# Braves’ playoff chances only ‘cool,’ according to website

This would be Bobby Cox's reaction . . .

So if you’re obsessed with this Braves’ stretch drive and you bow at your Brian McCann shrine every morning and you’re wondering if a six-man rotation with Tim Hudson would blow away the rest of the National League and the last thing you want to hear is how two numbers geeks from MIT believe the outlook doesn’t look so good – well then, you may not want to read this. (No wait! Stay! I need the page views!)

There’s a website you may have heard of: coolstandings.com. It actually has been around since 2005. But since I’ve never been a big numbers guy, I guess it has eluded me, until alert reader “Stephen” tipped me off.

In short, coolstandings.com calculates every team’s division, wild card and overall playoff chances based on a half-dozen statistical factors, which I’ll get to in a minute. Bottom

. . . if you asked him what he thinks of coolstandings' view of the Braves

line: According to the site’s co-creator, Sean Walsh (possibly the first MIT grad I’ve ever spoken to, or at least understood), the Braves have only a 10.3 percent chance of winning the National League East, and a 12 percent chance of winning the wild card berth.

Overall, coolstandings.com lists the Braves’ playoff chances at 22.2, behind Los Angeles (94.2), St. Louis (92.4), Philadelphia (90.9) and wild card leading Colorado (63.5). San Francisco is listed as having a better chance than the Braves of winning the wild card (16.4 to 12) but a lower overall playoff chance (20.1 to 22.2) because the Giants are running third in the N.L. West.

Walsh says the site’s formula has an error rate of less than two percent. He would change that if he could because he’s also a big Red Sox fan, and right now the math says they’re dead, too.

Walsh said he and partner Greg Agami adapted the numbers-crunching formulas of baseball writer Bill James (who now works for the Red Sox) and “tweaked” them a bit. “We went back and looked at data for every game played since 1903, running a million simulations, to see if we could project how a team would do,” Walsh said by phone. “Like, in July of 1914: How did it look for the Boston Braves at this point and how did they fare in the end?”

The formula factors in runs for and against, home and road success, remaining strength of schedule, league scoring averages and the previous season’s results (the weight of which decreases as the year goes on). The model doesn’t take into account injuries or trades (although we’re past the trade deadline), but it heavily weighs late-season hot streaks (like the Braves’ current one).

For what it’s worth, Walsh wanted Braves fans to know that they also calculated the top comebacks and collapses in baseball history, and at at the top of the list is the 1914 Boston Braves (later of Atlanta), who only July 4 were given less than a 1 percent chance of winning the pennant but overcame a 15-games deficit.

OK, so I’m guessing I know what you think of all this. Feel free to vent. Meanwhile, here’s how the standings look today, according to the MIT grads. (Key: RS and RA stand for runs scored and runs against. EXPW and EXPL stand for expected win and loss totals. DIV and WC stand are calculated percentages for winning the division or the wild card spot. POFF is overall playoff chances.)

East                   W   L    Pct.    GB    RS   RA   EXPW  EXPL  DIV  WC  POFF

Philadelphia      71  50  .587    —      641  538   95.4   66.6  86.9  4.0   90.9

Atlanta              66  58  .532   6.5      563  503   87.9  74.1  10.3  12.0  22.2

Florida               65  59  .524   7.5     588  588   84.9  77.1  2.8     3.6   6.4

New York           57  67  .460  15.5    526  580   73.7  88.3  <0.1  <0.1  <0.1

Washington       44  80   .355  28.5    565  672   59.7  102.3  0.0  0.0  0.0

Wild card            W    L    Pct.    GB   RS   RA   EXPW  EXPL   DIV   WC  POFF

Colorado (W)       70  54  .565   —     632  549   91.7  70.3  16.7  46.8  63.5

San Fran. (W)       67-57  .540   3       501  464   87.7   74.3   3.7   16.4  20.1

Atlanta (E)           66  58  .532   4       563  503   87.9   74.1  10.3  12.0  22.2

Florida (E)            65  59  .524   5      588  588   84.9   77.1   2.8    3.6   6.4

Chicago (C)          62  60 .508   7       533  514   84.2  77.8   7.0     2.1  9.1

OptimisticInTexas

August 24th, 2009
2:19 pm

Not so cool…

Brian

August 24th, 2009
2:32 pm

I like things like this. I don’t think it’s necessarily good to use as a prediction tool, but I think it’s a good way to gauge how difficult it would be to overcome a certain deficit. The fact that they project us at 22% tells you just what an uphill climb it will be to make the playoffs.

The main reason the Giants have a higher percent chance of winning the wild card is because the Braves won the division more often in their simulations (in which cases they obviously wouldn’t win the wild card). They project the Braves with slightly more wins than SF.

Bat Masterson

August 24th, 2009
2:37 pm

I recently read ” Better Off Flipping The Switch On Technology”, by Eric Brende. He is an MIT guy too and the premise is, what is the least we need to achieve the most. Damn little apparently. What’s my point? I don’t have one, I’m just playing with one of my technological toys. Why not just let the computers play the games and everyone can go sit under a tree and read ” Look Homeward Angel”

Bat Masterson

August 24th, 2009
2:38 pm

Oh yeah…. first

AndyC

August 24th, 2009
2:49 pm

This sounds about right. I think the division is out of hand. The Phils are playing too good right now. No way to catch them. The wildcard is feasible but when you look at the Rockies schedule the rest of the way, they play San Fran 4 times and the Dodgers 3 times this week. In September, their schedule is very light playing mostly teams under .500 with only a 3 game series with San Fran and a 3 games series with St. Louis, if memory serves. They finish the season with an 8 game home stand. I think the Braves need to be at least tied by the end of the month to have any real shot, and even then it will be difficult. I haven’t given up, but it doesn’t look good.

August 24th, 2009
2:50 pm

Bat — I feel a headache coming on.

Dan

August 24th, 2009
2:51 pm

Something doesn’t quite add up here. If The Atlanta Braves’ EXPW is 87.9 and EXPL is 74.1, how is it possible that they have a lesser chance of winning the WC (12%) than San Francisco (16.4%), which has an EXPW of 87.7 and EXPL of 74.3?

Hmmm… I guess the formula is telling us that the number of times that the Braves win the East set off from the number of times they would have won the WC (because they would not qualify for the WC, being the divisional winner) is greater than the number of times the Phillies would displace SF when SF would have otherwise won in that Braves-win-the-East scenario?

Okay, I just re-read that last sentence– perhaps this is best left to numbers and not words. But certainly rating another team more likely to win the WC when the same formula rates that team as more likley to win less games seems counter-intuitive.

18 Wheels of Love

August 24th, 2009
2:52 pm

What was the % of the Mets making the playoffs 2 years ago when they blew a 8 game lead the last month of the season. This is baseball, MIT geeks should spend their time trying to get my office print/fax/scanner to accept a 15 page document.

Bob Horner had a sweet compact swing

August 24th, 2009
2:56 pm

Wow this guys error rate is only 2%…..Do you believe him Jeff..?? now I’m depressed…I was hoping we would get that wild spot…

Bryan G.

