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How Things Shape Up, Sept. 21 edition

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#1 IndianaTwin

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 05:47 AM

Well, that pretty much sucked.

 

Probably not many of us were thinking the Twins could actually sweep the Yankees, and most of us probably weren’t even expecting two wins. But one, winning one would have been nice.

 

Unfortunately, the Twins’ 0-3 record against the Yankees makes it virtually impossible for the Twins to host the Wild Card Game. With 10 games to go and holding the tiebreaker advantage, the Yankees magic number is 4 in terms of clinching home field or better (the division) for the single-game play-in game to the American League Divisional Series. Add in the lead over the Angels, and the Yankees magic number is 2 against the Angels to clinch a playoff spot.

 

Fortunately, the Angels didn’t fare any better than the Twins, losing both its games to Cleveland, with one remaining today. Playing one less game let the Angels gain a half-game, but they missed out on an opportunity to close the gap. Texas, however, did take advantage of its opportunity, winning the first two over Seattle and closing to 2.5 games. Splits by the Royals and Rayls gained them 1.5 games, but they were starting from farther back.

All that action did lower the Twins playoff chances a bit, according to fivethirtyeight.com, which now puts the likelihood at 64 percent, down from 71 percent after Sunday’s action. The Angels are down a tick to 22 percent, while the Rangers increased their odds the most, jumping from 2 percent to a still-unlikely 9 percent. The Royals are at 2 percent, Seattle 1, and Toronto and Baltimore less than 1.

 

And in the other race that we’re watching, the Tigers magic number is 10 to assure that the White Sox end up with the worst record in the league. That’s important too, so I’ll be monitoring this.

 

Let’s take a look at where the standings shape up now compared to when the Twins entered the House that Ruth Built, that Jeter Rebuilt, and where Judge now presides as property manager for.

 

Before:
NYY  +4.0
Min   ---
LAA  -2.0
Sea   -4.5
KC    -5.0
Tex   -5.0
Bal    -5.5
TB    -5.5

 

After:
NYY  +7.0
Min    ---
LAA  -1.5
Tex    -2.5
KC    -3.5
Sea   -4.0
TB    -4.0
Bal   -5.5

 

When you lose three straight, it’s impossible to gain on teams that play two or three games. So, we lost 3 games to the Yankees, 2.5 to the Rangers, 1.5 to the Royals and Rays, and .5 to the Angels and Mariners. The only team we didn’t lose anything to is Baltimore, which also got swept.

 

Next up:
Cle @ LAA (1 in series conclusion)
Tex @ Sea (1 in series conclusion)
KC @ Tor (1 in series conclusion)
Min @ Det (4)
TB @ Bal (4)
NYY @ Tor
KC @ CWS
Hou @ LAA
Tex @ Oak
Cle @ Sea

 

Snapshot
Here’s the 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: 82-67.
  • Games ahead/back: +4.0
  • Luck: -9
  • 538.com projection: 91-71 (9-4 the rest of the way)
  • 538.com playoff likelihood: >99%
  • Remaining schedule: @ Tor (3), vs. KC (1), vs. TB (3), vs. Tor (3).
  • Average record for remaining games: 72-80.
  • Summary: Seven games up on the Twins with 10 to go, the race for the first Wild Card is essentially over. However, they have closed to within 3 of the BoSox. The two don’t play each other, so the Yankees will need some help if they hope to catch Boston. The Yankees do have an easy schedule, however, with six remaining games against Toronto, while Boston ends the season with a four-game series against Houston.

TWINS

  • Record: 78-74.
  • Games ahead/back: ---
  • Luck: 2.
  • 538.com projection: 83-79 (5-5).
  • 538.com playoff likelihood: 64%
  • Remaining schedule: @ Det (4), vs. Cle (3), vs. Det (3)
  • Average record for remaining games: 76-76.
  • Summary: The Twins have proven a resilient bunch, and resiliency will be the key following a stretch where they have now lost 5 of the last 6 heading into a 4-game series with the Tigers, a team that is struggling in its own right with just 2 wins in the last 10. Given that the Angels head to division-leading Houston after today, this is the Twins opportunity to break the race open over the Angels heading into the final week.

LA ANGELS

  • Record: 76-75.
  • Games ahead/back: -1.5
  • Luck: 1
  • 538.com projection: 82-80 (6-5)
  • 538.com playoff likelihood: 22%
  • Remaining schedule: Cle (1), @ Hou (3), @ CWS (4), vs. Sea (3).
  • Average record for remaining games: 76-75.
  • Summary: After today’s game Cleveland, the Angels head to Houston for another three-game set against a division leader. This is a huge series on a couple of fronts. Sure, there’s the reality that with the Twins facing Detroit, the Angels may need to win some games to stay afloat. But if the Twins don’t get some separation, they will put us in the very difficult ethical position of considering that we might need to root for the White Sox next week. As my mom used to say, however, let’s cross that bridge when we get to it.

RANGERS

  • Record: 75-76.
  • Games ahead/back: -2.5.
  • Luck: -3
  • 538.com projection: 81-81 (6-5)
  • 538.com playoff likelihood: 9%
  • Remaining schedule: @ Sea (1), @ Oak (3), Hou (3), Oak (4).
  • Average record for remaining games: 74-76.
  • Summary: I don’t exactly like it, but finally I can point to a team besides the Yankees that has done what it needs to do, winning the first two in their series against Seattle and cutting their deficit in half. Pythagoras is dead, but if he was alive he wouldn’t be surprised that the Rangers are playing themselves back in (if he cared, that is. He’s Greek, after all, and more likely concerned about the Euroleague.), since they are the one team in the WCII hunt that has underperformed so far. Aside from a series with Houston, they have a favorable remaining schedule, with seven games against the cellar-dwelling A’s.

