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.

I made a big deal about how even the Mets and Royals were at the threshold of the Fall Classic. It was true then and it was true through game one. In fact, New York and Kansas City have tracked each other's true records rather well throughout the postseason. Last night, however, the Royals showed some signs of breaking away. Their absolute domination of their opponents at home led to a significant spike in the Royals' RPScore and a corresponding dive in the Mets'. This change was responsible for about two extra percentage points of World Series probability.

With the Royals success thus far, the odds of a seven-game series have declined to 3:1. The modal outcome is currently a Royals win in five, although the difference in likelihood between that and a Royals win in four or six is insignificant. If the Metropolitans are going to come back and win this, they're most likely going to have to do it in seven. Either way, that battle will have to take place on Kansas City's home turf, meaning that even if the Mets stay alive, they likely won't be favorites in a clinching game (unless they seriously improve their RPScore).

Will the Mets turn things around at home? Will the Royals build a nigh-insurmountable 3-0 lead? What will the numbers look like in any case? Tune in on Saturday to find out.

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