Wednesday, August 20, 2008

On To The Series!

It would be easy to throw up one’s hands and say “14 ½ out with 38 games to go? Preposterous! Ain’t gonna happen! No way, no how! Say, barkeep, can I get another beer, please?” Actually, it would be very difficult to throw up one’s hands, since that would, by definition, require that one first eat one’s hands, a daunting task indeed, and completely unrelated to baseball (Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown notwithstanding.)

If we actually look at the numbers, however, the post-season is easily within Cleveland's reach. If we assume that they sweep the remaining games against Chicago, Detroit, and Minnesota (6, 6, and 3, respectively), the standings look like this:

Team W L % GB
Minnesota 71 57 .555 0
Chicago 72 59 .550 .5
Cleveland 72 67 .518 4.5
Detroit 62 72 .463 12

If we further assume that Chicago, Detroit, and Minnesota all go .500 in their non-Cleveland games, the final standings for those teams are as such:

Team W L % GB
Minnesota 88 74 .543 0
Chicago 88 74 .543 0
Detroit 76 86 .469 12

This means that the Tribe need only go 17-6 in their remaining non-divisional games (I include Kansas City in this category, since they really shouldn’t be in the major leagues in the first place.) Given that the best predictor of future performance is past performance, and given that the Indians have gone 8-3 in their last 11 games, it is completely reasonable to expect the wigwammers to finish 89-73*, alone atop the AL Central. Having reached the post-season, they simply need to win their last game to capture their first World Series title since 1948. All the little chicks with their crimson lips go "Cleveland rocks! Cleveland rocks!"

I expect a call from Baseball Prospectus any time now with that analyst job offer.

* This assumes Cliff Lee pitches all 23 games, with no bullpen involvement.

1 comment:

N*88 said...

Brilliant analysis. Any bozo can look at the cold hard facts and make a snap judgment. It takes real vision and courage to keep believing. One point of contention though, instead of starting Cliff Lee in all 23 of those games, I would at least give Sabathia 7 or 8 of those....oh wait. Yeah, you're screwed.