August 24th, 2009
2:56 pm

Dan,

I think that can be explained because the Braves have a higher chance of winning their division than San Fran. Thus, under some of the models, the Braves win the division and SF wins the wild card. Therefore, the Giants are more likely to win the wildcard because they almost certainly will not win their division.

Blackberry Cobbler

August 24th, 2009
2:57 pm

If and when we get Prado back and if and when Chipper gets out of his funk and if and when Lowe and Vasquez start to pitch worth their salary, THEN I like our chances. THEN the Braves will be a better team than the Rocks or the Giants and be able to also hold off the Fish.

Until then, I think our chances are 50/50 at best.

Rick

August 24th, 2009
2:58 pm

Pretty interestingstats tool, but since the Braves need to be just about perfect the rest of the way to make the play offs, lest we forget that at the All Star break they were 43-45 Win % .489
Winning 3-6 games more in the first half of the season woul eliminate the need to be perfect now.
Whoever says April games don’t mean anything?

John

August 24th, 2009
2:59 pm

I went to college in Boston. Not MIT, but across the river in boston. I used to get up at 5:45 every morning at go play pickup hockey at the rink over there. It was a beautiful rink, and a blast to play there. One time i got there and the zamboni was broken, so we couldn’t play. The zamboni, at MIT, was broken…these kids build the space shuttle for homework. There is probably no simpler machine besides maybe the Foreman grill on the planet than the zamboni. But, now, I guess this is why I was denied my hour and a half of hockey and budweiser that morning.

pessimistic optimist

August 24th, 2009
3:00 pm

I wonder what our % chance was in July 1991 and August 1993? Probably about what it is now.

100% chance of death and taxes.

McCann Fan

August 24th, 2009
3:01 pm

I just spoke to the team. After reading this they have decided to give up hope and forefeit the rest of the season.

I guess we will just look forward to 2010 now.

gene garbage

August 24th, 2009
3:04 pm

looks about right to me also…sure would like to have 2-3 games back we lost at the beginning of the year. that’s why you play em all, right? only hope we have is the wild card. we need to start thinking sweeps instead of just winning series’….

didn’t realize lowe has ADHD until i read the story a couple days ago..find this funny cuz i actually made the statement 2 starts ago that he sometimes looks like he totally loses focus….hum….

Bat Masterson

August 24th, 2009
3:05 pm

Jeff, there is a cure for that in the book. Where you get the eye of newt locally, I don’t know, sorry.

Brian

August 24th, 2009
3:06 pm

FYI, usually I look at Baseball Prospectus’ postseason odds page. It runs almost the same numbers, but I like the cleaner look.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/ps_odds.php

It also has a neat PECOTA-adjusted standings, which runs the simulation with PECOTA projections of player performance. In other words, it actually projects the wins and losses based on projections on what the individual players will do. The Braves look better in that one. That would seem to indicate PECOTA likes the talent the Braves have assembled going forward, but it’s still an uphill climb.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/ps_oddspec.php

UGASlobberknocker

August 24th, 2009
3:07 pm

This dude is probably related to whoever came up with the BCS. Im glad the game is played on the field. The way I see it, the Braves are playing great..they have to make up 4 games in the loss column and have 7 weeks to do it (for wildcard)..i think we have better than a 10% chance..but then what do I know.?I’m merely a UGA Business grad, not an MIT braniac.

Do the math!

August 24th, 2009
3:08 pm

It’s actually quite simple.
For the Braves to get to 90 wins, they need to go 24 – 14 the rest of the way. 10 gms over .500, a .632 clip.
For the Rockies to get to 91 wins, they need to go 21 – 17 the rest of the way – a mere 4 games over .500, a .553 rate.
No further analysis needed…

Braves73

August 24th, 2009
3:10 pm

What does all of this mean…ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

Braves73

August 24th, 2009
3:13 pm

I am sure that Bobby is sitting at home right now calculating how he can get Greg Norton into more critical game situations. Maybe, just maybe, if Norty can get 25 more CRUCIAL game breaking at bats, we can get his average above his weight.

Evil Richt 2009 S.E.C. World Tour: "Banned in Columbus"

August 24th, 2009
3:15 pm

Wasn’t it MIT grad types, using predictive models based upon analysis of millions of simulations, who gave us (and by “us” I mean Wall Street banks and other related geniuses) the assurances that there was NO WAY the real estate market would crash all at once all over the country?

I think it was!

Hillbilly Deluxe

August 24th, 2009
3:16 pm

The only thing better than September baseball is October baseball. That’s not really relevant to anything but it is another page view for Jeff. Just trying to do my part.

August 24th, 2009
3:16 pm

Bob Horner – Actually, it’s not a matter of believing or disbelieving – those are the numbers. Doesn’t mean it’s gonna happen, of course.

John – great story. But are you dissin’ the George Foreman Grill? It KNOCKS OUT the fat!

Pessimistic optimist – click the link in the story on comebacks. I think Braves made it from those years.

Bat – Newt (Gingrich) is using both eyes. But the brain’s barely been used. (Thanks you. Try the veal).

Brian – Thanks, I’ll check it out.

August 24th, 2009
3:17 pm

Hillbilly: Check’s in the mail.

Najeh Davenpoop

August 24th, 2009
3:20 pm

That’s all well and good, but what are the percentages that, if baited, Jeff Shultz will correct ‘website’ with its correct spelling, ‘Web site’ in the article above? And are the percentages greater that I get a big “stuff it” comment back? I hate myself for being this way, I really do, I just can’t help myself.

Sonny Clusters

August 24th, 2009
3:22 pm

We Clusters was always able to play ball and we was real good at it. We was started out when we was young with a ball and a glove. The bat came later after we could catch. Maybe that’s what the Johnsons shoulda done with Kelly. We had a pretty good glove and could catch most anything with it. That glove was cowhide. We was never aware that gloves come made from deer. When we was told by a reliable major league source that Chipper was using a deerskin glove we was shocked. We still are.

Brian

August 24th, 2009
3:23 pm

Dan, think of it in this sort of simplified way. The simulation says the Braves are a little better than the Giants. So the Braves finish first 10 times and second 10 times. The Giants finish first 3 times and second 11 times. The Giants finished 2nd more often, but they’re not better. When the Giants finished second, it was usually because the Braves finished first.

Freddie G

August 24th, 2009
3:23 pm

I haven’t given up the possibility of making the playoff, and telling us the percentage of difficulty is not surprising to anyone, as we should all realize it. I still believe we can win the Division based on our play in the division. We will need to focus on each game rather than series as winning series will not help if the Phillies and WC leaders are also winning series.

BBrown

August 24th, 2009
3:27 pm

When did MIT grads actually begin to like or follow sports? Ok, maybe neither, rather they just saw an opportunity to perform a statistical analysis.

I think the analysis by “Do the math!” sums it up best. Thus, we can only hope for a Braves surge or Rockies collapse (think Mets type collapse).

CaliChopper

August 24th, 2009
3:27 pm

And what were the odds and chances of the Brave chasing down SF years ago? Exzactly!!!

Brian

August 24th, 2009
3:27 pm

One other sobering thought from these projections: Right now both the Phillies and Rockies are the highest they’ve been all season in playoff chances. They’re going to have to start losing for the Braves to have a real chance.

