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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Rockies send Dodgers to 9th straight loss | MLB.com

Dodgers STILL CAN’T WIN!

Jim Furtado Posted: September 10, 2017 at 07:11 AM | 81 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers, rockies

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   1. The Duke Posted: September 10, 2017 at 08:13 AM (#5529226)
I don't know how you lose 14 out of 15 and win 100 games. Seems the most unlikely of facts.
   2. McCoy Posted: September 10, 2017 at 08:40 AM (#5529230)
51 Giants lost 11 of 12 and ended up at 98 wins in 157 games and ended up in the world series
   3. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 10, 2017 at 08:59 AM (#5529232)
Somehow the '51 Giants' losing streak in April seems more conceivable than the Dodgers doing it in August-September. That team also went 42-15 after July and mixed in a 16-game win streak.

I don't know how you lose 14 out of 15 and win 100 games. Seems the most unlikely of facts.

And how do you go 1-14, right after going 24-5? Yesterday on the Cubs broadcast Ron Coomer was babbling about Roberts having the "bullpen game" against Milwaukee to start the streak, a game they lost 3-0 against a very good pitcher. Really?

To win 100 games, the Dodgers only have to go 8-12 from here on out, which looks both easy and improbable at the same time. I predict they snap out of it and more or less pick up where they left off.
   4. McCoy Posted: September 10, 2017 at 09:07 AM (#5529233)
The 1976 Phillies went 1 for 12 and 2 for 15 and won 101 games. The 1899 Brooklyn team went 1 for 11 and won 101 games and that is about it on the NL side.
   5. McCoy Posted: September 10, 2017 at 09:23 AM (#5529236)
The 1961 Tigers went 2 for 13 and won 101 games.
   6. The Duke Posted: September 10, 2017 at 09:31 AM (#5529237)
Looks like the Dodgers are still the worst. I guess it's moot if they don't win 100 which still seems unlikely but possible
   7. BDC Posted: September 10, 2017 at 09:42 AM (#5529239)
There are inverse examples, too, like the 1916 Giants getting half of their 86 wins in two streaks (17 and 26), but going 43-66 outside the streaks.

I think these things happen because teams have so many moving parts, and don't have a fixed talent level. Filter that through the vagaries and random bounces of the season, and you can get weird stretches.

With individuals, it seems less likely. Ted Williams had a week in June 1941 where he only batted .250, but it would indeed be bizarre if he'd batted .400 while going 1-for-50 at some point. From the point of view of arithmetic, but also "how could that be the same guy?" But teams are not quite like that.
   8. McCoy Posted: September 10, 2017 at 09:58 AM (#5529242)
The most common losing streak number for teams with 100 plus wins is 4 or 5. The least was I think 3 losses which quite a few teams did.
   9. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: September 10, 2017 at 10:03 AM (#5529244)
The 2016 Cubs' only bad stretch was that 5-15 stretch leading up to the break, but it was something else--that team had only three losing streaks of longer than three games all year, but all three (a 5-gamer and two 4-gamers) came within that same 20-game stretch, which pushes the limits of mathematical possibility.

Outside of those miserable three weeks they went 109-49 including the postseason, never losing more than three straight.
   10. Mans Best Friend Posted: September 10, 2017 at 10:24 AM (#5529248)
losing streak number for teams with 100 plus wins is 4 or 5

Dodgers had a fiver immediately preceding this one. If not for a 1-0 Kershaw win over the Pads, we're talking 15 straight.
   11. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 10, 2017 at 02:01 PM (#5529301)
The Dodgers are at Washington for three later this week. They are only five up in the race for the #1 record. How crazy is it that LA may not even be the one-seed in the playoffs?

Also, the NFL is the only pro sport where the regular season stills feels valuable, week in and week out. The lack of value in having home field advantage, plus the addition of another WC slot, has rendered so much of the regular season meaningless.
   12. Meatwad Posted: September 10, 2017 at 02:10 PM (#5529307)
even with this losing streak they still have a 10 game lead on the division. would take something amazing happening for them to not be in the playoffs.
   13. cardsfanboy Posted: September 10, 2017 at 02:55 PM (#5529315)

Also, the NFL is the only pro sport where the regular season stills feels valuable, week in and week out. The lack of value in having home field advantage, plus the addition of another WC slot, has rendered so much of the regular season meaningless.


I'm trying to figure out what type of parody this is, I mean I know that nobody seriously believes this do they? None of the four major sports, is the regular season actually that meaningful, but baseball is set up where the regular season matters more than in the lesser sports. Football individual games have more meaning, simply because they have more weight, but the regular season doesn't really seem to matter, and it's quite possibly the single most predictable(i.e. boring) sport of the major four.
   14. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 10, 2017 at 03:08 PM (#5529322)
#13: I was not clear in how I wrote the excerpt from which you quoted. The first sentence is referring to the NFL regular season, whereas the second sentence is referring to the MLB regular season.

