31 October 2015

Metropolitans Defend Citi

This post is part of a series about the 2015 MLB Postseason. Follow along here.


The New York Mets rebounded Friday night with an exceptional performance against the Kansas City Royals, displaying genius on the mound and in the batter's box. The win very likely saved the Mets' season, as no team has ever rebounded from a 3-0 World Series deficit. Instead, New York recovered to 7:3 underdogs, about the same place they were between games two and three of the NLCS. The Royals are still very much in the driver's seat as 70% favorites.


29 October 2015

Queens Awaits Heavily Favored Royals

This post is part of a series about the 2015 MLB Postseason. Follow along here.


Last night belonged to Johnny Cueto and the Kansas City Royals. The Royals' trade deadline acquisition is finally living up to his career numbers, shutting out the New York Mets save for one inning in which the strike zone mysteriously shrunk. His work, along with a four-run fifth, ensured that Kansas City would rise to 2-0 in the 2015 World Series: good enough to become 82% favorites.


28 October 2015

Royals 66% Favorites after Instant Classic

This post is part of a series about the 2015 MLB Postseason. Follow along here.


Just when we thought the playoffs couldn't get any more exciting, the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets proved us wrong. In a game of rueful valleys and dizzying peaks, the Royals tied game one of the 2015 World Series against dominant Mets closer Jeurys Familia in the ninth. Five innings later, Kansas City walked off with a sacrifice fly off the presumably immortal Bartolo Colon.

By the time they reached their beds, Alex Gordon & Co. were 66% faves to win the Fall Classic. The Mets, now 2:1 underdogs, are right back where they were after game three of the NLCS: not on top, but still in good shape.


27 October 2015

Royals or Mets? Flip a Coin. No, Really: Go Ahead and Flip a Coin.

This post is part of a series about the 2015 MLB Postseason. Follow along here.


Want to simulate the outcome of the 2015 World Series? Flip a coin. No, seriously: find a coin and flip it.

My simulator—based on Matt Swartz's home field advantage calculations, the Log 5 equation and my own RPScore true record estimates—has the Kansas City Royals winning 51% of the time. Thanks to the work of Persi Diaconis, Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at Stanford University, we know that if we vigorously flip a coin, there is a 51% chance that the coin will land on the same side it started out on,* conveniently equivalent to the Royals' chances of winning it all.

*h/t Smithsonian Magazine

So, go ahead: find a coin and note whether it's heads up or tails up. Give the coin a good flip. Did it land the same way it began? If so, you just picked the Royals. If not, you picked the New York Mets to go the distance. There's your prediction.


24 October 2015

Royals Retain American League Crown

This post is part of a series about the 2015 MLB Postseason. Follow along here.


After nine of the most exciting innings of baseball this postseason, the Kansas City Royals are moving on to the World Series. They will host the New York Mets at home on Tuesday evening in what's shaping up to be a close contest. According to RPScore, the Royals and Mets are two rather evenly matched teams. Thanks to the American League home field advantage, the simulator has Kansas City winning slightly more often than New York.


23 October 2015

Mets Punch Ticket, Jays Stay Alive

This post is part of a series about the 2015 MLB Postseason. Follow along here.

Photo credit: slgckgc (Some Rights Reserved)

Two nights ago, the New York Mets completed a stunning upset of the Chicago Cubs, sweeping their NLCS opponents in four games. It was New York's first ever four game sweep and it put the Mets in the drivers seat for the World Series with a 46% shot to win it all. Meanwhile in the AL, the Toronto Blue Jays are holding on against the Kansas City Royals as both teams head back to the City of Fountains for the remainder of the series.


21 October 2015

Royals, Mets on the Brink of History

This post is part of a series about the 2015 MLB Postseason. Follow along here.


