Braves’ playoff chances ‘cooling’ but still strong (74.9 percent)

It seemed the Braves always were turned in the wrong direction in Philadelphia.

It seemed the Braves always were turned in the wrong direction in Philadelphia.

Good morning: The Braves are not dead yet.

While you were trying to sleep away the memory of the Braves being swept by Philadelphia, San Diego won and San Francisco and Colorado each lost late Wednesday night. So while the Braves have flat-lined in the National League East standings, they’re still one-half game up on the Giants in the wild card race and three up on Colorado (which also has lost three straight).

This is when I like to turn to “Cool Standings.”

We’ve talked about Cool Standings before. In short, it projects a team’s division title, wild card and playoff chances, based on past performance, remaining games and other factors, using basic statistics like a team’s runs scored and against.

Cool Standings has been charting the Braves’ postseason hopes daily. The results look like this:

2010_coolstats_s_ATL

OK, don’t freak. It’s actually pretty simple.

♦ The blue line represents East Division chances. You’ll notice how that one has plummeted and is almost off the chart.

♦ The black line presents wild card chances.

♦ The red line is overall postseason chances (combination of the blue and the black).

Breaking it down by percentages, Cool Standings indicates the Braves now have a 1.2 percent of winning the East and a 73.7 chance of winning the wild card for an overall postseason chance of 74.9.

The Braves’ playoff chances were as high as 95.8 percent after defeating the New York Mets on Sept. 1. But since then, they’re 8-12 and the Phillies are 17-3.

Logic says the Braves can reel off five of six wins in the next two series against Washington and Florida because both are long gone from the postseason race. But those clubs have been major annoyances to the the Braves, who are only 7-8 against the Nationals and 8-7 against the Marlins.

But Cool Standings says all is well. For now.

How comfortable are you feeling? Do you believe the Braves will still pull this off?

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LogoGrass_652173aSACK SCHULTZ: I’ll have an update on my slow climb to No. 1 later this week. Meanwhile, there’s still time to join the fun. Click here for more info on the weekly college football picks contest and then sign up at ajc.com/go/sack-schultz.

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226 comments Add your comment

Buck Commander

September 23rd, 2010
7:47 am

Buck Commander

September 23rd, 2010
7:53 am

They can still pull it off but they need to get their hearts going again and not lay there and flat-lined like a dead person. Anyone got an AED handy?

papadawg

September 23rd, 2010
7:55 am

After this Phils fiasco I don’t think I want to see them bumbling around in the playoffs

Buck Commander

September 23rd, 2010
7:56 am

Jeff, it looks like we are the only ones left alive in the blog world.

D Braves

September 23rd, 2010
8:00 am

Puh-leese, Jeff, no more about cool standings. It was fun when they were leading the division and dominating at home, but now they don’t look anything like the team that entered September in first place. They can’t string hits together, they can’t play defense, and they never had much power. The only way they make the playoffs now is if the Western conglomerate (SD/SF/CO) collapses over the next 10 days. I’m sure the Braves are glad they sold all of those tickets for next week already when it looked like they would be huge games.

Statistics Major

September 23rd, 2010
8:01 am

It is a known fact that 37.81% of all statistics are made up on the spot!

Buck Commander

September 23rd, 2010
8:02 am

I can understand your feelings papadawg. I would like to see them make it if they are playing good ball and showing some heart but if they make it only to go in there and get knocked out and beat up in the first round whats the point. I really dont care to see that either.

Ted Striker

September 23rd, 2010
8:04 am

The apocalypse is near…you put a graph in your column.

I’m going to go sit on the roof and sing Do-Lord until I see the four horsemen.

Skip

September 23rd, 2010
8:06 am

What’s the point in making the playoffs when the Braves obviously cannot beat the Phillies? I guess there is always hope that some other team could knock them out but even that seems unlikely.

Shug

September 23rd, 2010
8:14 am

So this is where we are. Counting on statistical charts to get the Braves in the playoffs. In math classes, the Braves’ chances look good; on the field, not so good.

