Today - ay - ay - ay is the greatest day - ay - ay - ay in the history of blogs.
Every now and then we turn over our front page to a guest blogger. But, today, for the first time, we are turning our front page over to another blog’s front page. And it’s not as crazy as it sounds.
Today you can read part of the story here and the rest of the story at Elliott Harris’ web site. Or, if you prefer, you can read part of the story at Elliott Harris’ web site and then read the rest of it here. Either way you’ll be a better person for having done so.
Now shut up, grab some coffee and read Elliott’s deepest thoughts.
Baseball’s All-Star Game generally is considered the halfway point in the season. It is—if you’re really bad at math. Because teams play a 162-game schedule, the halfway point should be—wait a minute while the advanced arithmetic department at elliottharris.com does some calculating—81 games.
With the exception of the unexceptional Kansas City Royals (36-44), all major league teams have played at least 81 games. The Chicago Cubs (31-50) and White Sox (44-37) each have played precisely 81. The All-Star game is set for July 10. Meaning there is a week’s worth of games to be played before the “halfway point.” You do the math. Or don’t. It all adds up to some statistical analysis—with no better time than today.
What conclusions can we draw from the Cubs and Sox seasons? With a fairly high degree of certainty (though not 100 percent), this much we know—or think we know: Each team has 81 games remaining in the regular season. Is there a guarantee the Cubs will finish with 100 losses? No. Will the Sox reach 88 victories and capture the American League Central? Possibly.
According to coolstandings.com the Cubs have a 0.1 percent chance of reaching the postseason. The Sox have an 82.6 (75.8 winning the division, plus a 6.8 percent shot of being a wild-card team). It forecasts the Cubs losing a big-league worst 96.7 games. It has the Sox winning 91.8 games, 10 ahead of runner-up Cleveland. For the complete numerical breakdown, you can click onto the site here.
Of course, there are variables to all this. Such as injuries, trades, etc. Not to mention—from the Cubs’ perspective—perhaps one variable that hasn’t had a chance to make a case mathematically: Anthony Rizzo.
In his eight games since being recalled from Class AAA Iowa, the Cubs have gone 6-2 with Rizzo on the roster. A small mathematical sample, to be sure. But for Cubs fans—who are accustomed to applying a lack of logic when it comes to assessing their team—there is a conclusion to be drawn: The Cubs will continue to play .750 ball with Rizzo on the big-league roster.
Which means in the second half of the season, the Cubs will win 60.75 games. OK, so we’ll show a little restraint and round down to 60 games. Meaning the Cubs would finish 91-71 and likely capture the National League Central.
For further extrapolation (not sure if that’s even allowed in states where Republicans control both houses of the legislature and the governor’s office), Rizzo can figure on ending up with 33 home runs and 66 runs batted in. That’s based on three homers and six RBI in eight games and figuring he will continue that pace and not miss more than about one game the rest of the season. Again a small sample size, but sometimes when we rationalize things, we tell ourselves size doesn’t matter.
From a Sox perspective, designated hitter (OK, swinger just doesn’t sound right, even if it might be more accurate) Adam Dunn has 127 strikeouts. Meaning he is on pace for 254, which would be an all-time galactical record. To be fair (or to provide a little balance to those numbing numbers), Dunn has walked 66 times, which means he is on pace for 132.
Of course, all this is pure speculation. Well, maybe not pure but certainly speculation. Past performance is no guarantee of future success. You’ll occasionally see that in the fine print of unsolicited mail that may come your way. You’ll also see that on a regular basis at a variety of sporting venues.
That concludes today’s math session. Feel free to clip and save—although it’s suggested you make a printout to do so rather than try to take a scissors to the screen on which you are reading this.
Put it all together and it all adds up to the fact that fans still have reasons to watch their teams this year.
Oh, just FYI, the Cubs won going away last night with a 5-1 romp over the Braves and the Sox guaranteed themselves another series win with their 5-4 victory over the Rangers in 10.
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