Keeper

August 24th, 2009
3:29 pm

Jeff,

What I find intriguing is the remarkable difference last night’s result seems to make. I know there’s more that goes into this – such as remaining strength of schedule – but if the Marlins had held last night’s lead, would they be at roughly 22 percent to our 6 percent?

And now that the numbers geeks have deflated us, I thought of an interesting way you could use their data to get us charged back up – ask them to compare our odds (as of both the All-Star break and Aug. 24) of reaching the playoffs in 1991 and 1993, vs. now. (Yes, we don’t have three Cy Youngs and Fred McGriff today, but those teams didn’t have the back-door option of the wild card.)

I’d also be curious to know the Colorado Rockies’ minuscule odds as of Aug. 24, 2007.

If, as I suspect, we have better odds this year, then we’ll know where to tell the stat geeks to go stuff it!

NC Braves Fan

August 24th, 2009
3:30 pm

I don’t put a lot of stock in this stuff. Simulations based on the past can’t predict all the variables that happen in a baseball season … including injuries to key players.

Plus, if I’m understanding this correctly, the percentage expressed is the most likely outcome. I think we can all agree those percentages do favor the Rockies since they are first in the WC — but this prediction ultimately says nothing about what will actually happen on the field.

Do the math!

August 24th, 2009
3:30 pm

The Phills only have to go 20 -21 the rest of the way to get to 91!!! Yeah, we can catch them…
Sheesh.

CaliChopper

August 24th, 2009
3:32 pm

Mathmatical models don’t mean squat – the games still have to be played and anything can happen….

Sonny Clusters

August 24th, 2009
3:34 pm

When we got hurt in the middle section we called it a pull but we never called it an oblique. Coach taught us health and never mentioned oblique once. We did a lot of giggling in that class because Coach would call things by they right names and Jeff would snicker and say, “you mean (deleted from blog for objectionable content)” and we’d all laugh and Coach would get mad. We was always drawing things on the board in health class and Coach would come in ask “who did that?” but he knowed it was Jeff when he asked. Hitting into a triple play could happen to anyone and the fact that it never happened like that before in the National League don’t mean nothing because they has to be a first for everything.

Brian

August 24th, 2009
3:34 pm

Keeper, to partly answer your question. I can’t tell you exact numbers, but if the Marlins had won last night, it probably would have been more like 15-15 than 22-6. The projections aren’t purely based on current wins and losses. Despite the fact that the Marlins and Braves had the same record going into yesterday’s game, the Braves have a significantly larger run differential, which the simulations use to project how the teams will do going forward. You can say the Marlins have been “lucky” to have the number of wins they have based on their run differential. They have actually scored and allowed the same number of runs this year. The Braves have scored 60 more than they’ve allowed.

George

August 24th, 2009
3:35 pm

Can this guy his a curve ball?

George

August 24th, 2009
3:35 pm

Opps, Can this guy HIT a curve ball

Doug

August 24th, 2009
3:37 pm

So if the Braves get the WC…how does this “adjust” his “error” rate of 2%?? I wonder what the % was that the Mets would blow the division lead in 2006 & 2007?? How could something like that be accounted for and still claim a 98% success rate? If the Braves win 12 n a row what does that do? The formula basically assumes that all teams will continue performing at their present pace…so of course since the Braves are not presently in the playoffs they are not projected to get in

Bat Masterson

August 24th, 2009
3:37 pm

Jeff.. Bravo, well played.

Sonny Clusters

August 24th, 2009
3:39 pm

We was doing statistical inference at Parkview way before we was championship. We was probably the best in the school because we studied how many first pitch strikes was thowed and we told Coach we was going to study it for the science and math fair. We used Jeff for example and ever pitch thowed to Jeff was a strike all season. That made us statistical championship as well as state championship.

bill_in_atl

August 24th, 2009
3:43 pm

HOGWASH. This reminds me of the “can’t miss” stock and commodity trading programs that have been around forever. They use back-data modeling to create a software that predicts the future based on past events. They NEVER WORK because the variables are constantly changing and the results are impossible to predict. It’s garbage.

If you want to say the Braves have less of a chance than the Phils for the division and the Rockies for the WC then obviously you’d be correct. Just look at the standings and how many games are left.

This guy claiming to be accurate to within 2% is simply a JOKE. Where’s his proof? And how does he grade himself?

Brian

August 24th, 2009
3:44 pm

Doug, I don’t believe the error rate of 2% means that they’re only going to be wrong 2% of the time. It means that the playoff percentage has an error rate of 2% based on the numbers they crunched. In other words, based on their data and formulas, the Braves should make the playoffs 22% of the time, plus or minus 2%. You can also say their projection is that the Braves should make the playoffs between 20% and 24% of the time.

There, that’s not so complicated, right? lol…

Sonny Clusters

August 24th, 2009
3:47 pm

We was playing Cobb County schools a lot in the tournament and the Cobb County boys thought they was smarter than us. They didn’t say it but it showed. We was talking and carrying on and doing some finger pulling jokes before the game and one of them said, “barbarian” to Stinky Wintes and Coach heard it and like to have chased that boy out of the stadium. Stinky was nasty but he wasn’t even in a barber shop and they was calling him barbarian. Its like people calling Jeff names on his own blog. Why would they?

[...] loved this piece on AJC from Jeff Schultz that explains why and how two guys who started this numbers and odds Web [...]

Mark D.

August 24th, 2009
3:48 pm

I thought this guy makes some good points related to Schultz article. No one is giving the Braves a chance
http://tomahawktake.com/2009/08/24/atlanta-braves-have-less-than-20-percent-chance-of-making-playoffs/

Keeper

August 24th, 2009
3:52 pm

P.S. 2007 and 2008 Mets. If we gain one more spot (just one game) in the WC race, there’s still a chance that either the Rockies or Phils can pull a similar choke job. All we need is one of the two to do it. I’d say both teams are stronger all the way around (especially in the mental dept.), but never say never.

ernisTbass

August 24th, 2009
3:56 pm

Have these guys ever won a pool for the NCAA tournament? Have they had a winning parlay card , or better yet two in one season? Did they have Tiger or the field at the PGA? Show me the money!!!

Bobby Coccyx

August 24th, 2009
3:56 pm

Never.

Just Pat

August 24th, 2009
3:56 pm

Glad I’m just a fan and NOT a statistical geek.

DIAMOND DAWG

August 24th, 2009
3:57 pm

I SAY THE HECK WITH ALL THE NUMBERS. TIME FOR CHIPPER, MCCANN, ESCOBAR, ETC… TO GET GOING AND EARN THEIR MONEY AND PUT THIS TEAM IN THE PLAYOFFS. TIRED OF SEEING THE BRAVES AND THEIR STARS UNDERACHIEVE DOWN THE STRETCH. GET HOT AND LETS WIN 7-8 IN A ROW. PLAY THE GAME THE RIGHT WAY AND EXECUTE AND GET IT DONE

Joe

August 24th, 2009
3:59 pm

Are you an indiot Blackberry Cobbler? Vazquez has pitched his contract’s worth and more all year. One bad game in the last couple of months and you make a statment like that? You don’t know much do you?

