2012 Post-season / 2012 Reds

A 100% (or 99%) Sure Thing

In case you’ve been too preoccupied with Anderson Cooper in a wet t-shirt to keep up with current events, here are the up-to-date baseball standings.

Baseball Prospectus now estimates the Reds chances of making the playoffs at 100% and winning the NL Central at nearly 91%. [Hat tip to Joel Rollins, a friend and Cardinals fan, who sent me the link to the this today.]

Coolstandings is slightly less optimistic, putting the odds at 99% and 90% respectively.

I’m not saying I necessarily agree with these estimates, but it does give me warm and fuzzy feelings to read them.

Take this as your first official primer for the postseason: postseason schedule, postseason pairing explanation, detailed schedule commentary by Jayson Stark (ESPN), and number crunching on the home field advantage by Jay Jaffe (SI).

47 thoughts on “A 100% (or 99%) Sure Thing

  1. I just logged on to write up a post about this precise thing, the playoff odds. Were you reading my mind, Steve? You beat me to it by six minutes.

    Kudos!

  2. Chad: Like minds. My friend Joel sent me the link to the BP site and it got me thinking. Feel free to add your own thoughts in an update. The more the merrier!

  3. I hope we don’t pair up with the Cardinals in the 1st round…we match up so much better against the NL West teams. Playing two games in STL then up to three at GABP would only favor the Cards since they are a much stronger home team.

    I say let WAS retake the NL lead and shoot for the Giants in a 5 game series. I think we have the advantage in that one since the Giants always suck at GABP and we have been Matt Cain’s kryptonite this year.

    • I hope we don’t pair up with the Cardinals in the 1st round…we match up so much better against the NL West teams. Playing two games in STL then up to three at GABP would only favor the Cards since they are a much stronger home team.I say let WAS retake the NL lead and shoot for the Giants in a 5 game series. I think we have the advantage in that one since the Giants always suck at GABP and we have been Matt Cain’s kryptonite this year.

      If the WC game was Braves vs. Cards, you take the Cards?

    • @rfay00:

      I hope we don’t pair up with the Cardinals in the 1st round…we match up so much better against the NL West teams. Playing two games in STL then up to three at GABP would only favor the Cards since they are a much stronger home team.

      I say let WAS retake the NL lead and shoot for the Giants in a 5 game series. I think we have the advantage in that one since the Giants always suck at GABP and we have been Matt Cain’s kryptonite this year.

      How are the Cards a stronger home team than the Reds? The Reds are 42-24 at home. The Cards are 40-26.

    • I hope we don’t pair up with the Cardinals in the 1st round…we match up so much better against the NL West teams. Playing two games in STL then up to three at GABP would only favor the Cards since they are a much stronger home team.

      I say let WAS retake the NL lead and shoot for the Giants in a 5 game series. I think we have the advantage in that one since the Giants always suck at GABP and we have been Matt Cain’s kryptonite this year.

      I don’t think the Reds would play the Cards in the first round. Before the Wildcard change, the rule was that no two teams from the same division would play together in the first round. The team with the higher seed would just play the other 3rd or 4th seed. I assume it’s the same way now.

      • I don’t think the Reds would play the Cards in the first round. Before the Wildcard change, the rule was that no two teams from the same division would play together in the first round. The team with the higher seed would just play the other 3rd or 4th seed. I assume it’s the same way now.

        not true. top seed plays wild card, regardless of division ties …

  4. Given that we will start on the road no matter whom we play, it means Dusty is going to have a tough decision on the pitching rotation. Right now you have to think it would be:

    Cueto
    Homer
    Latos
    Bronson
    Cueto

    But what happens if we are playing the Cards? They “own” Latos, so do you put Leake in his place and hope?

  5. I’ve been watching both of these sites for about a month. Part of me wonders how Baseball Prospectus would have explained it if the Astros, who have been at 0.0% chance since day 1, had won the division. But the other part understands they wouldn’t explain it, since I’m the only nerd that would notice.

    Another thing I just noticed: Steve’s post is now out of date. The odds stood at 100% yesterday, but after adding last night’s win, the odds are down to 99.7%. I think I’m going to go to the bar tonight and ask my high school algebra teacher how that’s possible.

    • Another thing I just noticed: Steve’s post is now out of date. The odds stood at 100% yesterday, but after adding last night’s win, the odds are down to 99.7%. I think I’m going to go to the bar tonight and ask my high school algebra teacher how that’s possible.

      Here’s the update. We’re ‘down’ to 99.7% for the playoffs, but our odds of winning the division increased to over 95%. Yeah, that’s a head scratcher. We win, Cards lose, our odds of winning the division soar, yet our odds of making the playoffs decrease, if ever so small. Let me know what your high school algebra teacher says.

  6. @dn4192: Baker has a lot of important decisions to make in the postseason, with the rotation being one of them. Frazier’s playing time is the other. Baker has said, and I’ve seen this reported, that he’s deferred to Bryan Price on the pitching staff, so maybe Price will have that call. A lot will depend on how the pitchers finish this year. My guess is that Baker will find the standard operating procedure of pitching your best pitcher (Cueto) first, your second best (Latos) second and he’ll have Arroyo pitch third. He won’t factor in the nuances of Homer’s home/away split, or Latos’ record vs specific teams.

