Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 14, 2006
BASEBALL: Youth Will Not Be Served

It really was not much of a surprise to see the Marlins' defense come utterly unglued last night in the 11th inning of a game that - with the Padres winning and the Phillies handing the Braves another doubleheader sweep - they really needed to win. Like it or not, that's what usually happens to teams with a lot of young position players. Florida isn't done yet but the Marlins are now three games back and fourth in a five-team wild card race (I'm assuming the Astros are toast at 4.5 back), and while they still get to play the Phillies six times and the Reds three, they are done with the leader, San Diego, as well as with the Giants.

While we're at it, let's look at the remaining schedules of the five NL teams by two measurements - the average winning percentage of the teams they have left on their schedule (weighted by number of games) and the number of games remaining against the other four:

TeamAvg W%Games vs 4

The biggest problem here for the other teams is that after today's Padres-Reds game, the Pads have no more games left against the other contenders, and thus nobody can make them come back to the pack. The Marlins, with 4 games remaining against the Mets and 6 against the Phillies, have by far the hardest road, and last year's victory for the Astros reminded us of the value of a soft September schedule in a multi-team wild card race. The Giants, oddly, are the only NL team that will not play any of the wild card contenders the rest of the way.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:18 AM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Looking at the graph, it makes me realize something about teams chasing the leader. Playing other contenders is really a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it gives you an opportunity to make up ground. But, on the other, it means your facing a tougher schedule. And the Marlins have the extra bonus of being the only team that still has games left with the Mets.

As far as the Pads are concerned, it's like being an incumbent trying to decide whether to d bate the challenger. Unless it's Santorum facing Casey, it behooves you to avoid the challenger and coast in.

Posted by: paul zummo at September 14, 2006 10:04 AM

So what are the Mets' records against these teams? Who do y'all want to play in Round 1?

Posted by: jim at September 14, 2006 2:47 PM

Lately I've been thinking I want the Phils or Marlins to get the WC so that we can play the Cards in the first round - assuming the Dodgers pass them in the standings. The Cards just don't look like a team that is going very far in the post-season.

Of these teams, I believe the Mets have the best record against the Pads at 5-2, including a three-game sweep at home a month ago. But I'd probably pick the Reds out of this lot. They can go toe-to-toe with them offensively, and they have a much better overall staff. But, it probably doesn't matter. They should - should - get by whoever they play in the NLDS.

Posted by: paul zummo at September 14, 2006 4:40 PM
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