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Playoffs Newsbeat

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

How Much Do the Playoff Odds Change in a Shorter Season?

Will there be a 2020 baseball season? How many games will teams play? What will that mean for the 2020 baseball season? Normally, these would be extremely upsetting questions to contemplate; in the world in which we’re currently living, they’re somewhere around the 75,000th most important quandaries facing us. But as someone qualified to serve as a baseball writer rather than an epidemiologist, they’re also the kinds of questions I can actually seek to answer, and the differences between how baseball will eventually look versus what we’re used to are bigger than you might think. Assuming we have a season, that is; if no games are played, the projections will be 100% accurate.

So how much do the playoff races change in a shorter season? To answer this, I spent the weekend reconfiguring ZiPS so that it wouldn’t assume a 162-game season — an eventuality I had hoped not to have to deal with unless or until there was a strike — allowing me to run playoff probabilities for seasons of any length. Let’s start with the baseline projections, how ZiPS saw the races before the world turned upside down

....

There are no COVID-19-based changes in here, just the projection based on if the world had frozen in place two weeks ago and everything happened as we would normally expect. But let’s assume we hit one of the better-case scenarios, get a quickie two weeks of “spring training” in late May, and start the season on June 1. Let’s further assume that, with MLB having a vested interest in playing as many games as possible without killing people, they come to an agreement to play the playoffs in neutral warm-weather cities throughout November, giving the league an extra month to play regular-season games. Under this scenario, the league could theoretically fit somewhere around 140 games in. How do great teams look in a 140-game season instead of a 162-game one? Let’s run the numbers.

Before we do, keep in mind that there’s no adjustment made in the below numbers for, say, James Paxton and Aaron Judge being healthy. We’re just trying to gauge how much things change based only on season length

Jim Mora has some thoughts on this topic….

 

QLE Posted: March 18, 2020 at 01:00 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: odds, playoffs, shortened season

Thursday, March 12, 2020

2020 MLB Preview: Projecting Every Team’s Record and a World Series Winner

A new baseball season is nearly upon us. That means SI’s annual MLB Preview issue will hit newsstands—and your mailbox, if you subscribe here—shortly. We’ve got scouting reports on all 30 clubs, featuring terrific work from Joe Sheehan, Craig Goldstein, Emma Baccellieri and Matt Martell.

Each team preview runs through everything you need to know in 2020, and a snippet of how we think our 2030 MLB preview will read. Below you’ll find our printed postseason prediction and links to all 30 previews. Enjoy.

....

World Series Prediction: Yankees over Dodgers

It’s hard to pick against the two best teams in each league making it to the Fall Classic, with plenty of star power to boot. Mookie Betts and Gerrit Cole each make it to the World Series in the first year with their new teams, but it’s Cole who walks away with a ring just before Betts’s free-agent bonanza begins.

 

QLE Posted: March 12, 2020 at 01:03 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: playoffs, predictions, projections, season preview

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Six Modest Proposals: A Reply to Rob Manfred

(Co-author’s Note: Despite my name alone being displayed under the title, and the viewpoint the text will assume, this article is a collaboration with my friend and occasional THT contributor Paul Golba. The ideas originate mainly with him; the writing originates with me.)

Nobody can accuse Rob Manfred of being unwilling to try fresh ideas. In an offseason that already saw several rules changes to MLB, the Commissioner floated a proposal for a massive change to the sport’s playoff structure. The plan reportedly won raves from television networks that might be in a position to air games from the augmented playoff schedule, as well as from MLB Network’s Bob Costas. Reaction from actual fans has been decidedly more mixed.

In Manfred’s plan, there would be three division winners and four Wild Cards in each league. The team with the best record in each league would have a first-round bye. The second-best division winner would then choose its first-round opponent from the three lowest Wild Cards, followed by the remaining division winner getting next choice. (These choices would be made on a live broadcast.) The top Wild Card would get the leftover opponent. The teams would play best-of-three series, with the higher seed hosting all three games. The winners would join the bye teams in the League Division round, and the postseason would proceed as it does now.