It comes as some surprise to me, the betting community and most analysts that we're only hours away from the end of both 2015 League Championship Series and that both higher seeds are likely to advance. The Kansas City Royals are nine innings away from reaching the World Series for the second consecutive season, while my top-rated team, the Toronto Blue Jays, face long 15% odds for a comeback. The Chicago Cubs are even worse off, trying to become only the second team to roar back from a 3-0 deficit; the North Siders are but 7% long shots to make history against the New York Mets.


20 October 2015

Mets Tentative Faves as Jays Rebound

This post is part of a series about the 2015 MLB Postseason. Follow along here.

Photo credit: James G (Some Rights Reserved)

The Toronto Blue Jays salvaged their season last night with an offensive blockbuster at home in the Rogers Centre. And though the Kansas City Royals made it a close game at at the end, when the final out was recorded the Jays had recovered to trail 2-1 in the American League Championship Series. The win puts Canada's team right back in the hunt for the 2015 World Series.


19 October 2015

LCS Outcomes Totally Not Rigged Say Hired Goons

This post is part of a series about the 2015 MLB Postseason. Follow along here.

Photo credit: Me (Some Rights Reserved)

The New York Mets continued to defy expectations last night, defeating the Chicago Cubs and taking a 2-0 lead to Chicago. This is definitely the work of determined and honest teams, and not the result of a conspiracy, say the hired goons who showed up on my doorstep early this morning.


18 October 2015

Anti-Spreadsheet Conspiracy Resumes with Royals, Mets Victories

This post is part of a series about the 2015 MLB Postseason. Follow along here.

Photo credit: jimcchou (Some Rights Reserved)

If you thought the conspiracy to turn your author into a laughing stock by rendering his calculations unsustainable had ended, well, your naïveté has betrayed you. Just as it seemed my RPScore model (and sanity) was set to prevail, the Toronto Blue Jays surrendered an 85% chance of evening the series with the Kansas City Royals at one game apiece.  Additional collusion came in the form of the Chicago Cubs surely intentional loss to the New York Mets in game one of the National League Championship Series.


17 October 2015

Royals Take Jays Down a Peg as Cubs, Mets Open

This post is part of a series about the 2015 MLB Postseason. Follow along here.

Photo credit: Me (Some Rights Reserved)

By taking game one of the 2015 American League Championship Series, the Kansas City Royals wiped out the Toronto Blue Jays' series advantage and now enjoy a 52% chance of winning a second straight pennant. The also improved their World Series championship chances to 3:1, their postseason high. Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs open the NLCS in Flushing, Queens, favored 58-42 against the New York Mets.



16 October 2015

Model Picks Cubs over Mets in NL as LCS Play Commences

This post is part of a series about the 2015 MLB Postseason. Follow along here.


It's going to take a lot for the two League Championship Series to live up to the thrill of all four Division Series contests. In the ALCS, the top-rated Toronto Blue Jays threaten to make quick work of the Kansas City Royals, so the AL Central representatives will have to play above their estimated talent (or the Jays will have to play below theirs) if they're going to turn their series into the roller coaster ride that the ALDS was.



15 October 2015

Jays over Royals in AL as Cubs Await Senior Circuit Rival

This post is part of a series about the 2015 MLB Postseason. Follow along here.


On Wednesday night, the Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals punched their tickets to the American League Championship Series. Both outcomes (a home team victory in five games) were the third most likely outcomes out of six possibilities. At the moment, the model has the Jays as heavy favorites over the Royals, with KC 2:1 underdogs despite their home field advantage in games one, two, six and seven.

Now, ordinarily, I wouldn't expect a playoff team to be true 33% underdogs in a seven game series—especially not the league's top seed—so take this projection with a grain of salt. The RPScore model just loves Toronto (RPScore .627) and is not so hot on Kansas City (.547), but that's a big difference from the Vegas line which puts the series closer to 60-40 (after roughly adjusting for the vigorish).

Nevertheless, the story is the same: the money and the stats heavily back the Toronto Blue Jays.



14 October 2015

The American League's Judgment Cometh, and That Right Soon

This post is part of a series about the 2015 MLB Postseason. Follow along here.

