30 October 2016

Tribe Huge Favorites to End Sixty-Eight-Year Title Drought

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.





The Cleveland Indians are one win away from their first World Series title since 1948. There's an 86% chance the Tribe will get there, according to my simulations. The Chicago Cubs will need to force a seventh game in Cleveland if they're to end their far longer, more legendary drought. It's not out of the question, but the odds are long.



In 41 out of every 100 runs of the simulator, Cleveland completes the feat tonight on the North Side of Chicago. Will the Cubs keep their World Series dreams alive? Will the Indians close it out at Wrigley? Either way, I'll be back with new projections or a recap of this exciting 2016 MLB postseason.

29 October 2016

Indians, Favorites Again, Steal One in ChiTown

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.





The first World Series game on the North Side of Chicago in 71 years was an instant classic, if not a favorable one for the home club. A 1-0 pitchers duel put the Cleveland Indians up 2-1 in the 2016 World Series, which they are now projected to win 58% of the time.



There is a scant 15% chance, according to my simulator, that the Indians can win-out and finish the series in Chicago, clinching their first title since 1948; the most likely outcome is that the Tribe wins it all in game six at home. The Chicago Cubs, on the other hand, will need to push the series back to Cleveland if they're to have a chance to end their 108 year drought—an 85% possibility. There's a 43% chance of a World Series game seven.

27 October 2016

Cubs Rebound versus Tribe, Reclaim Frontrunner Status

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.





Last night, the Chicago Cubs did unto the Cleveland Indians what the Indians did unto them the night before. By knotting up the 2016 World Series at one game apiece, the North Siders established themselves as 65% favorites as they head back home to Wrigley.



In the most frequently simulated scenario, the Cubs win out and claim their first World Series title in 108 years at home in game five. The Indians best hope is a seven game series that ends with Cleveland claiming its first title in 68 years at Progressive Field.

Game three will have the greatest impact of any game in this postseason thus far. Check back afterwards to see how it affects each team's standing in the remaining contests of the 2016 postseason.

26 October 2016

Cleveland Indians Slight Series Faves after Game One

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.




The Cleveland Indians won game one of the 2016 World Series behind the dominant outing of starting pitcher Corey Kluber. It was enough to re-establish the Tribe as the World Series favorites at 55%. That's not terrible news for the Chicago Cubs: 55-45 is virtually a coin flip in this sport, and a 45% disadvantage down 1-0 in the Fall Classic is abnormally favorable, this thanks to their (shrinking) 58 point advantage in RPScore.



The sweep is obviously off the table for the Cubbies, but the simulator has Cleveland winning out eight times out of every 100 runs. The most likely scenario now, barely, is an Indians win at home in six games; the Cubs' best bet is to run the series to seven. I for one wouldn't complain if they did.

With a win in game two, the Cubs will likely re-establish their position as World Series favorites. With a loss, they're likely to face their longest odds to win the Commissioner's Trophy all postseason. How will Cleveland and Chicago stand as they head to Wrigley? Tune in soon to find out.

23 October 2016

Which "Curse" Will End? Numbers Favor Cubs over Indians

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.





The Chicago Cubs made history on Saturday Night; they are primed to make more history in the days to come. In defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in game six of the National League Championship Series, the Cubs clinched their first NL Pennant in 71 years. They head to Cleveland to face an Indians franchise that hasn't won a World Series in 68 years. My numbers say the Cubs will triumph, winning it all for the first time in 108 years.



According to my RPScore formula, the NL representatives are 64 points better than their AL counterparts. That advantage more than makes up for Cleveland's playing at home in four of the possible seven games. The gap between the teams is good enough to make the Cubs heavy 63% favorites to quench the longest title drought in North American sports.



The most likely single outcome is a Cubs win in five games, allowing them to clinch in the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. The Indians' best bet is to force the series to head back to Cleveland, winning it in seven.

Coverage will resume on Wednesday with an update on both competitor's chances in the Fall Classic. Tune in to see who has the upper hand, and by how much.

21 October 2016

Cubs World Series Favorites Once Again

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.





The Chicago Cubs have their first 3-2 lead in a Championship Series since their devastating defeat at the hands of the Florida Marlins in 2003. With that lead comes renewed status as World Series favorites, surpassing the Cleveland Indians, who have already advanced to the final round.