Dan

August 24th, 2009
4:00 pm

BRIAN @2:56– But even if the Braves win their division a bit more often than SF, that would mean that the Phillies are suddenly in the wild card race. Doesn’t seem like the Braves improbably winning the division would make much difference, because the Phillies would be right there…

Anyway, we’ll all find out how this turns out, won’t we? I wonder what the discussion will be like in here in about 2 weeks.

CJG

August 24th, 2009
4:07 pm

One of the main things that apparently aren’t considered is the imporatnce of games at the end of the schedule. For instance, Colorado, how we currently need to pass for the WC plays 3 againist the Dodgers to finish the season. Since those games may probably need to be won by the Dodgers to secure their standings, the Dodges will play to win those games. Other teams may have games againist opponents who don’t neccesarily want to lose, but have bigger agendas such as seeing other players lower in the organization and have less motivation to win. seven of our last 10 are played againist Washington, whose sole motivation to win may just be finish above the Mets. May not matter at season’s end, but if the standings stay roughly the same, can become a factor.

Russell

August 24th, 2009
4:08 pm

One or two wins could very easily end up determining whether or not the Braves make the playoffs. With that fact known pretty much since the start of the season, why would the Braves not called up Hanson earlier instead of trying to get by with a patch-work 5th starter of JoJo Reyes and or Kris Medlen? Why call up Medlen instead of Hanson? I understand it was about the money, but imagine if Hanson would have been in the rotation since the start of the season! This team could easily have 4-5 more victories.

Wren didn’t want to give Glavine the opportunity to pitch in the bigs this year because “every win counts”, but he could afford to keep the hottest pitching prospect we have seen in years stuck in the minors!

Just Pat

August 24th, 2009
4:08 pm

ernisTbass
GOOD points indeed……

scottbravesfan

August 24th, 2009
4:11 pm

This MIT guy is forgetting one thing. The Dodgers have OWNED the Rockies this year. The Rockies are not that good of a team I don’t see how the hell they keep winning so much. If they get in the playoffs they will get beat in the first round by the Cardinals. If the Braves get into the playoffs they will play the Dodgers and they have a very good chance of beating the Dodgers in a five game series.

Najeh Davenpoop

August 24th, 2009
4:12 pm

Nice to see that people are still at it hijacking my screen name…

Sonny Clusters

August 24th, 2009
4:12 pm

Jeff, if the Braves make the playoffs will you take us all to the Dairy Queen? We was thinking that would be nice.

jfreak13713

August 24th, 2009
4:13 pm

One thing the MIT boys didn’t factor is INJURIES! Imagine for a moment if one of the big two in Giants rotation go down? Or if the the one of the big hitters for Colorado go down? Or if one or two of our guys go down for an extended period of time?? Numbers are numbers and they do offer a glimps into the possibilty but they for sure don’t know the future. Last time I checked only God could do that and last I heard he’s a Braves fan!!!!! Go Braves!

jmart1951

August 24th, 2009
4:13 pm

Could you contact the MIT guru again and ask him to do the calculations on the chances that Bobby Cox will not make lineup and ingame decisions that cost us games the rest of this season?

sidslid

August 24th, 2009
4:17 pm

I wonder if their numbers have been off target the last few years due to the salary balancing going on at the trade date. The Braves are a totally different team with LaRoche in the line up. More vulnerable to left handed pitching (oh no, here comes Sterling Hitchcock), but ‘Roachy” has added a 40 HR power bat based on his second half numbers over the years.

Just Pat

August 24th, 2009
4:21 pm

jfreak13713

Jurrjens4NLCY

August 24th, 2009
4:23 pm

“according to website” sounds like the most unprofessional headline in AJC history.

World is going to end in 2010 according to website
Tupac is still alive according to website.
The government made up aids to thin the population of black people according to website.

Seriously, who cares what a site says…

midnite

August 24th, 2009
4:27 pm

So do we throw in the towel and back away from our tomahawks? Do we even need to play the final 38 games? Those MIT geeks need to go play with their pocket protecters and let us enjoy the Braves at least having a chance at the postseason. Glass half full here.

Nova Scotia Steve

August 24th, 2009
4:27 pm

Well I just noticed a massive S*it cloud hovering over my off-day Atlanta Braves day parade.

- Thanks Jeff

(LOL)

Nova Scotia Steve

August 24th, 2009
4:29 pm

I also hear Mother Theresa used to watch the Braves on TBS…

126 Games a year Dear David DeJesus…

Mitch C

August 24th, 2009
4:32 pm

I dont care what some MIT website says. More important is the pace of this team, and whether or not we can do just a little better.

We have already played eight games over 500 to this point at 66-58, so, there’s no reason we cant do that the rest of the season. If we play eight games over for the remaining 38 games, that means we would go 23-15, and finish at 89 wins. I dont think 89 will do it, even though it has in previous seasons. Jeff, Mitch, and Simpson and Shambi on Sportssouth seem in agreement that 91 is the number we need. That would be 25-13. A good pace, and nearly 667 ball, but not out of the realm.

Personally, I’m going to split the difference between our current pace, and the 91, and say 90 wins gets the wild card, with the thought that the Rockies slow down some. I’m not saying we “will” do that, or that we “will” win the wild card, but I am saying we “Can” win it.

Mitch

the real Old Gold

August 24th, 2009
4:32 pm

What % chance did the Braves have to win 14 straight division titles? I’d think it was less than 3%.

Roja

August 24th, 2009
4:32 pm

Given that we did the impossible in 1914 and again in 1993, nothing is beyond the capability of our Braves! Like my daddy used to say figures don’t lie but liars can figure.

bobbymahlon

August 24th, 2009
4:35 pm

If Kelly Johnson continues to play second base like he did yesterday we will never make the playoffs. I’m talking about how he dropped the double play ball that resulted in four runs for florida. Hurry back Marteen we need you.

Russell

August 24th, 2009
4:41 pm

I think everyone agrees 91+ wins will be what it will take to make the playoffs. The Braves will probably finish with 89ish. Imagine what the record would be if they had Hanson in the rotation since the start of the season? An extra 3,4,5 wins? That would put us in the playoffs! I wonder how many of the games that JoJo Reyes & Kris Medlen started that the Braves won?

NO MORE BOBBY

August 24th, 2009
4:41 pm

Your Bobby Cox picture reminds me of that famous Bigfoot picture. Ha!

http://bloggingexperiments.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/patterson_bigfoot.jpg

Gallup

August 24th, 2009
4:51 pm

Is the 2% error on the win percentage? In that case with the Braves expected win pct. at 54.2% and the Rockies at 56.2%, the prediction is well within the margin of error. I’m not impressed. Go Jackets, obviously.

Herschel Talker

August 24th, 2009
4:59 pm

Schultzie:

In the Braves recent “hot” streak, how many games have they picked up? How is it again that people think they’re going to gain a game a week on Colorado considering how many more games they have with the Marlins and Phils? Clearly it’s not impossible, but the numbers are what they are, and it is a much bigger uphill battle than people are admitting.