ROYALS

  • Record: 74-77.
  • Games ahead/back: -3.5.
  • Luck: 5
  • 538.com projection: 79-83 (5-6)
  • 538.com playoff likelihood: 2%
  • Remaining schedule: @ Tor (1), @ CWS (3), @ NYY (1), Det (3), Ariz (3).
  • Average record for remaining games: 71-81.
  • Summary: A win against Toronto keeps them on the edge of the race with six games remaining against Chicago and Detroit, but their run differential remains horrible and they have three teams to climb. They might get the bad teams, but they have a make-up road game with New York injected into their schedule and end the season against division leading Arizona.

MARINERS

  • Record: 74-78
  • Games ahead/back: -4.0
  • Luck: 0
  • 538.com projection: 79-83 (5-5)
  • 538.com playoff likelihood: 2%
  • Remaining schedule: Tex (1), Cle (3), @ Oak (3), @ LAA (3).
  • Average record for remaining games: 80-72.
  • Summary: Being 4 games back with 10 to play is tough, particularly given that there are three other teams between you and the team you’re striving to reach. However, the Mariners do play 4 of their remaining 10 against the teams above them, so winning out would largely take care of them. However, there is no margin for error. Today’s game with Texas is essentially a must-win, as is sweeping the Angels at season’s end. In between lurks Cleveland, which has followed up its long winning streak by winning another four straight.

RAYS

  • Record: 74-78
  • Games ahead/back: -4.
  • Luck: 0
  • 538.com projection: 79-83 (5-5)
  • 538.com playoff likelihood: <1%
  • Remaining schedule: @ Bal (4), @ NYY (3), Bal (3).
  • Average record for remaining games: 77-76.
  • Summary: Being behind by only 4 with 10 to go would seem to have them on the very edge of the race, but they also have to pass several teams, some of whom are playing each other. That means the teams ahead of them can’t all get swept. So, for all in tents and porpoises (and for those sleeping in beds and going on whale watches), the Jays are out of it.

ORIOLES

  • Record: 73-80.
  • Games ahead/back: -5.5
  • Luck: 5
  • 538.com projection: 77-85 (4-5)
  • 538.com playoff likelihood: <1%
  • Remaining schedule: TB (4), @ Pit (2), @ TB (3).
  • Average record for remaining games: 73-79.
  • Summary: Not only have they fallen off the back end of this list, they are only 1.5 games ahead of the Blue Jays, a team I haven’t even been writing about. However, my best friend is an Orioles fan, so out of courtesy to him, I’m acknowledging that they still exist in the race. Their elimination number is only 5 however, and that doesn’t take into account games teams ahead of them have against each other.

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.
  • Remaining schedule: Duh, II.
  • 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 mikelink45

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 06:18 AM

Yesterday no longer matters, the resiliency must be demonstrated immediately.If there is a NY hangover we are in trouble.If we can move forward as if that crazy vacation in the Big Apple did not happen we are okay.What is their pulse?

 

I would love to see Sano taking a Bryce Harper attitude that he is going to play in these playoffs, but I just get this borrowing we'll see report on a daily basis. It would be nice if our pitchers all step up and Detroit lays down, but I do not trust either.

​At this stage what is more fun for a team spinning out of the news than taking down a team that is so close to the playoffs?I am not as confortable with the Tigers as everyone else is.Maybe it helps for this series that we lost to the Yankees if that makes us mad and focused.  

​10 games and lots of emotions for all of us before the end of the season.

 


#3 Riverbrian

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 06:26 AM

They gotta win a couple in Detroit!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Sincerely, 

 

 

Captain Obvious

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#4 spinowner

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 06:26 AM

I really enjoy these threads, IndianaTwin. I realize you are addressing qualifying for the postseason in general, but I'll add for the sake of completeness that Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Seattle have been eliminated from contention for the first wild card berth.

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#5 big dog

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 06:29 AM

Nice work, thanks.I was hoping for one win in New York.Now let's just win tonight.One win at a time.

 

Oh, and I hope Yankee Stadium is condemned some time in the next week due to a massive sewer line break. 


#6 gunnarthor

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 07:34 AM

There's really no reason we shouldn't take 3/4 from Detroit. We're far better and they've quit on the season. But they've also taken 7 out of the first 12 this year from us and rivals tend to enjoy screwing up the others post season plans. (Although the same point goes for Houston/LAA).

 

 


#7 IndianaTwin

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 11:33 AM

 

There's really no reason we shouldn't take 3/4 from Detroit. We're far better and they've quit on the season. But they've also taken 7 out of the first 12 this year from us and rivals tend to enjoy screwing up the others post season plans. (Although the same point goes for Houston/LAA).

 

Another difference is that Houston has something to play for the top seed. Besides home field, the top seed still has that mathematical chance of getting the Twins (or Angels) if they get lucky and win the Wild Card game.  

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#8 spinowner

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 06:50 AM

Kansas City has been eliminated from contention for the first wild card berth.

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