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Jim Furtado
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Playoffs Newsbeat

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

If MLB’s postseason roulette is so unpredictable, how do Astros continue to beat the odds?

“It’s a really hard question to answer, but obviously our guys have continued to come through in those big spots, year in and year out,” Houston general manager James Click told the Post-Dispatch during a recent conversation. “So, while there is a level of unpredictability in the playoffs and I think we all understand that this is a game of inches — talent still plays in the playoffs. Nobody is suggesting that it’s all luck. It’s probably a little bit more of a question of luck and skill than the regular season, but three is still plenty of room for skill to play up.”

jimfurtado Posted: November 08, 2022 at 08:46 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cardinals, playoffs

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Rosenthal: Too soon to cite new format as reason for MLB postseason upsets [$]

All of this upheaval is rather dramatic, and depending upon your rooting interests, quite compelling. As opposed to the NFL and NBA playoffs, which generally result in predictable outcomes, the baseball postseason is giving off an anything-can-happen, NCAA-basketball tournament vibe.

Still, for a sport intent on honoring teams that best navigate the 162-game regular season, will a National League Championship Series between the fifth and sixth seeds be truly desirable? The upstart No. 6 Phillies would not even have qualified for the postseason under the old format. Yet they made the NLCS when three 100-win teams, the Mets, Braves and Dodgers, did not.

Only four 100-win clubs since 1999 have won the World Series: The Yankees in 2009, the Cubs in 2016, the Astros in 2017 and the Red Sox in 2018. Maybe A’s executive Billy Beane was right when he famously called the postseason a “crapshoot” in “Moneyball,” adding, “My s— doesn’t work in the playoffs. My job is getting us to the playoffs. What happens after that is f—— luck.” Then again, nearly 20 years after the book’s publication, isn’t it time for at least one of those smart guys running a team to figure out how to crack the October code?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 16, 2022 at 06:43 PM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: playoffs

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Do Head-to-Head Regular Season Records Matter in the Playoffs?

First off, do regular season head-to-head records matter in the playoffs? Since the start of divisional play in 1969, teams that face each other in the playoffs have frequently met in the regular season. Interleague play added eventual World Series matchups to the regular season, and starting in 2023, every playoff matchup will have already occurred during the regular season. Given the sample size of playoff series, if we construct a simple model of series winning percentage that only consists of a team’s regular season winning percentage and its winning percentage in head-to-head matchups, the model horribly inaccurate, with an r-squared of 0.0886 and a mean absolute error of 275 points of winning percentage.

But including head-to-head winning percentage doesn’t really even have a marginal influence on the coin flip; without the head-to-head matchups, the model’s MAE increases to 276 points of winning percentage. Now, a head-to-head record may imply something about a team’s overall strength that isn’t captured in its overall record, but rather than pick up a small sample implication, we can use strength of schedule directly, which does help the model a tiny bit (playoff series are always going to be very uncertain unless we move to best-of-75 series or something wacky).

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 30, 2022 at 03:12 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: playoffs



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