David

August 24th, 2009
5:07 pm

Stats are good tools, but anything can and will happen. What were the Rockies chances of making the playoffs in ‘07 before they ripped off 20+ straight wins. And those Oakland teams earlier in the decade that put up 20+ win Septembers consistently. All it takes is a few good win streaks and things can change drastically. And don’t forget, the Braves play the Nats for 7 of the last 10 games. The Rocks have Cards/Brew/Dodgers to finish up. I’m more worried about the Giants with their cupcake September schedule.

KEITH MOON LIVES

August 24th, 2009
5:12 pm

Does This report indicate whether these guys have ever had a girlfriend, and do the still live in their parents basement ?

Outside Robber

August 24th, 2009
5:13 pm

Seems right in terms of the chances/odds. The Braves are a longshot, especially with their current leadership. Out.

mudcat

August 24th, 2009
5:25 pm

Keep in mind that in September the Rockies have 18 home games(where they play extremely well) and only 9 games on the road. The schedule favors the Rockies for the wild card. A 6-man rotation is an excellent idea. If we did make the playoffs, our rotation would be much stronger than the rotation of other teams we’d be facing.

Doc Holiday

August 24th, 2009
5:40 pm

One thing to take into account…………..once other teams start to fade….braves % chances of winning the WC increase………..so look for that gap to start closing by the weekend.

Dobearsbare

August 24th, 2009
5:48 pm

I sincerely hope they didn’t get any goverment grants or anything for this work; I didn’t need a huge statistical analysis to know the chances are slim.

tralfaz

August 24th, 2009
5:49 pm

The numbers add up, my own “projection” was about a 16-18% (but I’m a fan). Fact is, there were too dang many games pissed away early on, and they DO count. And now the Delicate Flower Chipper isn’t “Chipping” in, and it will pretty much take a miracle.

August 24th, 2009
5:50 pm

I’m calling sheenanigans on their “2% chance of error”…let’s back it up…I want to see their predictions AT THIS TIME OF YEAR since 2005 and see how “right” they were…considering the Mets collapse just last season ( and I’m sure they did NOT see that coming) they are way over 2% wrong. Just simple math there.

Me

August 24th, 2009
5:55 pm

Jeff, you mentioned a six-man rotation. Here’s another take on what could happen with that.http://bleacherreport.com/articles/241984-derek-lowe-to-the-bullpen-could-be-the-braves-best-move?just_published=1

Charlie

August 24th, 2009
5:57 pm

So, they predicted the 1914 Braves 95 years later. Hmm, so the greatest collapses and combacks been “predicted” after the fact. Wonder if they know Bernie Madoff.

Mitchell

August 24th, 2009
6:02 pm

It’s not going to be easy.

How’s that for an analysis?

Mitchell

August 24th, 2009
6:14 pm

bobbymahlon

August 24th, 2009
4:35 pm
If Kelly Johnson continues to play second base like he did yesterday we will never make the playoffs. I’m talking about how he dropped the double play ball that resulted in four runs for florida. Hurry back Marteen we need you.

There are plenty of reasons for optimism going into the last month or so of the season but it’s hard not to be cynical. Why Bobby Cox still let’s Greg Norton swing a bat for this club is beyond comprehension. It’s August 21st. He’s been at it long enough. This is an absolute joke.

As long as Bobby finds ways of defending Norton and Kelly in the face of his horses*** defense, the odds are against us.

I guess given the choice Bobby feels he’s better off with a veteran bat on the bench. Here’s my question though, since when has Brooks Conrad’s 29 years not been considered close to a veteran? He’s a grown ass man. He’s barely younger than I am but he’s still old. I’m in my fourth decade, I’m thinking about life man, how many years do I have on this earth?

Me and Brooks are plenty old for a couple of young dudes. What is the f***ing deal?

I’m laying it out there folks. Greg Norton is not giving us anything of value. It’s one thing to have experience but at this point in his life that’s about all he has.

Cause he’s old! And he can’t hit!

I’m pissed now. It’s not going to be easy.

August 24th, 2009
6:17 pm

Herschel — on June 28, Braves were 5 out of division and 5 1/2 out of WC (though in 10th place).

August 24th, 2009
6:18 pm

Me — Don’t think a Lowe to BP will happen. Still not sure Hudson to rotation will happen. But if he does come back, I’m guessing it’ll be Kawakami.

DamYankee

August 24th, 2009
6:18 pm

Sonny, our Coach called ‘em “Love Handles”, but when we asked why he wouldn’t tell us. I don’t think baseball players are supposed to have love handles.

chemdawg

August 24th, 2009
6:20 pm

…They cited a 1% chance of the 1914 Braves winning the pennant as an example of an outlier not as a correctly predicted outcome. For those who are confused: they are talking percentages not absolutes and there will always be outliers in statistical models. The 2008 mets were an example of such. Since there are 162 games in a season there is typically a good enough sample size to predict performance based on past performance. However, there will be a normal (remember bell curves from high school math) distribution around the predicted value, so you can’t say anything in absolute terms. If you simulate the outcomes enough times you can get a good feel for how many times team A’s wins lies on the bell curve above team B’s.

P.S.
Schultz, you can blow me off, but I’ve mentioned baseballprospectus.com numerous times over the last few months on these blogs when people (including yourself) were claiming that the braves had a better shot at the wildcard than the division.

Snaggle tooth

August 24th, 2009
6:26 pm

chipper jones needs to start contrebuting if the braves are to have any chance to win the wildcard.

August 24th, 2009
6:27 pm

Chemdawg — I’m confused. 1) I don’t know who you are, so I can’t possibly blow you off; 2) I’ve always felt they had a better shot to win the WC than the division and I still think that, because Philadelphia is too good (my opinion). If the Braves win the East, I will gladly admit I was wrong

i cant take it anymore

August 24th, 2009
6:45 pm

Jeff

don’t let the MIT slang and prestige fool you. Its really hard to design statistical measures that have to account for so many different variables. What about rain delays? chino having heartburn after a cuban sandwich? Yunel getting a new haircut?

Herschel Talker

August 24th, 2009
6:48 pm

Jeff R

August 24th, 2009
7:06 pm

Jeff, I’m not a numbers guy, either. Too many X Factors in the game to go strictly by the numbers.

HAL

August 24th, 2009
7:14 pm

cook going on the dl for rockies leaves them with zero real major league caliber starters a cpl flame thowing youngsters in usbaldo and the left hander whos name escapes me but no real seasoned starters maybe this will be the year of there met like collapse ,one can hope

chemdawg

August 24th, 2009
7:18 pm

1.) Fair enough, but I was referring to your response to me earlier this morning which I incorrectly assumed you remembered. 2.) Up until this week, they have had a much greater shot at the division than the wildcard. Now, they have about the same shot at the division based on how all the NL teams have played this year. In other words, for the braves to make the playoffs they need to outperform their current record and other teams to underperform. Even if the division deficit is greater, the statistics of the situation dictate that the difference is easier to make up competing with 1 or 2 teams in the division than 4 or 5 for the wildcard. For each additional team you add to the race, you have to account for the chance that one of them will go on a hot streak as well.