I believe many people agree that the MLB regular season is far less compelling than the NFL regular season. If one wants to argue that part of the reason for this is that there about 1/10th as many regular season games, I would agree with that. Most of the general public is acting in ways consistent with my assertion. The ratings for NFL pre-season games is far better than any competing MLB game. The ratings for NFL games between two teams not in your market will be far higher, in virtually all cases, than a competing local baseball game - by a mile.

There are many reasons for this:
1) Scarcity of games in the NFL vs MLB
2) The growing role of fantasy sports
3) The overall popularity of the product
4) The importance of a specific seeding (for a playoff spot) or record (for a top draft pick).

I'm a Red Sox fan. We're going to make the playoffs, and we've pretty much known it for a few months now. But do I think our chances of winning the World Series are significantly helped/harmed by whether we are the 1,2, or 3 seed? And, in the event that we lose the division to the Yankees, the "safety net" of getting one of the two wild card spots provides such margin for error that the worst case scenario isn't that much worse than the best case scenario.

In contrast, NFL football seedings are a much bigger deal. In New England, we've known for most of the last 15 years that we're going to win the division - but because home field is so important in the playoffs, even when we are four games up in the division after six weeks, we still hang on every game, because the difference between 12-4 and 13-3 could be the difference between the '14 and '16 seasons (when we were at home throughout the playoffs, and then won the Super Bowl) and 2015 (when we narrowly lost at Denver in the AFC title game, and thus did not get to the Super Bowl). Every game matters so much in football...and any single game in MLB matters so little.
   15. cardsfanboy Posted: September 10, 2017 at 03:27 PM (#5529328)
But you only need to win 9 games to make the playoffs most years, so as long as you have as many victories and number of games remaining to win 9, you have a shot at making the post season. As far as homefield advantage, ehh, I get that there is a higher win percentage for being the hometeam in the post season, but that is just as likely because of being the better team than homefield advantage.(heck every visitor won in the wild card round of 2015).

Of course NFL final standings is pretty much already known going into the season. Baseball has gotten that way over the past couple of years(but still you have surprises like Arizona, Milwaukee and Colorado this year) but football is second only to basketball in predictability for the season. I just don't see the appeal about the regular season games other than it's effectively a week worth of results in 3.5 hours of tv.
   16. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 10, 2017 at 03:33 PM (#5529330)
In New England, we've known for most of the last 15 years that we're going to win the division - but because home field is so important in the playoffs, even when we are four games up in the division after six weeks, we still hang on every game, because the difference between 12-4 and 13-3 could be the difference between the '14 and '16 seasons (when we were at home throughout the playoffs, and then won the Super Bowl) and 2015 (when we narrowly lost at Denver in the AFC title game, and thus did not get to the Super Bowl).


Home field advantage in the NFL is "more important" in large part because the NFL talks it up a lot more. It's pretty hard to demonstrate that it makes that much of a difference - the system works such that the better team usually gets home-field, so it's natural that the team with home field should win a lot more of the time.

Your analysis didn't extend as far back as 2012, when the Patriots had HFA for the entire playoffs but still lost to the Ravens, or 2010, when the Patriots had HFA but lost to the Jets.
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 10, 2017 at 03:41 PM (#5529334)
but because home field is so important in the playoffs, even when we are four games up in the division after six weeks, we still hang on every game, because the difference between 12-4 and 13-3 could be the difference between the '14 and '16 seasons (when we were at home throughout the playoffs, and then won the Super Bowl) and 2015 (when we narrowly lost at Denver in the AFC title game, and thus did not get to the Super Bowl). Every game matters so much in football...and any single game in MLB matters so little.

Haven't we had just as many WC Super Bowl winners as WC World Series Champions?

In the last 10 years, the Giants, Steelers, and Packers all won the Super Bowl as a WC, and the Giants also won as a 9-7 divions winner (so only 1 home game). In that same period we have the Giants and the Cardinals winning a WS as the WC.
   18. cardsfanboy Posted: September 10, 2017 at 03:53 PM (#5529338)
addenum to my comment in 15....

But you only need to win 9 games to make the playoffs most years, so as long as you have as many victories and number of games remaining to win 9, you have a shot at making the post season.


I get that is true for all the sports of course(with the number needed being different of course) but the difference is that it's very possible for a decent team to have a winning streak equivalent to 37% of the season, in fact I'm pretty positive it happens multiple times every season. (that would be 6 games--in baseball that would be a 59 game winning streak)
   19. BDC Posted: September 10, 2017 at 04:08 PM (#5529341)
I was trying to think through a response to Balboni's #11, but I kept circling back around to "it depends on which sport you like better."

Though all thinking people can agree that, no matter how much you like watching basketball, its regular seasons are massively pointless :)
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 10, 2017 at 04:30 PM (#5529367)
Though all thinking people can agree that, no matter how much you like watching basketball, its regular seasons are massively pointless :)

The real problem is the first two rounds of the playoffs are generally pointless too.
   21. Sunday silence Posted: September 10, 2017 at 05:39 PM (#5529402)

Home field advantage in the NFL is "more important" in large part because the NFL talks it up a lot more.