Kenny

September 23rd, 2010
8:14 am

What worries me is not this year but next year. Pitching’s OK but where is the offense for next year? Ankiel? Cabrera? Glaus? Lee? McLouth? Can Heyward, Prado and McCann carry the team? I don’t think they’ll be able to beat the Phillies next year either.

Dawg Fud

September 23rd, 2010
8:27 am

Um, yese we are dead. We struggle against the marlins and nationals all season…and need i comment on the season’s final series.

We really wet the bed down the stretch.

Moe Larry and Curly

September 23rd, 2010
8:32 am

I’ve witnessed too much heartbreak over the years watching Bobby Cox teams underperform in the playoffs and don’t need any more. This team will get swept if they win WC.

[...] Braves' playoff chances 'cooling' though still clever (74.9 percent … [...]

Robert Gibson

September 23rd, 2010
8:36 am

I didn’t see the game but read the box score. One question: Why did Cox take the starting pitcher out of the game after only 6 innings when he had a shutout going and was obviously pitching well?

wawel78

September 23rd, 2010
8:40 am

thanks for the chart Jeff. Some fans appreciate it. I check the ESPN % chance of making the playoffs but I’m curious if these numbers figure in remaining opponents.

Before last night’s game, I felt the braves needed to go 6-4 over the last 10 to make it w/out worrying about someone catching them. Obviously, now, I feel it’s 6-3 over the last 9 and I’m not sure they can do it. A series w/ the Nats looks good on paper but in reality, the braves are losing the series against them this year.

It could be coincidence but this team fell apart a shortly after Chipper went down. I didn’t realize how important he was to this team.

I hate being this way as a fan but I’m not too optimistic even if they win the wild card. They play terribly on the road and would not have any home field advantage unless they made it to the WS. Having said that, leaders in the west and central look beatable right now. It’s only the phillies that currently look like a true playoff team.

Jeff Schultz

September 23rd, 2010
8:43 am

Buck Commander — Maybe everybody is beaten down.

curtis jones

September 23rd, 2010
8:44 am

Let’s be real Jeff. If they somehow back into the playoffs, they’re 3 and out. In 2011, hopefully a new manager can add to the Braves’ stable of Major League outfielders (they now have one). When Ankiel is in the lineup, it’s like having two pitchers batting.

They seriously need an everyday leadoff man, and an everyday cleanup hitter (no more bargain basement first basemen).

Jeff Schultz

September 23rd, 2010
8:44 am

D Braves — You might be right on all counts. Of course, when I write stuff like that, sunshine fans think I’m all negative and stuff.

RAMBLINWRECK

September 23rd, 2010
8:44 am

Cox is a joke! We have ankiel who has fanned what 12 of his last 17 times at the plate playing in this important series? I don’t care that mclouth is hitting .300 in september, he is hitting .186 on the year! Why are these two playing? When i watch lee,mclouth and ankiel strikeout after strikeout, i start to wonder if they are going blind?!?

Let’s also look at the fact we threw a rookie and an triple A guy out there vs perhaps the top 2 pitchers in the NL on the road! The phiilies altered their rotation so the braves face their best in this important series and it worked for them. We countered with what exactly? We didn’t even send our top 2 pitchers out there in this series! I know that jj got hurt but move hanson up a day, Why did we not alter our rotation knowing that we could not afford to fall behind any further than the 3 games coming in. Do these braves work on defense? It is terrible to see us with more errors and strikeouts in just 2 games than all the runs we scored in all 3 games!! The phillies are good, don’t get me wrong. However, we throw more belt high fastballs with a 1-2 or 2-2 count right down the pipe with 2 outs and paid for it without question by ibanez and werth. Take your medicine people, the last several games will be painful to watch. The marlins and nats look like the NY yankees vs the braves and given we can’t hit or even field… this thing called playoffs, is all but an illusion.

No way this group makes the playoff at all. Anybody want to place wagers on this? I will take a idiots money all day long if they want to hand it away on the backs of this pathetic team and coaching staff. TP might be the worst hitting coach in the majors. He isn’t worth a roll of TP you wipe your a** with. Neither are half the braves hitters who couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat. 9-12 in september, that is pathetic!