DCB

August 24th, 2009
7:25 pm

Hey – speaking as a transplanted Yankee having spent over 30 years in the south watching with amusement the anti-north and pro SEC/ACC sports mentaility, there is no question how Braves fans would react to the coolstanding.com prediction of the Braves chances to make the playoffs – 0 credibility. I mean if the principals Walsh and Agami were Georgia or Georgia Tech grads, the fans might give the prediction at least a second thought. But as soon as it was mentioned they were from MIT, forget it. What the hey do they know about baseball, or basketball, or football, or …. ?????

Jim Grogan

August 24th, 2009
7:41 pm

Isn’t it amazing how much time, money and energy people will spend trying to predict the future: the weather, the stock market, national rankings, what various sports teams will do, who will win a golf tournament, what players will impact fantasy leagues and so on. Not too many years ago, George Rogers led an undefeated South Carolina team (7-0) against the Yellow Jackets (1 win against Furman and no wins against division one in over a year). SC was a 28 point favorite and the final score was indeed 28-0. But, it was Ga. Tech 28 and S.C. 0. They always play them on the field, not in the papers or on a computer, and that folks is why we are all sports fans!! GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!

i cant take it anymore

August 24th, 2009
7:43 pm

DCB

nice try.

jeffrey d

August 24th, 2009
7:54 pm

Dang…Look at the big drop off between Florida and Atlanta. We’re only one game ahead of them.

Tami

August 24th, 2009
8:00 pm

There is NO WAY that anyone can predict what happens in baseball! There are way too many factors that can in a blink of an eye change a team’s chances for the good or for the better. Basically, how it gets worked out is playing between the lines. We’ll have a very good idea of how they’ll do in one month’s time…trust me. And, we didn’t have to go to M.I.T. and major in mathematics or calculus or any of that stuff to figure it out either.

JSS

August 24th, 2009
8:27 pm

Bill-InAtl, if this has you stomped then why do you and so many buy into the FICO credit scoring algorithm? It is the same freaking model! Derivatives on the other hands those contracts were workable, but poor Congress (a willing conspirator) were willing to sell us sown the river to traders. See June 2000, ask Gray Davis and all of those poor people impaled on Enron and Countrywide’s excesses.. But always blame the victim, that the American way… Damn it is 2AM!!! I need to go sleep, power boat races in the AM

John

August 24th, 2009
8:29 pm

come on football. I hate the frecking Braves and the motor mouth announcers. Move the Braves to do dunk , africa.

bruce

August 24th, 2009
8:37 pm

I would think we have much better chance of winning the wildcard because Colorado and San Fran have tougher schedules to play than we do having to play each other and LA. And I do not see that Philly is going to lose very many series, except for the Braves if we can get healthy quickly.

Courtney

August 24th, 2009
8:45 pm

This is the opposite of Sports. The human element cannot be factored by this MIT idiot or anyone else.

bruce

August 24th, 2009
8:46 pm

Jeff –
Does it seem strange to you that Florida’s chances are so much lower than the Braves in both the division and wildcard yet they are only one game behind the Braves? It would seem that the odds would be much closer for these two teams.

Salty

August 24th, 2009
8:48 pm

OK…since they ran historical races…what were the outcomes for the ‘64 Cards and the ‘07 Phillies? Just wonderin’!

Ken Gunn

August 24th, 2009
8:49 pm

Considering that the Rockies have won 67% of their games since June 1st & the Dodgers have won 53% I believe the Rockies will over take the Dodgers & win the division & the Dodgers will win the wild card. Also, the Phillies have won 69% of their games since July 6th so I expect the Phillies will win the division.

chemdawg

August 24th, 2009
9:06 pm

The reason Florida has such a lower chance according to these calculations is run differential. The Braves have scored more runs than they have allowed whereas the Marlins are pretty much even. Bill James, a baseball statistician, has shown that if you take the square of the runs scored and divide by the square of the runs allowed it predicts win percentage with a high degree of accuracy (this is called the Bill James Pythagorean theorem). Throughout the course of baseball history, the discrepancy between this “expected win pct” and actual winning percentage is very small. The cases where a team outperforms or under performs this ratio can essentially be attributed to luck.

James

August 24th, 2009
9:17 pm

I don’t know about the model enough to really say one thing or another. It’s accurate given the 2% error rate, but for it to be really accurate for this particular Braves team it would have to give more weight to the Braves recent performance. Using the points for and points against to date isn’t accurate because of the months of the Frenchy/KJ debacle.

Either way, 12% isn’t 0%. This is the team that just won’t go away. They’ve been at death’s door 3 times and just keep coming back. It’s going to happen.

DHD

August 24th, 2009
9:21 pm

The problem with trying to calculate is that it doesn’t know who is going to get hot. Also, a BIG factor is the call-ups The Braves have needed extra players with all of the nagging injuries. Javy has had to pinch hit several times. Having Huddy, Heyward and a few others will help us more than the other teams, I bet. Skip always told us…”that’s why they play the games.” We won’t know until they get played. I like our chances because of solid pitching.

Coach (2010 or Bust)

August 24th, 2009
9:21 pm

Holy Crap, do we really need a couple of MIT grads and their computer simulation to make this kind of assessment?

I could have come up with the same thing based on one variable during spring training, Bobby Cox.

cdog

August 24th, 2009
9:33 pm

I SEE WHERE THE BRAVES ARE SENDIND JASON HEYWARD TO THE ARIZONA INSTRUCTIONAL LEAGUE. THEY SHOULD SEND KELLY JOHNSON ALONE TOO.HE IS TERRIBLE AS A BASEBALL PLAYER. HE MUST HAVE SOME POWERFUL RELATIVES IN PRO BASEBALL. I KNOW 12 HIGH SCHOOL PLAYERS RIGHT NOW BETTER THAN HIM. COX SHOULD KEEP HIM ON THE BENCH AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE

Don!

August 24th, 2009
9:51 pm

When you’re looking a relative odds for the playoffs with about 40 games to go, a single game won or lost makes about a 2.5% difference in and of itself. Plus, one important thing to consider is the remaining schedule … Colorado sees a lot of the Mets, Arizona, San Diego, and Cincinnati over the next couple of weeks. In fact, 19 of their next 22 games are against teams with losing records.

The Braves’ schedule is a little tougher — with this trip to Florida and another trip to Houston and St. Louis in the near future. The bright side to that is that we finish the season with a road trip to the Bets and Nats, then seven games at home against the Marlins and the Nationals. I think if we can just make up two games coming into that last trip home — we have a good chance. Better than 22%, IMHO.

Later,

Don!

Sonny Clusters

August 24th, 2009
9:53 pm

We was thinking we could do some statistical work of our own and prove a point but that would go over a lot of heads so we are just going to say that when we was playing ball we never gave up even when people was swinging at everything and refusing to take a pitch. We was state championship and so can the Braves.

Skeezix

August 24th, 2009
9:56 pm

Doesn’t take an MIT scientist to figure out that the playoffs are a longshot for the Braves. But 2009 has been a whole lot more fun than the last two years…and it ain’t over yet. Imagine a sweep of the Padres this week and then the Rockies blowing three in a row………

richbrave

August 24th, 2009
9:56 pm

Let’s play them one at a time. From late June, the BRAVOS have come a long way.

