I enjoy looking at playoff odds and simulations and percentages and breakdowns. I’ve been looking at the Caps playoff odds pretty religiously for weeks. When I started, their playoff odds were below 20 percent. Still, I have no regrets. Playoff odds are fun.
Even so, it never would have occurred to me to explore the Nats playoff odds vis-a-vis the Braves playoff odds, say, this week. Because it’s mid-April. And baseball teams have played like 10 percent of their games. And we’re still far closer to the past Super Bowl than we are to the next World Series.
Again, I completely support all use of mathematical projections. But I’m fairly positive I have never looked at NFL playoff projections after Week 2, and that’s further into the NFL season than we are into this MLB season.
Anyhow, that didn’t stop the Braves Fox Sports South broadcast on Wednesday afternoon.
“The Braves start play today 12-1, four-and-a-half games ahead of the Nationals and riding a 10-game win streak,” Chip Caray said midway through that matinee. “And so we ask Tom Hart: what are the playoffs oddsmakers saying about the Braves chances?”
That’s when the above graphic flashed on the screen for many moments. It comes via Baseball Prospectus, a site that I love, but still.
“Well Chip, we’ve known how good this Braves team is and can be, and so does Fredi Gonzalez,” Hart, the sideline reporter, reported. “He’s been saying it since spring training started: this is a really good team. But finally the numbers-crunchers are starting to catch up to it as well. How important was that sweep in Washington over the weekend? Well just check out the numbers. According to Baseball Prospectus, the Braves now have a 71 percent chance of making the playoffs based on the simulations that they run.”
And so on.
“Even though we’ve all seen it with our eyes, now finally the guys with the computers and the numbers are catching up as well.”
Now. Finally. In mid-April.
There was also talk of seven-day Deltas, which was clearly hilarious.
“I know we’ve got a 10-day Delta thing coming up,” Joe Simpson said, referencing the team’s upcoming road trip.
“So my question for you is this Tom: when are you moving out of your mom’s basement?” Caray asked, hilariously. “Hey look, the fact of the matter is, a lot of folks are jumping on this Braves bandwagon, and justifiably so. This is a very good ballclub. But it is awfully early. We’re not even a tenth of the way through the season yet. Still 16 more games left with the Nationals, a bunch more left with the Phillies, who are going to be a factor I think. The Mets playing good ball too.”
And all that is true. Plus, the Braves got shut out by the Royals on Wednesday, and the Nats won, and now on Thursday the Nats again have a better chance of winning the World Series than the Braves. I still wouldn’t want to see a graphic saying so on MASN, though.
Ten percent through, everyone. That’s like judging a Mike Lupica column based only on the byline. On second thought….
(Via lots of people. Image via @cwyers.)