Left Field Upper Deck, Nationals Park at Sunset • Photo credit: Me
For the first time since September 6th, the Washington Nationals lost three out of four. Unfortunately for them, you can't do that in the NLDS. A combination of sloppy play and questionable bullpen management on Washington's side and opportunistic offensive play on the side of the San Francisco Giants means that the owners of the National League's best record will be going home early.
The Giants will join the St. Louis Cardinals as the two surprise NL representatives in the LCS round. The Cards, managing to steal two wins from Clayton Kershaw, remain the weakest team in the postseason—a weakness that seems to have had no influence on the outcome of their games.
The numbers show that the Baltimore Orioles also stand to gain from the success of Junior Circuit underdogs, as the Rational Pastime model predicts that weaker competition will help the Birds win it all. Baltimore's chances jumped about 2% following the completion of last night's NL contests. The Royals enjoyed a smaller, 1% boost.
Going forward, the favorite remains Baltimore, followed by San Francisco. This is despite the fact that the Giants will not have home field in the NLCS. With the strongest teams removed from the NL field, the AL's combined chances of taking home the Commissioner's Trophy jumped from 49% (at the start of the LDS) to 56%.
For the nth consecutive day in a row, an Orioles win over San Francisco in Baltimore remains the most likely World Series outcome. The only "interesting" match-ups that remain possible are an All-Missouri Series (incidentally, a rematch of the 1985 World Series) and a rematch of the 1944 Fall Classic.
Stop by Friday for updated ratings, probabilities and charts previewing the American League and National League Championship Series.