No. Its more important cause the home field helps football teams more than in baseball. In basketball the HFA advantage is the highest of the four major sports.

In baseball I think HFA is 3% or a 53% chance to win if teams are =

IN football I think its about 5% but in any event am pretty sure bookies allow 3 pts for HFA.

If you dont think a 5% advantage is meaningful. I cant help you.

Also should be pointed out that in the NFL home teams hosting the WC winner in the 2nd round were winning about 81% clip until the Steelers went to the SB that year and in the last 10 years or so its been kind of wacky.

Certain primates should pay heed to the fallacy of small sample size.
   22. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 10, 2017 at 06:57 PM (#5529424)
Came here to post that it is going to be 10 straight losses, but alas the thread has meandered into a discussion of home field advantage, gridiron(which is just plain boring) and basketball(which is mostly boring until the final 8 teams and pretty much the last 5 minutes of each game).

Not complaining though as that's one of the nice things about this site is that you just never know where these threads will go.
   23. Mans Best Friend Posted: September 10, 2017 at 07:33 PM (#5529436)
Of course NFL final standings is pretty much already known going into the season.

You could have picked the mlb division winners six months ago, easy.
   24. Mans Best Friend Posted: September 10, 2017 at 07:38 PM (#5529437)
The regular season is meaningful -- games are meaningful -- when you are a passionate fan of a specific team. Otherwise, team sports are a pretty pointless exercise.
   25. cardsfanboy Posted: September 10, 2017 at 07:45 PM (#5529439)
You could have picked the mlb division winners six months ago, easy.


And it's been that way for a few years now. Parity has actually reduced competition, it has made it predictable.
   26. Walt Davis Posted: September 10, 2017 at 08:25 PM (#5529448)
Now the Cubs are making an effort to join the Dodgers in the collapse sweepstakes with their lead to the Cards/Brewers down to 2 and now 1 game behind the Rox for the 2nd WC. The Cubs have scored just 16 runs in their last 8, 8 of those coming in one game.
   27. puck Posted: September 10, 2017 at 08:26 PM (#5529449)
Now the Dodgers are not even trying. 4 game sweep by the Rockies in LA.
   28. dave h Posted: September 10, 2017 at 08:36 PM (#5529450)
Seeding in the NFL matters because the top two teams get byes. Seeding in MLB matters because the top three teams get byes.
   29. Mans Best Friend Posted: September 10, 2017 at 09:04 PM (#5529455)
The As swept the Stros this weekend, outscoring them 32-7.
   30. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 10, 2017 at 10:19 PM (#5529468)
Washington, now four games behind LA for the best record, with a three-game series coming up...
   31. Walt Davis Posted: September 10, 2017 at 10:26 PM (#5529471)
Seeding in MLB matters because the top three teams get byes.

Huh? They get "byes" from a single play-in game.
   32. cardsfanboy Posted: September 10, 2017 at 10:52 PM (#5529475)
Huh? They get "byes" from a single play-in game.


NFL seeds get byes for one game, not really seeing a difference.
   33. dave h Posted: September 10, 2017 at 11:13 PM (#5529481)
Byes are important because they about double the chance of making the next round. That's true in MLB or NFL.
   34. Walt Davis Posted: September 11, 2017 at 12:45 AM (#5529489)
NFL seeds get byes for one game, not really seeing a difference.

Because a "playoff series" in football is one game. A "playoff series" in baseball is 5 or 7. The "play-in" game only exists because they decided to add a 2nd WC but didn't want to add another playoff series. If they'd wanted to add a playoff series, we'd have 3 WCs with 2 division winners getting actual first round byes. The only change from the previous MLB playoff system is that the first WC team got put in a much more perilous position while nothing whatsoever happened to the chances of the division winner.

Also in football getting a bye gives you an extra full week to get healthy. Getting a bye from the play-in game gets you 1-2 days extra rest in baseball.
   35. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: September 11, 2017 at 01:17 AM (#5529494)
The only change from the previous MLB playoff system is that the first WC team got put in a much more perilous position while nothing whatsoever happened to the chances of the division winner.


Finally, an ally. For years, I've been arguing against the idea that the second wild card "made winning the division more important." It didn't. That has the exact same value it had from 1995-2011. It merely made finishing as best runner-up less important, by increasing the value of finishing second runner-up.
   36. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: September 11, 2017 at 02:41 AM (#5529496)
Ok, but the division winners still get byes. They expanded the playoffs from 3 rounds to 4. The wild card round is still a round even though it's a best of 1 rather than a best of 5 or 7.
   37. The Duke Posted: September 11, 2017 at 08:52 AM (#5529518)
We need a daily dodgers collapse thread
   38. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 11, 2017 at 09:53 AM (#5529539)

Byes are important because they about double the chance of making the next round. That's true in MLB or NFL.

I think a bye from the play-in game in MLB is more important than a first round bye in the NFL. No matter how good you are in MLB, there's still a decent chance that you'll lose a one-game playoff (and even if you don't lose, you may burn your #1 starter in winning).

