I've always been fond of trying to estimate series odds for the regular season, as flawed as they are. They've always carried the major disclaimer of not considering pitching matchups, among many other things. In honor of the Brewers' first post season appearance since the personal computer was invented, I decided to take a stab at at least adjusting for pitching matchups this time around.
Now, the right way to do something like this is to plug in starting rotations and lineups for each game and simulate them, PA by PA. The simulation should account for lefty/righty matchups, pitcher flyball/groundball tendencies, defense, likely bullpen moves, etc... My estimate does none of that, so if you want to call these numbers an educated guess, I'll thank you for being kind.
Basically, I used the last 2 years of each starter's FIP to come up with a reasonable projection for each, used each teams's regular season average runs/game and and made up some bullpen RA numbers. It's quick, dirty and the results may even be slightly reasonable. My biggest sin, I think, is not adjusting for the handedness of the starting pitchers. The Phillies' starting lineup is lefty heavy, and the Brewers' is righty heavy, so that omission is a big one. Here are the pitching matchups I assumed:
Game 1: Gallardo vs. Hamels
Game 2: Sabathia vs. Myers
Game 3: Bush vs. Moyer
Game 4: Suppan vs. Blanton
Game 5: Sabathia vs. Hamels
Blanton is just a guess for game 4. They would probably have Hamels pitch on short rest if they are down in the series. I also assumed that Bush would get game 3 and Suppan game 4 for the Brewers but that is far from decided, yet. Although Bush had a decent year in terms of ERA, he's had a pretty subpar FIP the last two year. Suppan has been even worse, unfortunately. And since they are both righties, I'm not very optimistic that they'd do even as well as their projections, against the Phillies offense. I'd be tempted to give Parra a shot for game 4 but I don't think that's going to happen. They way I have it, game 2 is almost a must win, as it's probably going to be the best pitching matchup the Brewers are going to get this series.
Anyway, here are the resulting odds:
I'm giving the Brewers a 42% chance of winning game 1, while Vegas is calling it closer to 35%. They are probably less optimistic about Gallardo chances on Wednesday than my estimates are. Overall, I estimate the Brewers as having a 46% chance of winning this series. Vegas says it's only about 40%. This guy
agrees with me, so maybe the wisdom of the crowds is biased toward the larger market. There might be some money to be made on the Brewers! :)
I also get a 75% chance of this series going at least 4 games, for all you people holding tickets to the second Brewer home game.
EDIT: THT estimates the run production
for all the NL playoff teams. I assumed that the Phillies average .3 runs/game more than the Brewers, while these numbers say .25. Not a huge difference but it might raise those Brewer odds ever so slightly.