Matt Swartz made a prompt reply to the Manfred proposal on our pages, offering his ideas for how to run an expanded playoff system. That article was still in the future, though, when I had my first discussion of the matter with Paul Golba, my frequent co-Grand Tourist and periodic co-author. We shared a dislike for the scheme, though not everything it proposed rubbed either of us the wrong way.

Rob Manfred is willing to consider eating Irish children as a solution to any and all problems concerning Major League Baseball.

QLE Posted: March 10, 2020 at 01:29 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: double duty, final four, manfred is thinking about it, nascar, playoffs, soccer

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The New Playoff Format Would Disincentivize Competition | FanGraphs Baseball

Why even have divisions? They are meaningless with the proposed playoff system.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 11, 2020 at 05:39 PM | 50 comment(s)
  Beats: playoffs

Monday, February 10, 2020

MLB expanding playoff system?

this one may make the Petco thread look like a brief, casual conversation…

“Imagine a team picking its playoff opponent. Think about Brian Cashman and the Yankees deciding whether to face the Red Sox or avoid them in the first round of the postseason. All on live TV.

Well, it is probably coming soon to the major leagues.

MLB is seriously weighing a move from five to seven playoff teams in each league beginning in 2022, The Post has learned.

In this concept, the team with the best record in each league would receive a bye to avoid the wild-card round and go directly to the Division Series. The two other division winners and the wild card with the next best record would each host all three games in a best-of-three wild-card round. So the bottom three wild cards would have no first-round home games.”

Howie Menckel Posted: February 10, 2020 at 05:16 PM | 128 comment(s)
  Beats: playoffs

Saturday, February 01, 2020

Which Surprise Team Will Crash the Playoffs in 2020?

It’s never too early to look ahead to October, right? Every season features a handful of surprise teams, and inevitably some will make the postseason, even in today’s tank-tastic MLB world.

Last year the Twins, Rays, Nationals and Cardinals made the playoffs despite missing them the year before. So who’s crashing the postseason party in 2020?

So, what teams do you think could make the playoffs that didn’t last year?

 

QLE Posted: February 01, 2020 at 01:08 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: playoffs, predictions

Friday, November 01, 2019

MLB playoff starters’ strength reminds us of Madison Bumgarner’s brilliance

SAN FRANCISCO—For a dozen years, Madison Bumgarner has been associated with the Giants, and for most of that time he has served as the face of the franchise and cornerstone on the field. But Bumgarner woke up Thursday morning looking at free agency and an uncertain future.

The 30-year-old will hit an open market that has been unkind to some veterans in recent years, but as free agency approached, Bumgarner was always confident in the case he could present to other organizations.

It was bolstered as the Giants sat at home in October.

This was a throwback postseason, one in which a game that increasingly has focused on hard-throwing bullpens took a step back and embraced starting pitching. Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke got the Astros to a Game 7. Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin pushed the Nationals to their first title.

 

QLE Posted: November 01, 2019 at 01:21 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: madison bumgarner, playoffs, starter usage

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Gerrit Cole shuts down the mighty Yankees, and is about to become a very rich man

NEW YORK — The short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium has gotten the best of several pitchers over the years.

Yet Houston Astros righty Gerrit Cole — arguably the greatest pitcher on the planet these days — was able to withstand the dreaded 314 sign and the mighty Bronx Bombers on Tuesday night.

He didn’t have his best stuff by any means. But that’s what makes him the best in the business. He can keep putting up zeroes on the scoreboard without it.

“He wasn’t as electric or as sharp as usual,” a scout in attendance told Yahoo Sports. “But he was still able to win. And that’s what makes him great.”

All day long, will he biddy-biddy-bum?

 

QLE Posted: October 17, 2019 at 12:13 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: gerrit cole, money, playoffs

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Lawyer asks for a delay in a case due to the Nationals’ playoff run

From personal experience, I can tell you that lawyers will ask for extensions of deadlines for any number of reasons. Sometimes they’re legitimately overworked and can’t get a brief ready for filing in time. Sometimes they are still trying to gather information and it’s just taking longer than expected. Sometimes they have a vacation coming up or something like that and don’t want to ruin it with work. Sometimes they just procrastinated.

No matter what the actual reason for an extension, though, rarely if ever do you they say they need it for purely personal reasons like that vacation or personal failings like procrastination. They tend to cite “the press of business” or the impossibility of meeting the deadline for reasons out side of their control. It’s always outside of their control.

