Tuesday, September 30, 2008

NLDS Odds: Phillies vs. Brewers

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.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Why I Didn't Sell My Tickets to Cub Fans


Thursday, September 11, 2008

How Big is The Phillies Series?

146 games down, 16 to go.

While the Brewers are still 4.5 games behind the Cubs in the divisional race, the Crew is currently in the driver's seat of the wildcard race. With a 4 game lead on the Astros and the Phillies and a 4.5 game lead on the Cardinals, even a mediocre finish should be enough propel the Brewers to their first post season birth in 26 years. But the schedule gets pretty rough for the Brewers here on out, as they start a four game series with Philadelphia tonight.

How important is this series? As it turns out, pretty darn important. First, here are my estimates of the Brewer post season odds as they currently stand:

Division: 7.5%
Wildcard: 73.8%
Total: 81.3%

If those look suspiciously similar to Baseball Prospectus's odds, they should, as I used their WP3 for each team's true collective talent. It's not the best stat but it's the best publicly available one that I am aware of. Now, here are the odds of Brewers reaching the post season, based on every possible outcome of this series:

Brewer Wins DIV/WC/TOT

4 Wins: 19.6/78.8/98.4
3 Wins: 12.0/83.4/95.4
2 Wins: 6.8/80.6/87.4
1 Win: 3.7/64.8/68.5
0 Wins: 1.6/38.7/40.3

A sweep either way and things dramatically change! The chance of either team sweeping is pretty low, though, so let's concentrate on the middle three possibilities. The most likely scenario is that the Brewers and the Phillies simply split the series, where the Brewers would enjoy a 6% bump in their playoff odds. The Brewers win only one and they still have a 2 in 3 shot at the playoffs. How about the Brewers win 3 and just about lock up that playoff birth? Please?

Alright, I won't be greedy. A split would be just fine with me. With only 12 games to go, it would be tough for the other wildcard hopefuls to catch the Crew in that scenario.

Let's go, Benny!