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Monday, August 18, 2014

Passan: Breaking down the schedules for all 19 MLB playoff contenders

What if they gave a postseason and no team was good?

Baseball’s two richest teams find themselves at the opposite end of the scheduling spectrum. Presenting, then, a complete breakdown of the stretch schedules for all 19 – 19! – playoff contenders, going from hardest to easiest, and starting with the ...

1. New York Yankees… 2. Tampa Bay Rays… 3. Cincinnati Reds… 4. Miami Marlins… 5. Los Angeles Angels… 6. Toronto Blue Jays… 7. Seattle Mariners… 8. Milwaukee Brewers… . Washington Nationals… 10. Pittsburgh Pirates… 11. Cleveland Indians… 12. Detroit Tigers…13. Atlanta Braves… 14. Oakland A’s… 15. San Francisco Giants… 16. St. Louis Cardinals… 17. Baltimore Orioles… 18. Kansas City Royals… 19. Los Angeles Dodgers

The District Attorney Posted: August 18, 2014 at 02:43 PM | 34 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: jeff passan, playoffs, sabermetrics

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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 18, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4773825)
Baseball’s two richest teams find themselves at the opposite end of the scheduling spectrum. Presenting, then, a complete breakdown of the stretch schedules for all 19 – 19! – playoff contenders, going from hardest to easiest, and starting with the ...

1. New York Yankees… 18. Kansas City Royals…


Default! The two sweetest words in the English language!
   2. DKDC Posted: August 18, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4773845)
Overview: The next time the Orioles play a team over .500 isn't until Sept. 12, nearly a month away, and it's no wonder they're in the catbird's seat. Baltimore being there without Matt Wieters and practically without Chris Davis is another bravissimo Buck Showalter production, and getting to tack on with the panoply of mediocrity coming Baltimore's way should be especially fun. The best team Baltimore faces, record-wise, is New York. That's the sort of fortune for which any team could wish, even one with an easier schedule like the …


The Orioles have an easy schedule the rest of the way because schedules are generally balanced over 162, and they've had the most difficult schedule in baseball to date, with a particularly tough stretch since the all star break.

They are in first place in spite of their schedule, and their comparatively easy schedule the rest of the way was earned, not some stroke of good fortune.
   3. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 18, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4773877)
The Orioles have an easy schedule the rest of the way because schedules are generally balanced over 162, and they've had the most difficult schedule in baseball to date, with a particularly tough stretch since the all star break.

They are in first place in spite of their schedule, and their comparatively easy schedule the rest of the way was earned, not some stroke of good fortune.


Just to recapitulate the Orioles' record since the All-Star break:

1-2 at Oakland
2-1 at Anaheim
3-1 at Seattle

2-1 vs the Angels
2-1 vs Seattle

1-0 at Washington
2-1 at Toronto

2-1 vs St. Louis
2-0 vs the Yankees

1-2 at Cleveland

Total since the All-Star game: 18-10 W-L, 118-90 Run Differential, and all against teams with winning records.
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 18, 2014 at 03:58 PM (#4773891)
Yea, but their best players are Steve Pearce and Darren O'Day.
   5. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 18, 2014 at 04:03 PM (#4773894)
Yea, but their best players are Steve Pearce and Darren O'Day.
Hey!
   6. Greg K Posted: August 18, 2014 at 04:07 PM (#4773898)
Has Darren O'Day been the best relief pitcher to not have a closing job over the past 5 years?

Not that it's an award-worthy accomplishment or anything, but that guy's been pretty great for a long time now (by relief standards). Are managers just afraid to let him see too many lefties or something?
   7. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 18, 2014 at 04:16 PM (#4773912)
Has Darren O'Day been the best relief pitcher to not have a closing job over the past 5 years?
He'd sure get my vote. The other guys in the conversation would be Mike Adams, Eric O'Flaherty, Jesse Crain, Javier Lopez, Brad Ziegler, and Joe Smith (who finally did secure a closing job this summer).
   8. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: August 18, 2014 at 04:23 PM (#4773921)
Joe Smith (who finally did secure a closing job this summer)


I think that means he's out - otherwise David Robertson would have to be considered for his work before this season.
   9. JJ1986 Posted: August 18, 2014 at 04:43 PM (#4773941)
Pat Neshek should be mentioned too.

Ziegler was a closer recently. I think Jesse Crain was supposed to close this year, but he still hasn't been one.
   10. Random Transaction Generator Posted: August 18, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4773951)
Eric O'Flaherty has been the best for the past 5 years (235 ERA+ vs O'Day 199 ERA+), but he's got 40 less games than O'Day over that time.

Pat Neshek and Aaron Loup are in the next tier (with Adams and Lopez).
(Except Loup has only been doing it for 3 years).