Which makes the honesty of this lawyer’s request for the delay of a filing deadline so refreshing. He’s been watching the Nationals’ playoff run with his nine-year-old son, dang it, that keeps them both up late, and for that reason he wants some more time to get his work done:

So, which one of you requested this?

 

QLE Posted: October 16, 2019 at 12:44 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: lawyers, nationals, playoffs

Sunday, October 13, 2019

What the Cubs can learn from the 2019 MLB postseason so far

For the 10 teams that qualify for MLB’s postseason, October represents a chance to climb baseball’s mountain and secure a championship. For the 20 other teams sitting at home, though, October is a chance to evaluate those in the Big Dance.

Less than two weeks into the postseason, here’s some things that the Cubs can take away from the action thus far.

1. Starting pitching matters

With bullpens being relied on more than ever, starting pitchers aren’t used the same way as just a few seasons ago. The Brewers rode their bullpen all the way to Game 7 of the NLCS last season, while the Rays used an “opener” (a reliever who starts a game and pitches 1-3 innings) in Game 4 of the ALDS this season – beating the Astros 4-1.

Mind you, one of these points is one which learning from seems to be avoided at all costs, so…..

QLE Posted: October 13, 2019 at 12:38 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, managerial decision-making, pitching, playoffs

Cards’ front office says playoff baseballs have lost juice

The St. Louis Cardinals’ front office says baseballs have suddenly lost their juice this postseason, supporting a claim from a prominent data scientist that the balls have changed following a historic, homer-friendly regular season.

Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said Saturday that St. Louis’ analytics department has found the ball is flying 4 ½ fewer feet on average in the postseason. Players in both leagues have been stunned when hard-hit balls have fallen on the warning track this month, raising more questions about the makeup of the baseballs after hitters clubbed a record 6,776 home runs in the regular season — a rise attributed to unusually far-flying balls.

“I mean there’s probably all kind of different theories behind that that I won’t really get into,” Shildt said before a 3-1 loss to Washington in Game 2 of the NL Championship Series. “Just the fact of the matter, it could be any number of things.”

The numbers don’t leave much doubt, says data journalist Rob Arthur. He was among the first to suggest tweaks to the ball may have caused home runs to spike as early as 2015, and he thinks something is off with this year’s October model, too.

So, where were these balls during the regular season, and what do we do to have them used during it?

 

QLE Posted: October 13, 2019 at 12:25 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, juiced baseballs, playoffs

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Braves’ [stuff] doesn’t work in the playoffs, either

The Athletics have been something of a punching bag over the years because executive vice president and president of baseball operations Billy Beane was famously quoted in Moneyball saying, “My [stuff] doesn’t work in the playoffs. My job is to get us to the playoffs. What happens after that is […] luck.”

Since 2000, the A’s have reached the playoffs 10 times. They have advanced into the ALCS just once, in 2006, when they were swept out by the Tigers. They’re 1-6 in the Division Series and 0-3 in the AL Wild Card game, accounting for their last three playoff losses (2014, ’18-19). To call their performance in the playoffs disappointing would be an understatement.

The A’s, however, are not the only team whose [stuff] doesn’t work in the playoffs. The Twins, who were just swept out of the ALDS by the Yankees, haven’t reached the ALCS since 2002. They have failed in their last six appearances in the ALDS — mostly against the Yankees — and lost the AL Wild Card game in 2017 as well (to the Yankees).

A consideration of losing streaks in the playoffs, albeit one that has gone out of date since between when I found it and when I posted it…..

QLE Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:44 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, braves, nationals, playoff streak, playoffs, the agony of defeat, twins

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Bullpens? More like blowpens as playoff relievers get rocked

Kyle Gibson kept hoping he’d someday pitch in October, take the mound in a big game when the whole sport was watching. Last week, he got that chance.

Summoned late at Yankee Stadium, the 31-year-old Minnesota right-hander entered the AL Division Series opener. The result — one inning, three runs on three walks, a hit and three stolen bases.

“First postseason opportunity, didn’t go how I thought it was going to go,” he said.

He’s not alone.

What are “Headlines I Would Never Have Expected The Associated Press To Run”, Art?