Jeff Schultz

September 23rd, 2010
8:44 am

Statistics Major — There’s a 50-50 chance you’re telling the truth.

Jeff Schultz

September 23rd, 2010
8:45 am

Ted Striker — a momentary lapse. I’ll try to get back to posting pictures of women.

Jeff Schultz

September 23rd, 2010
8:46 am

Wawel78 — Yes, projections figure in opponents.

meh

September 23rd, 2010
8:51 am

Braves are still leading the wildcard. just need to take this off day to regroup. come back tomorrow and put a hurting on the Nats. Go Braves!!

Buster Olney

September 23rd, 2010
8:51 am

your a bonehead schultz

wawel78

September 23rd, 2010
8:51 am

Also, let me take the time once again to thank Bobby Cox for screwing w/ KK’s season. Now he actually needs him he can’t pitch him because he’s got no stamina. Too late now but I wonder what it would’ve taken for KK to get the McLouth/Franceour treatment.

Jeff Schultz JR.

September 23rd, 2010
8:54 am

GeorgiaDawgInWashDC

September 23rd, 2010
8:54 am

we shall see wont we..if they are beat up again by the nastynals then they don’t deserve to go to the post season..If they can’t whip last place teams how are they going to beat the best?

Tucker T

September 23rd, 2010
8:55 am

This is all meaningless. I hate this statistical stuff about making the playoffs and winning the division. Weren’t the Braves chances of winning the division like 80% or something at one time? Now they are 6 games out and done. Bunch of crap.

WonderDawg

September 23rd, 2010
8:58 am

I just hope the Braves don’t gag like last year in the last few games. Didn’t they lose their last 6 or 7?

I can understand them not hitting against Philly, but if they don’t hit against the Nats or the Fish, it’s a choke job, pure and simple.

Jeff, what do think the deal is about hitters coming to the Braves, then promptly hitting 60-80 points below their averages on their previous teams? Does Pendleton mess them up? Bobby? The pennant-race pressure?

I don’t get it.

Jeff SchuItz

September 23rd, 2010
9:00 am

Sweet Old Buck

September 23rd, 2010
9:01 am

If they don’t sweep the Nats and Marlins, they don’t deserve to be in the playoffs.

Jeff Schultz

September 23rd, 2010
9:06 am

keith

September 23rd, 2010
9:07 am

I will make one point and then be done. Do you remember the Cardinal team of 2006?

We’ll, I do. I was living in the show-me state at the time. They played absolutely horrible the last 2 weeks of the season and almost gave up a huge lead and kind of just stumbled into the playoffs.

Then they miraculously started playing well and went on to WIN IT ALL!

Point is. When the playoffs start, the season starts over.

Braves don’t necessarily have to be rolling…just need to get there.

I guess it is a mental thing, the playoffs, and the fresh slate.

Go braves!! :)

WonderDawg

September 23rd, 2010
9:10 am

I kept reading about that series having a “playoff atmosphere,” yet the players who have played the best in the playoffs, Melky, Heinski, and Glaus pretty much kept the bench warm.

Why are some of you messing with Lee. He had 4 hits in the first two games. Hell, nobody’s hit Oswalt lately.

Russ555

September 23rd, 2010
9:10 am

Fess up, Jeff. You’ve been noticing the charts Cynthiea and Bookman have been putting in their columns and just wanted to use one of your on to show you do charts too.

Craig

September 23rd, 2010
9:11 am

I have a simple question, do we want this team in the playoffs? I know it is Bobby’s last year and making the playoffs and even the World Series was the team goal for Bobby’s last hurrah. That being said, can this team compete and not be out in three games? I have my doubts looking at this line up and how our starting pitching is currently performing. Just a thought.

Sonny Clusters

September 23rd, 2010
9:12 am

With all this cap tipping going on, we want to tip our cap to Jeff.

Sonny Clusters

September 23rd, 2010
9:14 am

Might as well tip their caps, they won’t be tipping the pennant.

