30 October 2014

MLB Postseason Projections 2014: Royals Fall to Baseball's Newest Dynasty

This post is part of a series tracking the postseason series win probabilities throughout the 2014 MLB Playoffs. Click here to enjoy the full series of posts.

Kauffman Stadium • jimcchouCreative Commons 2.0

In a close series with few close games, we finally got the contest we were waiting for. The game, the Series, the entire season was in question right up until the very last at bat, when a possessed Madison Bumgarner, on two days rest, induced Salvador Perez to pop out with the tying run ninety feet away. The out marked the end of a Cinderella run by the Kansas City Royals, who sneaked into the postseason for the first time in nearly three decades and rode all the way to the bottom of the 9th of Game 7 of the Fall Classic before their carriage reverted to squash form.

That out also marked the coronation of a new dynasty, awarding the Commissioner's Trophy to the San Francisco Giants for the third time in five years, a feat not accomplished since the New York Yankees in 1999 (and, before that, the Oakland A's in 1974).


29 October 2014

MLB Postseason Projections 2014: Royals' Hopes Restored in Paris on the Plains

This post is part of a series tracking the postseason series win probabilities throughout the 2014 MLB Playoffs. Click here to enjoy the full series of posts.

Kauffman Stadium • Justin BrockieCreative Commons 2.0

Game 7: it's one of the most thrilling concepts in sports, when a grueling marathon comes down to one final sprint. It's a pleasure we enjoy tonight, as the World Series is going seven for the first time since, well, 2011, when another team from Missouri surprised the nation. We arrive here thanks to the Kansas City Royals' pounding of the San Francisco Giants in what could otherwise have resulted in a celebration by the Bay.

Not only do the Royals stay alive, they take the initiative as well. At 55%, they are narrow favorites going into the final game, largely due to the setting rather than the talent of the hometown ball club. That's a 29% boost over their previous numbers following Game 5, when they trailed 3-2. According to FanGraphs, the Royals increased their chances of winning Game 6 by a whopping 42.2% in their seven-run bottom of the 2nd. Combined with Rational Pastime's WS% numbers, this implies that the Royals increased their chances of winning the World Series by 22% in that half inning alone.


27 October 2014

MLB Postseason Projections 2014: Giants Push Royals to Brink

This post is part of a series tracking the postseason series win probabilities throughout the 2014 MLB Playoffs. Click here to enjoy the full series of posts.


Having taken two of three at home, the San Francisco Giants are now one win away from their third World Series title in five years. Yesterday's game was only the third after which Madison Bumgarner & Co. led the World Series Probability standings, and their claim on the top spot represents the third time that the top spot has switched between them and the Kansas City Royals. The Giants lead the Royals even though their position is substantially hamstrung by Kansas City's home field advantage in the remaining games.


26 October 2014

MLB Postseason Projections 2014: Giant Rebound Yields Brand New Series

This post is part of a series tracking the postseason series win probabilities throughout the 2014 MLB Playoffs. Click here to enjoy the full series of posts.

AT&T Park • Photo credit: Eugene KimCreative Commons 2.0

In the fourth game of this seesaw series, the San Francisco Giants have evened up the Fall Classic 2-2, putting both teams in nearly the same position where they started, probability wise. With three possible games remaining, the Kansas City Royals maintain a slim lead in World Series expectancy, 52-48.


25 October 2014

MLB Postseason Projections 2014: A Royal Coronation?

This post is part of a series tracking the postseason series win probabilities throughout the 2014 MLB Playoffs. Click here to enjoy the full series of posts.

AT&T Park • Photo credit: HarshLightCreative Commons 2.0

Three games into the 2014 World Series, the most likely result is now a victory by the Kansas City Royals. Having lost their first game at home, the San Francisco Giants woke up today 7-3 underdogs. Worse for them, the brief home field advantage that the Boys by the Bay enjoyed has now evaporated; the playing field is level once again. Though the journey is far from over, Kansas City is now decidedly in the driver's seat.


23 October 2014

MLB Postseason Projections 2014: Royals Get Even

This post is part of a series tracking the postseason series win probabilities throughout the 2014 MLB Playoffs. Click here to enjoy the full series of posts.

Kauffman Stadium • Photo credit: jimcchouCreative Commons 2.0

What the Kansas City Royals suffered in Game 1 they dealt back in Game 2. Against the San Francisco Giants, a five-run slugfest boosted the Royals' chances of winning it all by ~12% in the bottom of the sixth inning alone (if you combine my model's numbers with FanGraphs' Win Expectancy figures). The full win itself was responsible for a ~14% increase in their World Series probability.

It wasn't enough to help the Royals regain the WS% lead, however. By splitting the first two games in Kansas City, San Francisco now enjoys home field advantage, leaving them slim 53% favorites to take home the Commissioner's Trophy.


22 October 2014

MLB Postseason Projections 2014: Giants End Royals' Streak, Set High Water Mark

This post is part of a series tracking the postseason series win probabilities throughout the 2014 MLB Playoffs. Click here to enjoy the full series of posts.

Kauffman Stadium • Photo credit: State FarmCreative Commons 2.0

Two record streaks came to an end last night. The Kansas City Royals were enjoying the longest winning streak in postseason history (eight games) when they ran into the human buzz saw that is Madison Bumgarner. The San Francisco Giants' ace was enjoying a streak of his own, one which came to the end when Salvador Perez's homer plated the first postseason run against Bumgarner in 21 innings.

Perez notwithstanding, it was never really much of a contest, the eventual winning run having crossed before Bumgarner even took the mound. The Royals lost their first World Series game in 29 years by a 7-1 drubbing, sending the Giants to the top of the heap for the first time this October according to the Rational Pastime model.