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%.

The Cubs' loss is good news for the American League's Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians. The decreased possibility of facing the best team in baseball added 3% to Cleveland's championship expectancy and 1% to Toronto's—not bad for two teams that didn't even play yesterday. Unfortunately, last night's result also means that the Jays are the least likely World Series champions for the first time this playoff season.

Despite the tied series, the simulator still heavily prefers Chicago, picking the Cubbies to break their 71-year-old NL Pennant drought in 63 out of every 100 simulations. Their best chances lie in a sixth-game victory, whereas the Dodgers will still likely have to play seven to stay alive.

The Blue Jays head back to Toronto in dire need of a victory. Home field over the next two (possible three) games confers some advantage, but not enough to make the Jays better than 21% underdogs. More likely than not the Blue Jays will have to play seven to advance to their first Series since 1993, whereas the Indians best shot lies in a five- or six-game ALCS.

How close either team gets to their preferred situation will depend heavily on tonight's third game. Check in tomorrow to see how that contest affects the chances of all four playoff teams.

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