In the NFL, if you're a very good team with HFA, it's less likely that you're going to lose that first-round playoff game. At least, I assume that's true. (And, barring injury, you can run the same lineup out there in the following game.)
   39. dave h Posted: September 11, 2017 at 11:39 AM (#5529608)
For years, I've been arguing against the idea that the second wild card "made winning the division more important." It didn't.


"More important" is always relative. If instead of adding the second wild card, they had said that any team that didn't win its division would be wiped from the earth, would you say winning the division was still equally important? The value of winning the division versus being first runner up changed, and that's all that matters in dictating team strategy. To a good first approximation, that value derives from the guarantee of making the next round, just like the top two NFL seeds.
   40. SoSH U at work Posted: September 11, 2017 at 11:44 AM (#5529613)
The value of winning the division versus being first runner up changed, and that's all that matters in dictating team strategy.


The value of winning one division relative to being first runner-up increased.

The value of winning a different division relative to being second-runner up decreased (most seasons).

Ultimately, with the addition of the second WC, all of the true value was shifted from the first runner-up to the second runner-up, and it's only through this relative methodology that we think that something that had the exact same value in 2011 as it did in 2012 changed.

In the old system, each playoff spot was worth .25 of a pennant. Today, winning the division is still worth .25 of a pennant. It hasn't changed. What's changed is being first runner-up used to be worth .25 of a pennant, and now it's worth .125.

   41. Nasty Nate Posted: September 11, 2017 at 11:45 AM (#5529615)
NOT THIS AGAIN!

j/k
   42. Buck Coats Posted: September 11, 2017 at 11:49 AM (#5529620)
The value of winning the division versus being first runner up changed


No it didn't - they just changed the definition of "first runner up" from "best record not yet in the playoffs" to "winner of a play-in of the 2 best records not yet in the playoffs". The value of division winning vs "that team" hasn't changed.

Yes, certainly it's worse to be the "best record not yet in the playoffs" now - but entirely at the benefit of the "2nd-best record" team.
   43. Nasty Nate Posted: September 11, 2017 at 11:53 AM (#5529627)


No it didn't - they just changed the definition of "first runner up" from "best record not yet in the playoffs" to "winner of a play-in of the 2 best records not yet in the playoffs".
What does this mean? The first runner up doesn't automatically win the play-in game.
   44. Mans Best Friend Posted: September 11, 2017 at 12:15 PM (#5529655)
Another Dodgers mlb first -- winning 15 of 16 and losing 15 of 16 in the same season.
   45. Baldrick Posted: September 11, 2017 at 01:12 PM (#5529706)
In the old system, each playoff spot was worth .25 of a pennant. Today, winning the division is still worth .25 of a pennant. It hasn't changed. What's changed is being first runner-up used to be worth .25 of a pennant, and now it's worth .125.

It's still worth a .25 chance of the pennant, but that's now wildly better than the next best option, as opposed to basically identical. Winning the division didn't increase in value relative to not making the playoffs, but who cares? It increased in value relative to the realistic alternative, which is the relevant comparison.
   46. PreservedFish Posted: September 11, 2017 at 01:25 PM (#5529724)
"Made winning the division is now more important" was always a lie. Unless you thought that the phrase included a tacit "compared to winning the wild card," which many people did, and reasonably so in my opinion.

So I think everyone is right.
   47. SoSH U at work Posted: September 11, 2017 at 01:43 PM (#5529740)

It's still worth a .25 chance of the pennant, but that's now wildly better than the next best option, as opposed to basically identical.


But it used to be wildly, wildly better than the next, next-best option, and now it's not. Why that gets ignored is a mystery.

There was only one division race, at most, per league, affected by this situation in the past. But, in most seasons*, there was also a pennant race that once featured a winner-take-all race that is now race a winner-take-all, loser-take-half scenario, which is undeniably worse. So what you've added to one race, you've taken from another.

Every way you slice it comes to the same basic truth: the second wild card hasn't made winning the division more important. It's mode finishing first runner-up less important. It's only when you choose to view it through a very narrow, incomplete prism that it's seen otherwise.

* Sometimes the second runner-up is from the same division, so sometimes the value isn't taken from another division race, but still potentially makes that other race weaker.
   48. SoSH U at work Posted: September 11, 2017 at 01:47 PM (#5529744)
Unless you thought that the phrase included a tacit "compared to winning the wild card," which many people did, and reasonably so in my opinion.



it was never reasonable to exclude the other realistic alternative, which was the fact that a previous division race that was once win or go home is now win or go play a road game at a team of relatively comparable ability, at which point if you win then you're on equal footing with the team that beat you out for the division title. I can understand why the networks wouldn't try to sell it that way (can you imagine how long the promo would last?), but we should hold ourselves to a higher standard than Fox.
   49. Nasty Nate Posted: September 11, 2017 at 01:58 PM (#5529756)
It's only when you choose to view it through a very narrow, incomplete prism that it's seen otherwise.
This may be true. But lots of people are viewing it through that prism, so let's not pretend it's some bizarre niche.
   50. SoSH U at work Posted: September 11, 2017 at 02:07 PM (#5529761)
This may be true. But lots of people are viewing it through that prism, so let's not pretend it's some bizarre niche.


