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.

Despite being the early favorites in Vegas as well as in my obviously fakakta spreadsheets, the Toronto Blue Jays have plummeted all the way down to 13:1 underdogs following two losses to the treacherous Texas Rangers. The Houston Astros remain the favorites for the second day in a row at 4:1, despite staging a loss to the Kansas City Royals in a conspicuous effort to destroy the self esteem I built up after Houston's game-one victory.

Over in the National League, the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers threw their games in concert to the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets, respectively, solely for the purpose of making one Dr. JD Mathewson, Ph.D., look like a complete asshole. The Mets are now the most likely World Series champion out of the NL at 6:1, as if any of those numbers mattered and weren't set in stone weeks prior to the beginning of the playoffs, calibrated precisely to make analysts with spreadsheets appear witless.

In an objective reality in which various baseball franchise weren't in cahoots to upend the basic principles of probability theory, the Houston Astros would still be the favorites over Kansas City, with the most likely single outcome being an Astros victory in four games. In the least likely scenario, the Royals sweep both games in Houston and advance to the ALCS, so that's probably what Rob Manfred has pre-ordained.

Having fallen from the perch I placed them on, the Blue Jays now need to sweep the Texas Rangers to advance past the first round. My numbers give them a 18% shot at doing so. This raises the question as to whether Toronto and Texas want to make a joke out of these numbers or my original calculations. Only time will tell.

That both the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals managed to overcome their century-long rivalry to conspire against me specifically is both surprising and upsetting. Even operating under the now-obviously-insane presumption that the Cubs aren't going to throw the NLDS to embarrass me, my calculations now expect the Cardinals to advance.

If Jacob deGrom and Clayton Kershaw thought they would get me to drop my playoff projections series simply because they jointly orchestrated one of the greatest pitchers duels in playoff history, architected from the start to conclude with the sophomore outlasting the seasoned veteran thereby handing game one to the Metropolitans against the projections of my model, well they were sorely mistaken. Here I remain, projecting the Mets to advance, most likely in four games, as if there were less than a 100% chance of the most humiliating result coming to pass.

The ten most likely World Series results (in a world where Commissioner Manfred, the general managers, dugout managers and pitching staffs of ten Major League franchises, and God herself hadn't huddled in a bunker deep under a mountain in North Dakota with the very peculiar intent of producing a 2015 MLB postseason that succeeded in nothing greater than rendering all my hard work pointless) are heavily populated by the Astros, Mets, Rangers and Cardinals.

Microsoft Excel is telling me that the least likely outcome at this point is a Dodgers sweep of the Blue Jays in four games (at 0.1%), so that's probably what MLBPA Executive Director and former ballplayer Tony Clark insists must take place.

It's nearly even money that we'll witness an all-Texas ALCS for the first time ever. How fitting, considering how unlikely I predicted such a match-up in the first place. Coincidence? Obviously not. Same goes for a rematch of the 2000 NLCS between the Cardinals and Mets. If this isn't enough evidence of a sinister chess match taking place behind the closed doors of the impenetrable fortress of the Major League Baseball offices in New York City, then I have three words for you: WAKE UP, SHEEPLE!

Stay tuned to bear witness the results of this massive conspiracy against me and quantitative baseball analysts everywhere (but mostly me).

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