Right you are- select again!

 

QLE Posted: October 09, 2019 at 01:04 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: bullpens, playoffs

Despite loss, starting Justin Verlander on short rest was right call

The Astros were stopped in their tracks by the Rays on Tuesday night, dropping Game 4 of the ALDS 4-1 to force a decisive Game 5 on Thursday. AL Cy Young Award candidate Justin Verlander, who was excellent in Game 1, started on three days’ rest. It did not go well.

The Rays bombarded Verlander for three runs in the first inning a Tommy Pham solo homer and RBI singles from Travis d’Arnaud and Joey Wendle. Verlander would also serve up a solo homer to Willy Adames in the fourth. Verlander was unable to complete the fourth inning. His final line: four runs on seven hits and three walks with five strikeouts on 84 pitches across 3 2/3 innings.

Tuesday marked Verlander’s shortest postseason start of his career. His 33 game score is tied for his worst in the postseason along with his Game 1 start in the 2012 World Series against the Giants.

Starting Verlander on short rest was a bad call by manager A.J. Hinch, right? I’m not so sure. The data we have on pitchers pitching on short rest isn’t terribly great but Craig Edwards at FanGraphs worked around it a bit by focusing on a potential symptom Verlander might show starting on short rest. He created two data sets, called “High Velo Start” (fastball averages 94.5 MPH or better) and “Low Velo Start” (fastball averages 94.4 MPH or lower). Edwards found that in 10 “low velo starts” this season, Verlander’s strikeout rate significantly decreased and his walk rate increased, as did his home run rate. His “low velo” FIP was 4.09.

A rather suspect argument, if we can be frank on the matter…..

 

QLE Posted: October 09, 2019 at 12:29 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: justin verlander, playoffs, short rest

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Driven out: Twins rookie _ and ex-Uber guy _ tagged by Yanks

NEW YORK (AP) — Just too much traffic for Twins rookie Randy Dobnak.

The feel-good story of the Uber driver-turned-big league pitcher came to a screeching halt Saturday when the New York Yankees tagged him from the get-go in an 8-2 rout, putting Minnesota in a serious jam in the AL Division Series.

“Nerves were fine,” Dobnak said. “I don’t know what it was.”

A week removed from his in-season wedding in Maryland, and with new bride Aerial in the stands, Dobnak soaked in the mocking, taunting cheers of “Uber, Uber” from the bleacher crowd at Yankee Stadium when he limbered up in the outfield before Game 2.

Yankees fans, showing (as they have so often this season) the sort of class and dignity that explains why so many people root for anyone else…..

QLE Posted: October 06, 2019 at 12:36 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: playoffs, randy dobnak, twins, yankees-no-fun-as-usual

Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg in tow, the Nationals’ bullpen defies its reputation

LOS ANGELES — This bullpen, man. This damned bullpen in Washington D.C. is some collection of survivors and has-beens and can-bes and scar tissue and facial hair and thunderclap contact and breathtaking falls and Darwinian endurance and on two nights this week alone Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer, all stuck together with something that might be ear wax.

This bullpen is so gloriously self-aware, so defiantly willing, so exhausting, it really is a wonder, like a mutt with one eye sewn shut and both hips going and such bad breath, that’s been around so long you could hardly consider life without her.

And, yes, that’s right, three days after Strasburg followed Scherzer when the Nationals beat the Milwaukee Brewers to escape the wild-card round, Scherzer followed Strasburg when the Nationals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-2, on Friday night here to tie this National League Division Series at a game apiece, because at the end it can be ugly, it can be something slightly less than ugly, but it’s always something.

Two wins into a postseason that will require 12 of them, Strasburg and Scherzer have combined to get 45 of the 54 outs in those wins. That’s maybe not sustainable. It may also be their chance. And as long as the co-aces are game, and as long as the off days keep coming on schedule, and as long as the survivors and scar-tissued among them can be leveraged prudently, then keep ‘em coming. Game 3 is Sunday in D.C.

Does this mean that keeping your starters in the game as long as possible is the new market inefficiency?

 

QLE Posted: October 06, 2019 at 12:20 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: bullpens, max scherzer, nationals, playoffs, stephen strasburg

 

 

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