It's not some small niche. It doesn't make it less wrong.

Baldrick says the relevant comparison is how it increased in value relative to the realistic alternative (which, as mentioned, is not the only realistic alternative). But why?

To me, what really matters is, is winning the pennant as a division winner easier or harder under this system than it once was? And it's neither, it's the exact same. And to the extent that it has more value than being the first runner-up, that is offset, completely, by having less value than being the second runner-up.

If you, me, PF and Baldrick are each given a dollar. Then next year, you, PF and Baldrick are each given a dollar, but me and Walt must split 50 cents, would you really think that you've got more money then?

   51. PreservedFish Posted: September 11, 2017 at 02:09 PM (#5529763)
#49 is also my response.
   52. PreservedFish Posted: September 11, 2017 at 02:14 PM (#5529765)
If you, me, PF and Baldrick are each given a dollar. Then next year, you, PF and Baldrick are each given a dollar, but me and Walt must split 50 cents, would you really think that you've got more money then?


Ok. Pretend that we've had this race for decades. For most of it, the winner got two bucks, everyone else got nothing. Then years ago we changed the rules so that #1 got a buck and #2 also got a buck. Then, after noting that for years nobody really cared if they came in first or second, we changed it so that #1 got a buck, #2 and #3 got 50 cents. When we made the final rule change, the reward for winning remained the same. It's still a buck. But now if there are only two guys coming down the line, they'll actually care who comes in first. For years, that was not true.

(Of course your point, which is a fine point, is that things change when there's a third guy that might win, or a fourth too)
   53. Nasty Nate Posted: September 11, 2017 at 02:15 PM (#5529766)
To me, what really matters is, is winning the pennant as a division winner easier or harder under this system than it once was?
Sure, but that's your narrow, incomplete prism.
   54. SoSH U at work Posted: September 11, 2017 at 02:34 PM (#5529776)
Sure, but that's your narrow, incomplete prism.


No it isn't, because the other part of the argument, the one no one addresses, covers the full picture.

Let's look at the 2015 AL.
The Jays won the AL East with 93 wins and the Yankees were the first wildcard at 87-75.

Over in the AL West, the Rangers outlasted the Astros, 88-74 to 86-76.

Whatever value was granted to the AL East Division winner relative to the runner-up under this scenario was lost by the AL West Division winner. In the pre-2011 rules, the Rangers' division title was worth immeasurably more than finishing second, as the Astros would have been sent home entirely. Under today's rules, the Astros got a really dandy consolation prize with a place in the wildcard game. You can't make the argument that the new rules made winning the AL West more important. It's not possible.

Under the reasoning being offered, if you really want to make winning the division more important, then baseball just needs to add three more wild cards. That will really make winning the division super valuable.

Does anyone believe that?

The new system makes winning one division per league more important relative to finishing as the runner-up. The new system makes winning one division per league less important relative to finishing as the runner-up. You want a full prism definition of what this the dual-wildcard system offers, that's it.
   55. Nasty Nate Posted: September 11, 2017 at 02:53 PM (#5529794)
Hmmm. That 2015 is a good example of what you mean.

I'm tempted to retort that the 2nd wild card team is not usually a threat to its division winner, but scrolling through the years, it often would be a threat. So that retort would be wrong.

Whatever value was granted to the AL East Division winner relative to the runner-up under this scenario was lost by the AL West Division winner.
Ok. But, does that necessarily mean that one division race got worse as much as the other one got better - from a fan/analysis/motivation perspective? Sure, the Astros (and the Yankees) got a dandy consolation prize, but both of them had a real motivation to win the division. The races still existed, even if the stakes were lower. I'm not sure what I'm asking.
   56. PreservedFish Posted: September 11, 2017 at 02:53 PM (#5529795)
I think that I had this argument several years ago with SOSH U and at the end of it I agreed that he was correct about absolutely everything. Unfortunately I don't remember the details. They often say that you can't change anyone's mind on the internet, but in this case the mind was willing but the gray matter was weak. I did not fail to change my mind out of stubbornness but rather out of forgetfulness.

#54 has a slam dunk argument in it, doesn't it? The second wild card not only rewarded the 5th best team in the league, but it did in fact actually weaken the importance of the AL West division title. So it didn't even do the thing it was supposed to do, it did the opposite.

I think that in the end the "second wild card made winning the division is now more important" position is really a failure of imagination. If you imagine only three fellows in a race, as in my stupid example in #52, you're getting it wrong.
   57. SoSH U at work Posted: September 11, 2017 at 02:59 PM (#5529798)
I think that I had this argument several years ago with SOSH U and at the end of it I agreed that he was correct about absolutely everything


You'd think I'd remember that, given that would be the only time in the history of ever I've even come close to that.
   58. Nasty Nate Posted: September 11, 2017 at 02:59 PM (#5529799)
I think that in the end the "second wild card made winning the division is now more important" position is really a failure of imagination.
Is it, or is it just a failure of phrasing?
   59. SoSH U at work Posted: September 11, 2017 at 03:05 PM (#5529805)
Is it, or is it just a failure of phrasing?