20 October 2016

Indians Punch Ticket, Await Dodgers or Cubs

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.





The Cleveland Indians disposed of the Toronto Blue Jays in five games, blazing a trail to the Fall Classic for the first time in almost two decades. They await the winners of the NLCS, in which the Cubs knotted up the Los Angeles Dodgers and reclaimed their NL frontrunner status. The NL pennant is now a best-of-three series that will include at least one more game in Chicago.

19 October 2016

Jays Avoid Elimination, Indians Welcome Dodgers to Front of Line

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.





Following their second consecutive loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series, the Chicago Cubs find themselves down 2-1 and, for the first time, only the third most likely World Series Champion. Earlier yesterday, the Toronto Blue Jays fended off a sweep by the Cleveland Indians, living to fight another day. The result of both games is that the Indians and Dodgers are now their respective league's favorites to compete the 2016 Fall Classic.

18 October 2016

Indians Are New World Series Faves on Verge of Sweeping Jays

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.





With their third consecutive victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, the Cleveland Indians—at 43%—are the new favorites to win the 2016 World Series, just barely edging out the NL favorite Chicago Cubs. The Jays, once the favored AL squad, stare into the abyss of a dismal 3% championship expectancy.

17 October 2016

Dodgers Even the Score, Improve Chances Heading Back to Los Angeles

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.





The Dodgers once again deployed Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen to positive results in the second game of the National League Championship Series. Managing only three baserunners, the Cubs failed to take a two-game lead heading to Los Angeles, ensuring that the Dodgers will play at least three games at home. With the win, the tenants of Chavez Ravine improve their World Series expectancy to 16%—their best of the playoffs—while the North Siders' plunged to 38%.

16 October 2016

Cubs, Indians World Series in the Offing?

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.





Saturday's slate, the first with all four teams in Championship Series action, brought us closer to a potential World Series between two teams that haven't won a title in a combined 176 years. With a 2-0 series lead heading to Toronto, the Cleveland Indians are 79% favorites to represent the American League in the 2016 Fall Classic. On the NL side, the Cubs lead 1-0 in the NLCS, with the simulator putting them in the World Series 82 times out of 100.

15 October 2016

Indians Take Game One, Become Favorites to Represent American League

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.





With a shutout victory over the visiting Toronto Blue Jays, the Cleveland Indians took a 1-0 ALCS lead, improving their ALCS chances to 63% and their World Series expectancy to 27%.


14 October 2016

Cubs and Blue Jays Favored to Clash in Fall Classic

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.





The Washington Nationals third attempt in five seasons to break out of the Division Series came to a screeching halt Thursday evening, with the Los Angeles Dodgers powering their way through Nationals Park en route to an LCS meeting with the Chicago Cubs. Meanwhile, ALCS play begins tonight, with the Toronto Blue Jays slight favorites over the home field Cleveland Indians.

12 October 2016

Cubs Return to NLCS for Second Straight Year while Dodgers Force Fifth Game in Washington

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.





The MLB-best Chicago Cubs will play on in October, defeating the San Francisco Giants and their even-year magic in the fourth game of the NLDS. Chicago will be heavy favorites against whichever NL opponent they face off against and currently enjoy the top World Series expectancy of 43%. In the battle to determine who will face the North Side juggernaut, the Los Angeles Dodgers staved off elimination with a win over the Washington Nationals.



11 October 2016

Nats Edge, Giants Survive, Tribe Advance

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.





The Cleveland Indians became the second team to punch their ticket to the Championship Series last night, brushing off the Boston Red Sox (and their AL-best RPScore) in three games. Cleveland is a slight 47% underdog to the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS and 21% to win the World Series.

In other action, the San Francisco Giants staved off elimination vs. the Chicago Cubs and the Washington Nationals moved one game closer to their first NLCS in franchise history over the Los Angeles Dodgers.



10 October 2016

Jays Dispose of Rangers, Nats Knot Dodgers

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.





The Toronto Blue Jays became the first team to advance to the Championship Series in the MLB 2016 Postseason with their walk-off victory over the top-seeded Texas Rangers. Already heavily favored to win the ALDS, the Jays' World Series expectancy increased just a bit to 24%. The Rangers, heavily outperforming their true record for most of the season, finish their 2016 campaign with an anemic RPScore of .493.



09 October 2016

All Eyes Were on Chicago as Cubs Pushed Giants to Brink

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.





