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Looking at the remaining schedules of the playoff contenders

Aug 18, 2014, 4:07 PM EDT

Matt Kemp Matt Kemp

Jeff Passan of Yahoo breaks down the remaining schedules of the playoff contenders today.

The Yankees are at one end of the spectrum. The Dodgers are on the other end. To find out which is which, go read the article. But know that the most interesting part of the thing is that he has 19 teams as “playoff contenders,” which (a) is pretty much right, even if there are a few stretches in there; and (b) that level of parity means that the differences between the hardest and the easiest schedules may not be all that great, actually.

  1. SocraticGadfly - Aug 18, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    IF the Cards get Molina back relatively early, the relatively easy sked could help in pulling things out. That said, per Passan, the negative run differential, combined with Matheny’s bullpen mismanagement, call that all into question.

  2. bisonaudit - Aug 18, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    Over 40 games against your average contender the difference between .465 (easiest schedule) and .509 (toughest schedule) is about 1.75 wins.

    • bisonaudit - Aug 18, 2014 at 4:46 PM

      .519 is the toughest schedule so the delta is about 2 wins over 40 games.

  3. El Bravo - Aug 18, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    The Brewers play the Cubs a buttload of times…so NL Central is the Lil Flip of the MLB because it’s game over.

    • uwsptke - Aug 18, 2014 at 4:56 PM

      Brewers play the Cubs (6 times), but also PIT (6), STL (7), and CIN (6) so the division is far from decided.

  4. chip56 - Aug 18, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    Does Passan realize he has the Yankees listed at both 1 and 20?

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 18, 2014 at 5:41 PM

      Yankees are schizophrenic? Yankees are playing with themselves?

      Steinbrenners got dealt two 8s and decided to run two separate blackjack hands with two teams?

    • tolbuck - Aug 18, 2014 at 7:40 PM

      Passan’s 10 Degrees columns are like this. The first item is also the last item. It shows how everything is connected in one way or another, much like the 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

      • chip56 - Aug 19, 2014 at 9:23 AM

        Oh, and here I thought he was just a douche who didn’t know how to edit.

  5. spudchukar - Aug 18, 2014 at 5:18 PM

    While run differential is an interesting and at times a predictively accurate stat, it is burdened by the outliers. In 2013 in the NL Central, St. Louis finished second with a +140 one game behind first place Pittsburgh who sported a +42 differential.

    Detroit in the same year posted a +155 and still sat at home watching much of the post season. When a team can produce nearly a +100 run differential and still finish a game behind in the final standings, then qualifiers have to be examined.

    We all know that the post season is a crap shoot, but in 2013 in the NL Central, the run differential would indicate the regular season can be one too.

    • geejon - Aug 18, 2014 at 5:57 PM

      I would guess in those situations that the teams who won their divisions with far lesser run differentials had abnormally good records in 1-run games.

      • spudchukar - Aug 18, 2014 at 6:51 PM

        Exactly. Good bull pen, lots of close wins, and the victim of numerous blow outs.

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 18, 2014 at 6:03 PM

      Run differential doesn’t take account of injuries, is one thing. And, things like ESPN’s playoff odds, while it may include strength of sked, probably doesn’t include injury issues either.

    • bisonaudit - Aug 18, 2014 at 6:09 PM

      The market can remain irrational longer than you can stay liquid.

    • simon94022 - Aug 18, 2014 at 6:49 PM

      spudchukar, where are your numbers coming from?

      In 2013 Pittsburgh sported a +57 run differential … and finished in second place, 3 games behind the first place St. Louis Cardinals (+187).

      The only part of the postseason that Detroit (+172) sat home watching was the World Series, since they lost the ALCS to Boston. Not surprisingly, considering that Boston’s run differential was even better at +197.

      All 6 divisions in 2013 were won by the team with the best run differential, and the World Series was a match up between the best teams by regular season run differential in each league (Boston and St. Louis). I take your point that this does not always happen, but 2013 suggests that cases where it does not are the exception rather than the rule.

      • spudchukar - Aug 18, 2014 at 6:58 PM

        Thanks for the correction. I clicked on ESPN’s 2013 run differential, but it gave me the info as of today in 2013 not the end of the season. However, by accident it still kinda proves the point, that significant outliers often exist.

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