Maybe in some cases, but it doesn't seem like people give a lot of thought to the division race that once was winner-take-all and now isn't.
   60. Nasty Nate Posted: September 11, 2017 at 03:09 PM (#5529810)
That's true. But I think people feel that the important thing is that all 3 division races now matter.
   61. PreservedFish Posted: September 11, 2017 at 03:11 PM (#5529813)
I think people just imagine a classic pennant race between two great teams. For 20 years it didn't matter who came out on top, now it does. Improvement, right? They clearly aren't thinking about the lesser teams - the fact that you are rewarding the 5th best team and that other division races can be made even less exciting.
   62. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 11, 2017 at 03:14 PM (#5529818)
The 1961 Tigers went 2 for 13 and won 101 games.

The 2000 Yankees finished the season with 3-15 and got outscored by 148 to 59, and then went on to win the World Series.
   63. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 11, 2017 at 03:16 PM (#5529820)
According to BB-Reference's SRS numbers, the Dodgers are now only the 3rd best team in baseball, tied with Houston with 1.0 and behind the Indians (1.4) and the Sly Old Yankees (1.1)
   64. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 11, 2017 at 03:21 PM (#5529825)
The 2000 Yankees finished the season with 3-15 and got outscored by 148 to 59, and then went on to win the World Series.

Yes, but the psychological effect of such a streak on a team is going to be greatly diminished when they've won consecutive World Series.
   65. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: September 11, 2017 at 03:57 PM (#5529847)
[50] If you, me, PF and Baldrick are each given a dollar. Then next year, you, PF and Baldrick are each given a dollar, but me and Walt must split 50 cents, would you really think that you've got more money then?

No, but last year I didn't much care if I was me or you. Next year I have a major preference. It is "more important" to me to be in one position relative to another. That my preference for being me vs someone not in the example has not changed is immaterial. The fact that I now have an opportunity to have a preference between being me and Walt is a different question.

[54] You can't make the argument that the new rules made winning the AL West more important. It's not possible.

Wrong. I sure can. Let's take September 14th of that year as our example.

TOR 82
NYY 79

KCR 84
MIN 75

HOU 77
TEX 76

How important would you say winning the AL West is to these two teams? Minnesota makes up two games and their race becomes win-or-go home. Your claim that that division title (and, by extension, division titles generally) is not important is ex post facto and assumes facts not known. You may be able to look back from the future and state with certainty which division title had its marginal value most retroactively nullified by one system of playoff qualification vs another, but that's a nonsense position in the context of a pennant race, which is not a fixed point in time.
   66. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 11, 2017 at 04:01 PM (#5529848)
The 2000 Yankees finished the season with 3-15 and got outscored by 148 to 59, and then went on to win the World Series.

Yes, but the psychological effect of such a streak on a team is going to be greatly diminished when they've won consecutive World Series.


OTOH if the Dodgers have to face the Nats again in the first full round, it'll be a lite version of what a Red Sox - Cubs World Series would've been like in 2003.

And on an unrelated note, I'm glad to see the Indians and the Astros fighting it out for the best record, since that means the Astros won't be laying down for those last 4 games in Fenway.
   67. BDC Posted: September 11, 2017 at 04:33 PM (#5529861)
Just curious (I don't want to get into the value of a first-place finish :) but:

What was the "most boring" that the NL West became this year? There were times in July when the Dodgers were 5-6 games ahead of Arizona, while Colorado was 5-6 games ahead of the Cubs for the other Wild Card. Was that the extreme? Things have tightened up since, though Colorado still leads Milwaukee and St. Louis by three games with 19 to play: a nice lead but hardly luxury.

In any case, a race like the NL West as it tied into the NL as a whole, much of this summer, shows that no system is perfect. I still like the current system better than the 1995-2011 setup.
   68. BDC Posted: September 11, 2017 at 04:36 PM (#5529863)
I'm glad to see the Indians and the Astros fighting it out for the best record, since that means the Astros won't be laying down for those last 4 games in Fenway

Is there a little snark there? I can't imagine that the Astros would do anything but tune up for the playoffs if all that was at stake was an eventual Game Seven in Houston instead of Cleveland. I think we've established that the Indians are vulnerable in Game Sevens in Cleveland …

OTOH, teams can be tuning up for the playoffs and still beat those who are still scrambling for a better berth. It's a funny game.
   69. Nasty Nate Posted: September 11, 2017 at 04:47 PM (#5529867)
Is there a little snark there? I can't imagine that the Astros would do anything but tune up for the playoffs if all that was at stake was an eventual Game Seven in Houston instead of Cleveland.
There would be more at stake: getting to play the wildcard survivor rather than the East winner in the ALDS.
   70. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 11, 2017 at 04:57 PM (#5529869)
I'm glad to see the Indians and the Astros fighting it out for the best record, since that means the Astros won't be laying down for those last 4 games in Fenway