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The Cubbies did it! Despite needing to win one on the road against the winningest team in baseball, the North Siders took the NLDS in four games just like the old gypsy woman said my playoff simulator predicted. Last night's clincher, the first ever at Wrigley Field, sends Chicago to the NLCS for the first time since 2003. The Cubs are now marginally favored to win the World Series at 3:1, in a dead heat with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Speaking of the Blue Jays, they take on the Texas Rangers at home in the Rogers Centre in one of two winner-take-all games five on tap for today. My model heavily favors Toronto to defeat Texas. It's a different story at Kauffmann Stadium, where I have the home town Kansas City Royals neck-and-neck with the Houston Astros.



13 October 2015

Cubs, Mets Big Favorites to Advance

This post is part of a series about the 2015 MLB Postseason. Follow along here.

Photo credit: MeCreative Commons

It was a day of fireworks and drama, of teams pushed to the brink of elimination and clawing their way back to terra firma. After the dust settled, after 21 dingers and 61 runners crossing home plate, we were left with six teams facing do-or-die situations, six teams with a chance to advance to the next round and a feeling like we might not see a day of playoff baseball as exciting as the one we just witnessed for some time.

Among the teams both facing elimination and with a chance to advance are the Toronto Blue Jays, who have momentarily regained their original position as World Series favorites. Trailing the Jays are the Houston Astros, with the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals looking to spoil their fun and claim their own October glory. And let us not forget the Chicago Cubs and the New York Metropolitans, each just one game away from advancing to the NLCS for the first time this decade having slammed their way through the St. Louis Cardinals' and Los Angeles Dodgers' batteries.



12 October 2015

NL Fireworks Resume with Two AL Teams Facing Elimination

This post is part of a series about the 2015 MLB Postseason. Follow along here.

Photo credit: MeCreative Commons

Following another exciting day of Division Series action, one American League squad inched closer to elimination while another earned one day's reprieve. The Houston Astros are now 3:1 favorites to win the World Series after going up two games to one on the Kansas City Royals (now 20:1 underdogs). Meanwhile, the Toronto Blue Jays fought back down two games to one, earning a fourth game in Arlington against the Texas Rangers. Though still favored to advance, at 8:1 to win it all they still trail the Jays (at 6:1) in the Fall Classic.



11 October 2015

One-Time Favorite Toronto Blue Jays Facing Sweep, Elimination

This post is part of a series about the 2015 MLB Postseason. Follow along here.

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The Toronto Blue Jays head to Arlington, Texas, with their season on the brink. Despite coming in as big favorites to win the World Series, Toronto dropped the first two games at home to the Texas Rangers. A Rangers win today would mean advancing to the ALCS and the Toronto Blue Jays flying north for the winter. My postseason projector gives the Rangers an 82% chance of advancing and a 16% chance of winning it all.



10 October 2015

Actual Baseball Intent on Making Fun of My Numbers

This post is part of a series about the 2015 MLB Postseason. Follow along here.

Photo credit: Peter BondCreative Commons

Yesterday, all eight Major League playoff contenders conspired to make me look like an idiot and my work a fool's errand. At the start of LDS play, I picked the Jays and the Astros to win their respective series. Both lost. I also picked the Cubs and the Dodgers to advance to the NLCS. They lost too. It's become clear that this is not the result of simple variance, or poor model construction, but a coordinated effort among the playoff teams to make me, your author, look like a jackass.

Touché, baseball.



09 October 2015

Astros Enjoy Frontrunner Status on Four-Game Friday

This post is part of a series about the 2015 MLB Postseason. Follow along here.

Photo credit: Dave HerholzCreative Commons

Yesterday, the frontrunner Toronto Blue Jays stumbled against the underdog Texas Rangers, while the Houston Astros kept on rolling against the Kansas City Royals. Today, the Houston Astros are my World Series favorites.  Meanwhile, National League play begins today with the Cubs as Senior Circuit favorites at 5:1.