Coach

September 23rd, 2010
9:14 am

I don’t need your graph Jeff. The Braves are a 1/2 game up and they are about to play a team that they continually gives them fits and it’s on the road. They never play well against the Nationals or on the road. This is definitely a cause for concern.

Jeff from Jersey

September 23rd, 2010
9:18 am

I watched the Phillies play in Atlanta on Memorial Day…the day the Braves took over the NL East. Other than an annoying usher in my section, I had a lot of fun watching the game, even though the Phillies lost. The Braves fans were into the game. They were cheerful. Excited. It was going to be the year to take the NL East back. Fast Forward to now: while they may have a good chance to still get in the playoffs, the level of play they exhibited shows that even the teams out of the playoffs could still easily defeat this team. The pitching is good…but the offense is pitiful. Seriously, did everyone lose count on how many double plays they hit into the first two games of the series? I guess it can be highlighted they didn’t hit into any yesterday, although it’s hard to do without any basemen on first…with less than two outs!

Matt

September 23rd, 2010
9:20 am

Craig- this team has been out in 3 plenty of times, with much stronger pitching and much stronger lineups. Don’t look for a change now. They made the playoffs 14 years in a row and only managed 1 championship. What do you honestly expect them to do if they should make it?

Marty

September 23rd, 2010
9:22 am

I don’t want to see the Braves make the playoffs and go 3 & out. Maybe they take the Giants/Red/Padres whoever in the DS, but then another 4 game sweep at the hands of the hated Phils is inevitable. Either way, I’d rather not make the playoffs if we have no chance to advance. They are badly overmatched against Philly. Its ugly.
And…am I the only one who notices this? Rick Ankiel’s hands are down around his waist and pulled way back. I’ve never played baseball and even I can tell it would be difficult to catch up with any pitch that way. Its no wonder he strikes out all the time. He needs to work on his stance. But whatever, no way he’s on the team next year.

Matt

September 23rd, 2010
9:23 am

The Nats are throwing pitchers in the first two games that are a collective 0-4 and about a 6.5 ERA between them. Livan Hernandez throws game 3. These are exactly the kind of pitchers to sweep the BRaves.

DawginLex

September 23rd, 2010
9:23 am

The Phillies are the best team in baseball right now. They could go toe to toe with the Yankees and probably win. No shame in getting swept because of the pitching matchups.

This team needs to come back and focus on just getting in to the playoffs. They can beat the Reds in the playoffs.

Then thrown, Huddy and Lowe in the 1st 2 games and see if the results are different.

Russ555

September 23rd, 2010
9:29 am

Do we want the Braves in the playoffs. Yes. Their first opponent will not be the Phillies. One the games start anything could happen.

Gene

September 23rd, 2010
9:30 am

I agree that the Braves played as well as can be expected against a far better team in the Phillies. If the Braves should make the wildcard, they will have a chance against San Diego or SF. The Rockies will manhandle the Braves should that match up happen. What contender has outfielders batting under .200? Blame that on Wren. If Wren is still around next season, expect more of the same. Cox would make a decent GM.

Craig

September 23rd, 2010
9:31 am

Matt, I expect them to compete. I am just asking if we as the fans are ready for more heart burn and will the fans show up to support? It is sort of like being a Denver Bronco fan up until 1998. You hoped they did not make the Super Bowl because you got tired of being embarrassed.

for cryin out loud Jeffy

September 23rd, 2010
9:34 am

Why the HELL is Mclouth playing in the lineup. Get that BUM outta here…

rebeldawg

September 23rd, 2010
9:35 am

The fact is simple people, Oswalt is pitching like a freak of nature as of late. Hanson did awesome too and I wonder why he was pulled early as well. None the less, why do we not pitch our best pitchers against the Phils? Simple, look what happened last night! So I personally like having our best pitchers for the Nats because no matter their record against the Braves this year, this series realistically is more managable to win than the red hot Phillies (18-3 in Sept).

On a side note I hope the Phils’ do clinch before Oct 1. This would give us a better chance to beat them since they will likely save their stud starters for the playoffs. In these next 9 games I believe 6-3 us there for sure (or at least to a play in game).