Is there a little snark there? I can't imagine that the Astros would do anything but tune up for the playoffs if all that was at stake was an eventual Game Seven in Houston instead of Cleveland. I think we've established that the Indians are vulnerable in Game Sevens in Cleveland …


No snark, just relief that the Astros won't have the best AL record wrapped up before the series in Boston, as it looked like they would not that long ago. And at the rate the Dodgers are imploding, there's no guarantee they'd get the HFA in the World Series even if they managed to get to it.
   71. Sunday silence Posted: September 11, 2017 at 05:36 PM (#5529876)
can someone tell me what the Dodgers peripherals would have told us before the slump started? For instance, what was there pythagorean projection? Their BABIP? Their FIP? was there anything out there to suggest that their w/l record was shaky?


are peripherals really good at predicting this sort of stuff?
   72. BDC Posted: September 11, 2017 at 05:40 PM (#5529877)
There would be more at stake: getting to play the wildcard survivor rather than the East winner in the ALDS

That's true. Saber-wisdom has become so engrained in me that I see that as a complete toss-up, but the Astros might not.
   73. Mans Best Friend Posted: September 11, 2017 at 06:11 PM (#5529887)
it doesn't seem like people give a lot of thought to the division race that once was winner-take-all and now isn't.

Because besides from the players (perhaps), nobody cares about division titles beyond their value as playoff berth. This has been true since 1969, when finishing first in your league ceased to matter. Thats the value that continues to degrade with added playoff spots.

Going into the 2015 playoffs, the Rangers berth was more valuable that the Astros.
   74. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: September 11, 2017 at 06:41 PM (#5529899)

No, but last year I didn't much care if I was me or you.


But you did care if you were you or Walt. A lot.


How important would you say winning the AL West is to these two teams? Minnesota makes up two games and their race becomes win-or-go home. Your claim that that division title (and, by extension, division titles generally) is not important is ex post facto and assumes facts not known. You may be able to look back from the future and state with certainty which division title had its marginal value most retroactively nullified by one system of playoff qualification vs another, but that's a nonsense position in the context of a pennant race, which is not a fixed point in time.


First of all, it's still not "more important." At best, that's equal. Second, you're talking about two different things - the quality of the pennant race and the prize for winning. Which is fine, but they're not exactly the same thing. Finally, I don't really see the point of finding a fixed point in time, because a) nobody else was doing that for that side of the argument, and b) because, even in the context of the race, why would you stop at a fixed point when all the points are relevant. And at some point, the 2015 AL West race would have been less compelling than if it had happened in some other year. It's unavoidable given the changing stakes involved for the participants.

As I said above, the new system makes winning one division per league more important relative to finishing as the runner-up. The new system makes winning one division per league less important relative to finishing as the runner-up.

Or, more succinctly. The new system makes finishing the first runner-up less valuable than it once was. And for some, that's enough, even if they bother recognizing it's simply because the actual value was transferred to the second runner-up.
   75. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: September 11, 2017 at 06:45 PM (#5529900)
There would be more at stake: getting to play the wildcard survivor rather than the East winner in the ALDS


All things beinq equal, teams would much rather have HFA, or play the wildcard in the division series. But in most cases, they're not going to do anything extraordinary to pursue it (or, if they do, they'll get roasted as the Pirates did when they were Wild Card A who had a slight chance to catch the division-leading Cards, but instead entered the WC game without their best pitcher).

   76. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 11, 2017 at 06:50 PM (#5529902)
All things beinq equal, teams would much rather have HFA, or play the wildcard in the division series. But in most cases, they're not going to do anything extraordinary to pursue it

Agree. But, it probably means they play all their regulars and use real RPs, rather than trotting out a team that 50% AAA-ers.
   77. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: September 11, 2017 at 07:14 PM (#5529909)
Second, you're talking about two different things - the quality of the pennant race and the prize for winning. Which is fine, but they're not exactly the same thing.

Then I'm not explaining myself well. I am only talking about the 'importance' of the division title, which is how you've framed the debate as I understand it. That's all I intend to engage with.

Finally, I don't really see the point of finding a fixed point in time, because a) nobody else was doing that for that side of the argument, and b) because, even in the context of the race, why would you stop at a fixed point when all the points are relevant.

Yes, somebody is; you are. Your fixed point is 'today.' You're pointing at the 'importance' of the division title with the benefit of added information - you know how things turned out. My contention is that that is not how it works. Why would you stop at a fixed point, indeed? You believe that your perspective in 2017 takes precedence over the, let's say, 162 other discrete perspectives experienced by the Texas Rangers of the 2015 MLB season. I believe that it doesn't, which explodes the argument that the 2015 AL West division title was 'unimportant' because it's only 'unimportant' given outcomes that were unknown at the time. You think those Rangers' reaction upon winning game #158, or whatever, was "ha, aren't we so silly for having been trying so hard to win these extra games, the Twins fell out of the race anyway so we had the WC to fall back on, too bad we didn't rest our starters instead"?