Edit: Bubbly drink to JJ1986.
   11. Greg K Posted: August 18, 2014 at 05:06 PM (#4773974)
I guess it shouldn't be surprising that a lot of these guys are lefties or guys with unconventional deliveries.
   12. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 18, 2014 at 05:15 PM (#4773984)
...or guys with unconventional deliveries.

As in "Pat Neshek". I'd never heard of him before last Sunday, but I have no idea how anyone hits him. The Orioles sure as hell didn't.
   13. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: August 18, 2014 at 05:21 PM (#4773991)
Has Darren O'Day been the best relief pitcher to not have a closing job over the past 5 years?
Good thing the Angels got a huge haul for him when they let him get away. Oh, wait, they didn't even bother protecting him in the Rule 5 Draft. Nevermind.
   14. JJ1986 Posted: August 18, 2014 at 05:24 PM (#4773997)
Good thing the Angels got a huge haul for him when they let him get away. Oh, wait, they didn't even bother protecting him in the Rule 5 Draft. Nevermind.


The Mets liked him enough to take him in the Rule 5 and then cut him after 4 games. They gave his roster spot to Casey Fossum.
   15. Greg K Posted: August 18, 2014 at 05:35 PM (#4774014)
As in "Pat Neshek". I'd never heard of him before last Sunday, but I have no idea how anyone hits him. The Orioles sure as hell didn't.

But he was a BTF fan favourite when he came up with the Twins in 2006! Chad Bradford version 2.0!
   16. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 18, 2014 at 05:40 PM (#4774023)
Neshek's an 8 year guy with a career ERA+ of 154, and this is the first year he's made $1,000,000. I'd suspect that his TJ surgery has something to do with this.
   17. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: August 19, 2014 at 02:57 AM (#4774284)
The Marlins, who aren't technically - y'know - trying, are three games out of a playoff-ish spot. Well done everyone.
   18. Dr. Vaux Posted: August 19, 2014 at 04:12 AM (#4774286)
That made me check the wild card standings for the first time in a while, only to discover that the Marlins aren't just 3.5 games out of the Bud Selig "hope and faith" second wild card spot, they're only 5 games out of the original, realignment/tv money-grab first wild card spot!
   19. Lassus Posted: August 19, 2014 at 08:51 AM (#4774320)
Wait, so you're saying the Mets have no chance?
   20. AROM Posted: August 19, 2014 at 09:27 AM (#4774333)
Baltimore being there without Matt Wieters and practically without Chris Davis is another bravissimo Buck Showalter production


Caleb Joseph has done a really good Wieters impersonation. Power-heavy 97 OPS, and has thrown out 45% of basestealers. Pretty much a match for the average Wieters season coming into 2014. As a bonus though, Joseph is much better at the pitch framing stuff.
   21. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 19, 2014 at 09:50 AM (#4774340)
They wanted to name a bridge after Caleb Joseph, but found it impractical because NO ONE crosses Caleb Joseph.
   22. TDF, situational idiot Posted: August 19, 2014 at 10:29 AM (#4774374)
At the time this article was written, the Reds were 2-7 in their past 9 games against the Marlins (62-62 record this year), Bosox (56-68), and Rockies (49-75); after last night's loss to the Cards, they're 9 games out and they have the 3rd toughest schedule the rest of the way.

They're no longer a "playoff contender", no matter how much wishing I do.
   23. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: August 19, 2014 at 11:28 AM (#4774462)

They are in first place in spite of their schedule, and their comparatively easy schedule the rest of the way was earned, not some stroke of good fortune.


I think the unstated premise of the article is that playing good teams later in the season is harder than playing them early in the season, whether because of old-school beliefs about the 'stress' of a playoff run (you are less likely to press and make mistakes against bad teams) or because good teams tend to get better at the trade deadline while bad teams get worse, so it's better to play those good teams early.
   24. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 19, 2014 at 12:27 PM (#4774552)
I think the unstated premise of the article is that playing good teams later in the season is harder than playing them early in the season, whether because of old-school beliefs about the 'stress' of a playoff run (you are less likely to press and make mistakes against bad teams) or because good teams tend to get better at the trade deadline while bad teams get worse, so it's better to play those good teams early.

But that can work both ways. The Orioles finished playing the Tigers in early May, when the Orioles were floundering while the Tigers were arguably the best team in baseball. I doubt if they'd lose 5 out of 6 again if they got to play a rematch in August and September.
   25. DanG Posted: August 19, 2014 at 01:21 PM (#4774600)
Eric O'Flaherty has been the best for the past 5 years (235 ERA+ vs O'Day 199 ERA+), but he's got 40 less games than O'Day over that time.