08 October 2015

Cubs Edge toward Destiny as WS Fave Jays Open ALDS

This post is part of a series about the 2015 MLB Postseason. Follow along here.

Photo credit: Theodore CCreative Commons

With last night's suffocation of the Pittsburgh Pirates' offense by Chicago Cubs' rising star Jake Arrieta, the North Siders shot into the lead position among National League contenders. Rational Pastime's playoff simulator now projects the Cubs as 34% favorites to represent the Senior Circuit in the Fall Classic, and 5:1 to win it all.

Among today's American League contenders, the Toronto Blue Jays remain big favorites at 2:1 as they open their doors to their ALDS rivals, the Texas Rangers, who face 16:1 odds to win it all. In the second game, the home town Kansas City Royals are underdogs at 11:1 to win the World Series with the Houston Astros coming in at 5:1



07 October 2015

Astros' Chances Surge as Cubs, Bucs Prepare for Battle

This post is part of a series about the 2015 MLB Postseason. Follow along here.

Photo credit: Dan GakenCreative Commons 2.0

Last night, the Houston Astros defeated the New York Yankees on the road in the second third ever American League Wild Card Game. The Rational Pastime model pegged Houston as slim favorites, despite New York's home field advantage, because of the Astros' superior RPScore. I can't take too much credit for this, since the model only gave Houston a 2% edge over their opponent.

That said, Houston's victory over the 27-time World Series champs may have a profound impact on the rest of the playoffs landscape. Coming into last night's contest, my numbers ranked the Yankees 10th out of 10 playoff squads, whereas they ranked the Astros second (behind only the Toronto Blue Jays). In other words, the results of last night's contest are bad news for the rest of the field.



As a result of last night's victory, the Astros' chances to win it all surged from 7% to 16%, whereas the chances of the rest of the contenders took a slight hit. Four teams suffered a visible change in their chances in the Fall Classic after rounding to the nearest percentage point: the Kansas City Royals (10% to 9%), the Toronto Blue Jays (31% to 29%), the Pittsburgh Pirates (6% to 5%) and the Chicago Cubs (8% to 7%). At the moment, Houston is poised to make a run deep into October.

But if Houston's going all the way, they'll most likely need to surpass the favored Blue Jays, who are still approximate 2:1 favorites to win it all. In fact, nine of the top 10 projected World Series outcomes involve our friends to the north beating some National League franchise. Houston doesn't pop up until the 10th spot, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in six.



Much like last night, tonight's contest is a toss-up: my model picks the home team Pirates over the Cubs 51% of the time. Also like last night, tonight's results will have a significant impact on the projected odds for the rest of the field. Though the Bucs are lightly favored, the North Siders are a much better squad according to RPScore (a .552 team vs. a .579 team, respectively).


Stay tuned to see how the results of tonight's National League Wild Card Game affect the chances of the rest of the field.

06 October 2015

Toronto Blue Jays Big Favorites as 2015 MLB Postseason Begins

Photo credit: MeCreative Commons 2.0

It begins again: Rational Pastime projections for the 2015 postseason. Tonight, the RP model has the Houston Astros as slight favorites over the New York Yankees. Were these teams evenly matched, the Yanks would be favored 54-46, thanks to home field advantage. However, my RP Score system believes that the Astros are a better team.

In tomorrow's game, my system finds that the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates are a pretty even match for exactly the same reason.



As for the rest of the playoffs, the model—which relies on the Log 5 equation and Matt Swarz's numbers for home field advantage—picks the Toronto Blue Jays to win it all as nearly 2:1 favorites. In the Senior Circuit, the Los Angeles Dodgers are the most likely to make it to the World Series, and are 7:1 to win it all. Of the two teams playing tonight, I find the Astros twice as likely to take home the Commissioner's trophy.


Stay tuned for day-by-day updates this October (and probably November!).