And at some point, the 2015 AL West race would have been less compelling than if it had happened in some other year. It's unavoidable given the changing stakes involved for the participants.

Okay, and I think this argument has been done to death so I don't understand its usefulness; for any playoff system there are hypotheticals and real-life examples that can be shown to be more or less compelling based on the circumstances. So what? You're the one conflating 'drama' and 'value' here. You said the 2015 AL West title was not 'important' to the team who won it. That's wrong. I'm not saying the race was 'compelling' because the players involved didn't know who would win what, I'm saying that they considered winning those games, and that title, 'important' for that reason.

As I said above, the new system makes winning one division per league more important relative to finishing as the runner-up. The new system makes winning one division per league less important relative to finishing as the runner-up.

And as I said above, this is ex post facto reasoning - because you also said that it makes one specific division per league more or less relatively important.
   78. BDC Posted: September 11, 2017 at 07:28 PM (#5529914)
162 other discrete perspectives experienced by the Texas Rangers of the 2015 MLB season

Oh good grief don't remind me.
   79. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 11, 2017 at 07:42 PM (#5529921)

can someone tell me what the Dodgers peripherals would have told us before the slump started? For instance, what was there pythagorean projection? Their BABIP? Their FIP? was there anything out there to suggest that their w/l record was shaky?

No, at least not based on the Baseball Prospectus adjusted stats which I remember checking a couple of weeks ago. Those said that the Dodgers were by far the best team in baseball before the losing streak. Even today, they say LA is the second-best team in baseball, based on third-order wins, behind the Indians. (This doesn't take into account recent roster changes that change the current composition and strength of teams.)
   80. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: September 11, 2017 at 07:59 PM (#5529924)

Yes, somebody is; you are. Your fixed point is 'today.' You're pointing at the 'importance' of the division title with the benefit of added information - you know how things turned out.


That's how the entire argument is always framed. I'm just playing by the rules. People don't say the AL East division title in 2007 (the first example I recall of teams seemingly not caring whether they won the division or the wild card and one of the go-to examples of the flaws of the old system) was actually just as important because on Sept. 11 it was possible the loser would not qualify for the wildcard. The argument is based on the fact the single wild card, whoever it may be, was on equal footing with the division winners when the playoffs started, which isn't terribly appealing to a lot of fans.

If you want to argue races, we can do that. If you want to argue the value of winning the division title vs. the value of finishing as the runner-up, we can do that too. In both cases, whatever is true of the new system as it compares to Division Champ/first wildcard is offset by the change to the other division champ/second wild card. If you want to argue every single day of the season, I'm not going to do that, but even that doesn't change the basic point.

You said the 2015 AL West title was not 'important' to the team who won it. That's wrong. I'm not saying the race was 'compelling' because the players involved didn't know who would win what, I'm saying that they considered winning those games, and that title, 'important' for that reason.


I said the 2015 AL West title was not as important under the new system as it would have been under the old, using the "relative" argument that the supporters of the dual-wild card system employ. Under the old rules, the AL West title would have been worth .25 of a pennant, and the runner-up finish would have been worth .00 of a pennant. Now, the runner-up finish is worth .125 of a pennant. Under your own "major preference" standard, you would have to prefer the latter to the former, but for some reason, you're balking at that.

My contention is that that is not how it works. Why would you stop at a fixed point, indeed? You believe that your perspective in 2017 takes precedence over the, let's say, 162 other discrete perspectives experienced by the Texas Rangers of the 2015 MLB season. I believe that it doesn't, which explodes the argument that the 2015 AL West division title was 'unimportant' because it's only 'unimportant' given outcomes that were unknown at the time. You think those Rangers' reaction upon winning game #158, or whatever, was "ha, aren't we so silly for having been trying so hard to win these extra games, the Twins fell out of the race anyway so we had the WC to fall back on, too bad we didn't rest our starters instead"?


And, as stated, that's no different than existed in the one wildcard system. It was only after the division was over when it was known. I'm perfectly OK playing by this standard, but then you've got to apply it to the old system as well, in which case, we're back to the same place.

And as I said above, this is ex post facto reasoning - because you also said that it makes one specific division per league more or less relatively important.


I really don't know what you're trying to say here.

Honestly, while I wouldn't have expanded to the second wild card, it's also the least-objectionable playoff expansion MLB has ever done, or is ever likely to do. It did accomplish one reasonable goal - making it less valuable to be the first runner-up. It just did so by making it more valuable to be the second runner-up.
   81. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: September 11, 2017 at 08:00 PM (#5529925)
Agree. But, it probably means they play all their regulars and use real RPs, rather than trotting out a team that 50% AAA-ers.


Yeah. They're not going to burn an ace, or overuse the bullpen, but they'll use the regulars and hope for the best.

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