A rain delay and an off day for the American League left the Second City with the only game on Saturday's slate. In said game, the Chicago Cubs extended their NLDS lead over the San Francisco Giants. The Cubs' World Series expectancy now sits at a lofty 41% with San Francisco's languishing at less than 1%.



08 October 2016

Cubs and Dodgers Strike First while Jays, Indians Verge on ALCS

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.





The Chicago Cubs asserted their intentions to end the Billy Goat Curse last night with their 1-0 win over the San Francisco Giants, boosting their World Series expectancy to 35%. The Toronto Blue Jays continued their schooling of the overrated Texas Rangers, raising their championship probability to 23% and forcing their opponents' below 1%. The Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers also improved against their respective opponents, the Boston Red Sox and Washington Nationals.


07 October 2016

NLDS Play Begins with Nats, Cubs Favored as Jays, Tribe Pull Ahead

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.





The Toronto Blue Jays are the new frontrunners in the American League after their 10-1 drubbing of the top-seeded Texas Rangers. In Cleveland, the Indians outperformed the Red Sox, improving their World Series expectancy to 13%. As for today, NLDS action gets underway with the Chicago Cubs and the Washington Nationals expected to advance over the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, respectively.

06 October 2016

Giants Burn Mets Late to Finalize Division Series Match-ups, Sox and Jays Likely to Advance

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.





Yet another exciting Wild Card playoff effectively ended with a three-run blast in a win-or-go-home inning. Unfortunately for Mets fans, this means that New York's scrappy run to the playoffs has come to an end as the San Francisco Baseball Giants advance to the NLDS. San Fran will open the NLDS against the MLB-best Chicago Cubs in the Windy City as 30-70 dogs.

By winning the National League Wild Card Game, and by virtue of improving their RPScore with the victory, the Giants have tripled their World Series expectancy from 2% to 6%. The win had a minor impact on the chances of San Francisco's upcoming opponent, pushing the Cubs' World Series expectancy down from 31% to 30%.

NLDS play begins Friday. In the meantime, both ALDS series begin today with the Texas Rangers taking on the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox facing off against the Cleveland Indians. In both AL contests, the simulator favors the lower seed.

05 October 2016

Jays Double World Series Expectancy as Giants Face Off against Favored Mets

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.





Last night, in a thrilling competition that included everything from beer-can projectiles to bullpen mismanagement and a dramatic three-run walk-off blast by Edwin Encarnacion, the Toronto Blue Jays eliminated the Baltimore Orioles from the playoffs. In doing so, the Jays nearly doubled their World Series expectancy from 7% to 13%. Toronto will begin the ALDS against the Texas Rangers as 60% favorites to advance.

The biggest loser of last night's game, other than Baltimore, is Texas, whose chances of advancing to the ALCS dropped 3%. The rest of the pack remains relatively unaffected by last night's results.

Tonight, the New York Mets face off against the San Francisco Giants for the National League Wild Card. RPScore rates the Mets and Giants almost even, but gives the edge to New York due to home field advantage. Tune in after tonight's game to see how the results of this contest affect the competing clubs and the remaining playoff squads.

04 October 2016

Cubs, Red Sox Dominate World Series Probability Estimates as 2016 MLB Playoffs Commence

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.

Welcome back to Rational Pastime's coverage of the 2016 Major League Baseball postseason. In a change this season, my posts will be heavier on data and lighter on narrative. This is less a preference for data-driven and analysis and more a concession to spending more time with my infant son. Thanks for tuning in!



As in the past, I estimate each team's "true record" using my RPScore system. I simulate every possible postseason outcome, game-by-game, and calculate the frequency with which each squad wins each series. My system generates very different outcomes that you would expect if you relied on each team's win record from the regular season. For instance, while Texas finished with the top AL seed, RPScore actually considers the Rangers the weakest team in the playoffs, not expecting them to emerge from the ALDS.



Instead, RPScore expects either the Toronto Blue Jays (over the underdog Baltimore Orioles) to surpass the Rangers, moving on to lose to the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS. In the Senior Circuit, RPScore likes the Cubs all the way, advancing past either the New York Mets (or, less likely, San Francisco Giants), then defeating the Washington Nationals (favored over the Los Angeles Dodgers) to win the NLCS. The model then expects the Cubs to end their 108-year championship drought.