of the AL teams will have reached 87 losses, so I let them win the rest of their games.
  5. Repeat as long as possible.
  6. Then have the Twins lose out.
  7. Eventually you'll get to just a few series remaining. Baltimore and Toronto need to go 4-3 in either direction.
  8. That leaves the three-way of Seattle, LAA, and Texas, and there was a way to have them each up with 76-86 as well and create a four-way tie with the Sox for the second wild card. There may be ways to turn some of the other games and have the tie be more than four teams, but I don't think it can fewer than four. 

The Indians won and the Yankees and White Sox are each winning, which is part of the formula. The Orioles-Jays and Mariners-Rangers can go either way and work themselves out later. With a full slate of action tomorrow night, it could be very easy to have them eliminated, even if they win again and the Twins lose, which would have ESPN and others still listing the elimination number at 3.

Edited by IndianaTwin, 11 September 2017 - 08:47 PM.

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#19 snepp

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 08:54 PM

Overall a pretty solid night for the Twins thus far.

 

Orioles lose

Rays lose

Royals getting thwomped

Mariners losing, but to the Rangers.

 

Gain a 1/2 game on 4 teams, lose a 1/2 on one.

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#20 drjim

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 07:33 AM

 

Overall a pretty solid night for the Twins thus far.

 

Orioles lose

Rays lose

Royals getting thwomped

Mariners losing, but to the Rangers.

 

Gain a 1/2 game on 4 teams, lose a 1/2 on one.

 

Basically as good as the night could have gone.

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