Pat Neshek and Aaron Loup are in the next tier (with Adams and Lopez).
Relievers with ERA+ of 160+, 2010-14, 150+ IP, played in 2014

Player             ERAOPS+  FIP WPA/LI  WHIP  SV   SO9    IP   Age
Craig Kimbrel       263   28 1.46  6.427 0.905 176 15.03 277.1 22
-26
Eric OFlaherty      235   63 3.04  4.058 1.112   0  7.47 206.0 25
-29
Koji Uehara         229   34 2.39  8.446 0.718  61 11.53 277.0 35
-39
Darren ODay         199   63 3.52  4.996 0.956   4  8.50 263.2 27
-31
Greg Holland        180   58 2.11  5.463 1.097 105 12.42 261.2 24
-28
David Robertson     175   64 2.52  5.695 1.173  40 11.93 301.2 25
-29
Mike Adams          174   66 2.98  3.685 1.091   3  9.01 234.2 31
-35
Santiago Casilla    170   72 3.45  3.738 1.152  45  7.82 264.2 29
-33
Joaquin Benoit      168   58 3.05  6.812 0.962  36 10.32 308.2 32
-36
Kenley Jansen       164   50 1.97  5.351 0.957  96 14.13 272.2 22
-26
Neftali Feliz       162   51 3.72  3.745 1.039  76  8.03 198.1 22
-26
Aroldis Chapman     160   41 2.08  5.053 1.004 103 15.11 237.0 22
-26 
   26. McCoy Posted: August 19, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4774603)
I don't see how that is the unstated premise of the article. I think the article is pretty plain about what it is. Here are the playoff contenders and here is their schedule from here on out.
   27. Danny Posted: August 19, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4774606)
I don't think O'Day is the best middle-reliever-who's-never-closed on his own team.
   28. DKDC Posted: August 19, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4774615)
At the time this article was written, the Reds were 2-7 in their past 9 games against the Marlins (62-62 record this year), Bosox (56-68), and Rockies (49-75); after last night's loss to the Cards, they're 9 games out and they have the 3rd toughest schedule the rest of the way.

They're no longer a "playoff contender", no matter how much wishing I do.


We're at the point where "contender" status and playoff odds can swing dramatically from day to day. One good week and they are right back in the thick of things.

Here’s how I rank the teams at this particular moment in time in terms of their likelihood of playing at least a play-in game. The next 22 games the Orioles play are against the bottom two categories, but they’ve played so well against the top teams that I worry about them letting up against the weaker teams.

Virtual Locks: A’s, Angels, Nats
Driver’s seat: Brewers, Dodgers, O’s
On the bubble: Cards, Giants, Royals, Tigers
Lurking: Braves, Mariners, Pirates
Not dead yet: Indians, Jays, Yankees
Need a miracle: Marlins, Rays, Reds
Pretty much toast: Astros, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Mets, Padres, Phillies, Rangers, Red Sox, Rockies, Twins, White Sox

   29. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 19, 2014 at 02:09 PM (#4774651)
On the bubble: Cards, Giants, Royals, Tigers
Lurking: Braves, Mariners, Pirates


Since as of now the Tigers and Mariners are separated by .001 in the standings, I'm assuming you're taking their schedules into major account when you make the distinction between them.

Virtual Locks: A’s, Angels, Nats
Driver’s seat: Brewers, Dodgers, O’s


I'm also not quite sure why you've got the Nats in a higher category than the O's, since the O's have the biggest lead of any division leader, and they're playing in a division where all of their main rivals (1) have major weaknesses and (2) will be playing crabs in the barrel against each other beginning in another couple of weeks.
   30. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 19, 2014 at 02:26 PM (#4774671)

Since as of now the Tigers and Mariners are separated by .001 in the standings, I'm assuming you're taking their schedules into major account when you make the distinction between them.


The Tigers can win a Wild Card OR the division. The Mariners can really only win a Wild Card.
   31. DKDC Posted: August 19, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4774672)
In both cases, it's about having more chances to get in.

The Tigers could finish behind the second wild card but still win the division.

The Nats have a better shot than the Os at a consolation wild card if they blow their division lead.
   32. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 19, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4774686)

The Nats have a better shot than the Os at a consolation wild card if they blow their division lead.


How is that? The O's are 4.5 up on the second WC, the Nats are 5 up on the second WC. That's a pretty small difference.
   33. DKDC Posted: August 19, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4774704)
Yes, but the O’s only need to be passed by ONE of those lurkers to miss out on the wild card, while the Nats need to be passed by TWO. That plus slightly more distant lurkers gives the Nats a better shot.

We’re splitting hairs, the truth is I’m not putting the O’s anywhere near a “lock” category when the magic number is double digits.
   34. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 19, 2014 at 03:40 PM (#4774739)
We’re splitting hairs, the truth is I’m not putting the O’s anywhere near a “lock” category when the magic number is double digits.
That's good, because if you jinx them, I will kill you.

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