Sonny Clusters

August 24th, 2009
10:12 pm

Jeff has they been a winner from the best biscuit search and is it in Dunwoody? Man, wouldn’t that be some luck?

Steve McP

August 24th, 2009
10:14 pm

Lies, Damn Lies and statistics! Since 1905 – 1969 there were only 2 play off teams, expansion then saw 4 until 1993 and there have been 8 since 1995 (1994 strike year), therefore this rudimentary calculation gives us a total number of teams qualifying for the play offs since 1905 of 300. According to the list of comebacks, the Braves “chances” of 22.3% rank163rd, therefore there is a 54.3% chance that the Braves will make a comeback and make the play offs. The Braves chances suddenly look better than 50/50 using the very information that you produced to show that they had a minimal chance!

chemdawg

August 24th, 2009
10:26 pm

Steve, you’re confused. very confused.

NathanKing

August 24th, 2009
10:36 pm

Does MIT have a baseball team?

Stephen

August 24th, 2009
10:45 pm

First, thanks Jeff for the solid piece. It’s obvious that the column provoked a great discussion of something new, with people critically evaluating some complicated evidence. The discussion was about 10000000x better in my opinion than the usual.

A couple of are seriously missing the boat about what the website, and simulations more broadly, are trying to tell them. “Predictions don’t mean anything… anything can happen… look at Wall Street…” are all very natural feelings, but ultimately, they miss the mark.

Basically, what the website does is roll a very complicated dice a bunch of times and it says “this percentage of the time, the Braves came out on top.” Of course anything can happen! The Nationals win the pennant in some cases.

You basically got three types of comments in response to this great piece:

1) Yeah, 20% that sounds about right… here’s how that meshes with my general thoughts about the Braves and specific players. I’ll call that the Schurholtz. I say that because the Braves front office is totally clueless about how to systematically evaluate talent, but they have good gut instincts that have often worked out. Often these people had really insightful reactions to the piece, and I’d be willing to bet that they’re amenable to investing more thought into how they consider baseball. Much love to these folks.

2) Those statistics don’t account for XYZ (someone gets hot, call ups, a Rockies collapse, injuries, etc.) But yes, *they do*. That is the beauty of simulation. It accounts for those potential occurrences, but it also factors in *the probability that those things occur*. Could Chipper get crazy hot and carry us to October? Of course. But let’s think about the whole system of things going on, and also think about the likelihood that Chipper gets hot X the effect that would have on the playoff race. Etc. This framework is really valuable.

3) “Statistics are stupid. They can’t tell us anything. Wall Street. You can’t factor in the human element.” It’s kind of a natural human reaction to distrust anything you don’t understand. But I think that understanding these concepts really makes baseball more enjoyable.

For example, you can answer questions like:
- What is the probability the Braves make the playoffs?
- If they made the playoffs, how would that compare to the 1991 Wonder Braves? The biggest comebacks ever? The Mets’ epic collapse? If the Braves pull it out this year, I know I am going to seriously appreciate it because I now know just how unlikely that is to happen.

Finally, everyone should take a minute to give props to Jeff for even writing this piece. It was spurred by a comment I made a couple days ago, and Jeff jumped on it and responded. How many journalists do you know that do that?

Baseball is basically a function of two things: skill and luck. Ignore the second one, and ignore the random element, and you’re immediately handicapping yourself from being able to better understand baseball.

Now if there was only some way to get the UGA blawg’s comments to be this good…. Maybe a 10 week series devoted to the brilliant guys at smartfootball.com………

The Bird and Indian

August 24th, 2009
10:52 pm

I really enjoy Sonny Clusters posts.

Herschel Talker

August 24th, 2009
11:19 pm

The Bird and Indian likes men

Gen Neyland

August 24th, 2009
11:20 pm

It’s uphill but can be done. Diaz has it working. It’s a game of simple math from here on out. Win much more that you lose, Chipper will break his slump, the pitching will be there. Bring up Conrad. Get Prado right and convience Church there is life after September. Go Braves

eddie willers

August 24th, 2009
11:52 pm

Mishter Clusters makes us laff.

Timmaaayyyyyy....

August 25th, 2009
12:40 am

Wow Jeff… you must be bored.

bob

August 25th, 2009
2:17 am

Greg Norton and Kelly Johnson. They’re still here. Unlike Moe and Curly, they’re not even funny. Do folks realize the Braves carry only 13 position players, and these are two of them? Playoffs? You’ve got to be kidding.

Woody Woodward

August 25th, 2009
3:04 am

Dear Sonny,

I’m sorry if we Cobb County boys made you feel bad. You know there’s a lot of people not from around here in Cobb County and I think we might have caught some of that northeast snobbery. I hope you’ll accept my apologies cause I just never felt right about it.

Woody Woodward

August 25th, 2009
3:06 am

What would get us to the playoffs is a big stick at first. Or anywhere, for that matter. Has there ever been a team make the playoffs without at least one player to hit 25 home runs?

August 25th, 2009
3:51 am

Braves have a shot, but realistically a 1-in-5 shot seems about right. They are running out of time and games to play; it took them too long to shake the baggage off the cart and put a winning team together, and when they did the injury bug hit. This is a very fragile Braves team with a lot of rebuilt arms still hanging by a thread, and that makes it more unlikely they’ll sustain a run. I still think the key is Chipper — if he gets hot he can carry the team. If not, not much chance.

I’m old enough to have experienced 1964 growing up as a Cardinal fan in St. Louis. The Phillies choked up 6-1/2 games that year in about a week and half in September. You never know.

August 25th, 2009
3:57 am

Woody Woodward: Yes, teams have made the playoffs without a 25-homer man. Four come to mind immediately: 1985 Cardinals, 1982 Cardinals, 1973 Mets, 1959 White Sox. Most likely many others, but without looking it up I’d say highly unlikely in the steroid era.

abudefdef

August 25th, 2009
5:56 am

I agree with the statement that Greg Norton is hindering the playoff chances…he is dead weight and should be cut out! I truly appreciate what he did for the Braves LAST YEAR, but this year he is batting worse than some of our pitchers! And that’s his JOB! TO BAT! And I know the Brooks Conrad bandwagon may have come and gone, but at least he was making contact, and I bet there are at least a handful of batters in the minors who could come up and be successful at least 1 out of 4 times at the plate, DOUBLING what Norton is doing (almost, maybe).

Cut Greg Norton, bring up Brooks Conrad (or another deserving minor leaguer) and I bet the Brave’s chances go up at least 5%!

KEEP THE FAITH BRAVES NATION!!!
Keep the Faith!
***WHOOOOAAAAAA OOOOAAAAAA WHOOOOOOOAAAAA OOOOOOAAAAA***
**TOMAHAWK-A-CHOPPIN**

Nativebird

August 25th, 2009
7:48 am

probabilities are just that…probable…not (near) guaranteed. This is why they actually play the games. and what a lot of folks miss in this discussion is that these type of statistics are what actually CREATED the term “underdog”. Of which, many throughout history have prevailed. Without it these stats, there would be no “underdog” at all. then why play? because EVERY game is not predetermined, no matter how hard we try to make it.

bama92

August 25th, 2009
8:15 am

winning the east is a very simple formula, here goes:
NL East Title= Sweep 6 remaining games vs. Philly+ keep winning series.

Formula is simple, can they pull it off, sure would feel like 1991/1992 if they did!

Chopdawg

August 25th, 2009
8:50 am

Interesting stuff, but to me these predictions are like handicapping a horse race…one horse is favored, a couple more horses hold a little longer odds, then one or two longshots. When you consider the number of teams still in the playoff picture, 22% is actually not a bad percentage.

August 25th, 2009
8:53 am

[...] Braves postseason hopes dwindling. [AJC] [...]

Mitch C

August 25th, 2009
9:02 am

Jeff, you mentioned Lowe to the bullpen not happening. The interesting thing is, in 2001, Bobby put Smoltz as the closer at the end of the season, and he was lights out. Then again, Smoltz had been injured for most of that year, and hadnt pitched as many innings as Lowe has this year.

Personally, I’m concerned about Lowe. He has looked terrible his last two times out. The Mets beat him up last week, and he was far from great against Fla on Sunday. I’m going to my annual game this Sat night in Philly, and Lowe is pitching. He needs a good game, to get his confidence back, although with me there, I wouldnt be surprised if the Braves lose 10-0, lol.

Mitch

Guy Malool

August 25th, 2009
9:18 am

What a bunch of nonsense! There is no number to measure heart and this team is loaded with it! Hold on to your seats because the final six weeks will be the ride of your life. Paralysis through analysis doesn’t win games, heart and passion does and this team is peaking at just the right time!

Steven Lemon

August 25th, 2009
10:03 am

Why spend all this time and energy crunching numbers? The fact is, as long as Bobby Cox is manager, the only way the Braves will reach to post season is through some incredible good luck (I.E. a collapse of the Phillies in 07 or the Mets in ‘06), the emergence of a “Mr October” (I.E. David Justice 1991-95. Don’t even THINK Chipper Jones, who only rises to the occasion against the Mets ) or a lot of bad calls by umpires (I.E. Pittsburgh vs Atlanta 1991, Sid Bream was OUT!!!).

Cox has proven to be a great manager over the first 162 games of the year, but his style (and skills) are not what a post season manager needs to win. Most Braves rallies end with double plays after loading the bases with none out. There is no speed on the basepaths (Newcomers Church and McClouth have almost as many steals as the rest of the team combined.

Then there is the pitching staff, the only members with post season experience have proven less reliable than rookie Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens who have zero post season experience but would be leading the league in victories were it not for the bullpen, which has blown a third (16) of their save opportunities (45). The bullpen also has record of 19-21, which means the bullpen is involved in too many decisions.

Finally, during the post season, winning is 75% players and 25% manager. The skipper must be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat on occasion, and I haven’t seen that out of Cox in his entire career and I don’t see it in the foreseeable future.

Reid in EAV

August 25th, 2009
10:05 am

“So… you’re saying there’s a chance.”

I’m not terribly worried by mathematical models. Since 1991 the Braves have always been a team of second-half surges. Who can forget 1993? I sure can’t.

37YrBravesFan

August 25th, 2009
10:36 am

Stats can be made to say anything. The MIT folks are interesting, but not necessarily relevant in my opinion. I also think the WC will be where the Braves land in the play offs if they do. I’m still thinking next year is the year…

GO BRAVES!!

nique

August 25th, 2009
10:37 am

thank you for the disclaimer at the beginning, i wish i would have heeded your warning. did not find this particularly interesting.

Sutton's 'Fro

August 25th, 2009
10:59 am

DHD…Javy Vazquez leads the league in sacrifice bunts; that’s why he’s used as a pinch hitter. While I agree the bench needs help, using Vazquez is not an indicator of weakness. He’s just really good at laying a bunt down. :;):

who cares

August 25th, 2009
11:02 am

22% chance of making the playoffs seems high to me. It should be 0% chance. As long as Bobby Cox is the manager, this team will never make the playoffs again. His loyalty with players like Kelly Johnson, and Norton is the reason this team isn’t going anywhere. These guys clearly don’t have major league talent, yet Cox continues to play them, and they continue to fail in clutch situations every game. That coupled with the fact that the braves #1 starter has blown leads in two consecutive starts of 4-0, and 3-0. Your #1 starter should be your stopper in the stretch run for the playoffs, and this guy is pathetic. He is the weak link to the starting pitching staff now. It is only a matter of time before Cox puts his loyalty to the test again with the return of Hudson. Hudson is another #1 starter that never produced in the clutch. The way he is getting shelled in Richmond is a clear indication that he isn’t where he needs to be, and the best thing for him is to wait until next year. But watch Cox put him in the starting rotation and ruin the 22% chance the Braves have of making the playoffs.

Brett

August 25th, 2009
11:25 am

Another similar website, that actually uses how individual players are projected to perform, has the Braves chances at about 32% (11% to win division, 21% to win wildcard). So take these things for what they’re worth.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/ps_oddspec.php

Patrick

August 25th, 2009
11:35 am

Hey a 1 in 4 chance sounds about right to me. If we were tied with anybody, then maybe you could say it was 50-50 or something like that. But hey, call me crazy, but I think the team we need to start chasing is the Los Angeles Dodgers if Colorado keeps winning.

..and Russ Nixon is gonna go with Ed Olwine!

August 25th, 2009
11:57 am

Everyone wants to get rid of Norton but if they did there would be another Norton. He is in the long line of Bobby’s fishin buddies that he refuses to give up on. Jeff Treadway, Bryan Hunter, Wes Helms, Tommy Gregg, Lonnie Smith, Danny Bautista, Gerald Williams, Keith Lockhart, Julio Franco. Brian Jordan. There is always one on every team.

Bravid

August 25th, 2009
2:23 pm

It wasn’t that long ago when the Braves were 7 games below 500. Ever since we got rid of Frenchy and acquired Nate & Church, everyone in baseball has noticed the difference in the Braves. They’ve scored 190 runs since the allstar break, which is first in the NL. They’ve had injuries through out the season, and stayed close. As resent as 2 weeks ago, the Braves were as close as 4.5 games of the Phillies. The Braves don’t have the power that the Phillies possess, but we have contact hitters that hit for average & starting pitching that the Phillies just don’t have. Once Chipper gets his groove back (& he will) & Prado, Nate, Church, Anderson get healthy (& they will) I still see the Braves making it real close with the Phillies. All the Braves have to do is sweep the Phillies, & take 2 of 3 from the Padres & they’ll pick up 3 games on them. By September 1st the braves can be between 4.5 to 3.5 games back in the division. They have to start winning the first game of a series instead of loosing the first game & then to come back & win 2 straight. Sweeps have to be the modow, & there good enough to do it to. There’s just something, I don’t know what it is but it’s like the Braves have some type of destiny that will take them far this year.

Matt

August 25th, 2009
2:52 pm

“Never tell me the odds” – Han Solo

September 25th, 2009
10:56 am

[...] THE ODDS: According to CoolStandings.com, which I blogged about last month , the Braves have a 12.4 percent chance of winning the wild card. The website, which factors in [...]