  7. @rfay00: Are you saying the Reds should INTENTIONALLY try for #2 instead of #1? Or simply that it might work out best for them?

    I completely disagree with the notion of picking one’s playoff opponent. It didn’t work for the Reds in 2010, and it often backfires on teams in every sport.

    • @rfay00: Are you saying the Reds should INTENTIONALLY try for #2 instead of #1? Or simply that it might work out best for them?

      I completely disagree with the notion of picking one’s playoff opponent. It didn’t work for the Reds in 2010, and it often backfires on teams in every sport.

      No, why would I want them to be 1st, but it would just work out better playing against the Giants/Dodgers versus the Cardinals. Even the Braves wouldn’t worry me since the Reds completely owned them during the season.

      • No, why wouldn’t I want them to be 1st, but it would just work out better playing against the Giants/Dodgers versus the Cardinals. Even the Braves wouldn’t worry me since the Reds completely owned them during the season.

        Messed that up…

  8. To this point I have seen and heard a lot of discussion regarding the benefit of playing the wildcard playin winner because wildcard winner’s #1 starter would be used for the playin game. This is almost categorically false. The season ends on 10/3 with the wildcard playin game scheduled for 10/5. No potential wildcard team is going to reserve their #1 starter for the playing game at the expense of potentially losing a regular season game by not pitching their #1 starter, unless the wildcard is locked up well in advance of the end of the season. losing. Based on the records of the teams vying for a wildcard slot, I don’t see this happening. The pitching rotations will be what they will be. Now the benefit to the devision winners to absolutely get their pitching rotations set is definitely an advantage.

    • To this point I have seen and heard a lot of discussion regarding the benefit of playing the wildcard playin winner because wildcard winner’s #1 starter would be used for the playin game. This is almost categorically false. The season ends on 10/3 with the wildcard playin game scheduled for 10/5. No potential wildcard team is going to reserve their #1 starter for the playing game at the expense of potentially losing a regular season game by not pitching their #1 starter, unless the wildcard is locked up well in advance of the end of the season. losing. Based on the records of the teams vying for a wildcard slot, I don’t see this happening. The pitching rotations will be what they will be. Now the benefit to the devision winners to absolutely get their pitching rotations set is definitely an advantage.

      I think it will all depend on when the WC teams clinch. I think if they clinch soon enough they will set up their rotation to start their “ACE” in that 1 game WC playoff, which if was say the Cards and Braves you have to think would be Wainwright vs. Tim Hudson, or if it’s Dodgers vs. Braves I would see Kershaw going for the Dodgers. If the teams are fighting till the end of the season then we will have to wait and see…

  9. @BloodyHo: But what if their rotation is at a point that the #1 starter is due anyway? I’ll agree that playing the wildcard team doesn’t necessarily mean their #1 guy is out, but you have a better chance of missing him than any of the other pitchers.

    @Steve Mancuso: I’m not really going to go. But depending on how long he’s been there, he’d say nothing for a good minute, then start asking questions about their algorithm (that I couldn’t answer), and say it’s not possible.

    Which is, of course, correct. If your odds are ever actually 100%, they couldn’t possibly drop.

  10. Here is a question to ponder..

    Lets say we get to those last 3 games vs. the Cards, we have clinched the Division but not first place overall, and the Cards must say win 2/3 to secure a wild card spot…how much effort do we put into those 3 games or do we rest key players for the playoffs?

  11. @royhobbs: I guess I wasn’t clear enough. The Cards are much stronger AT HOME than on the road. So the possibility of going down 0-2 in a series where the #1 seed hasn’t played at home yet is possible with the Cardinals.

    I was not comparing the Cardinals and Reds on their home records.

  12. @dn4192: I say keep the Cardinals out of the playoffs…plain and simple, there will be two days to rest waiting for the WC games and play in games to finish.

  13. With all the scheduled off days in September for the Reds, I don’t think we need to rest any position players. Aligning the pitching rotation will be more of a priority. The Reds have been saddled with a very severe schedule to this point and will reap the benefit of having already played two additional games when it comes to September.

  14. The only NL Team that should scare anyone is Washington and when you consider Strasburg is coming out, that shouldn’t be a huge deal either. Sure, the Cards beat the Reds this past weekend, but they did so with matchups that won’t be the case in the post-season and with no Joey Votto. You’re not going to have a Bailey vs. Wainwright scenario. It will be Cueto/Wainwright, Latos/Lohse, Arroyo/Garcia, etc.

    That said, anything can happen in a playoff series, but the Reds have already proven that they’re as good as the other playoff teams, if not better, except for Washington.

  15. Despite the likelyhood of the Reds finishing the regular season with the best record in MLB, I have absolutely no doubt that no matter who the Reds play in the post season, the Reds will be underdogs based on the assessment of the talking heads and networks.

    • Despite the likelyhood of the Reds finishing the regular season with the best record in MLB, I have absolutely no doubt that no matter who the Reds play in the post season, the Reds will be underdogs based on the assessment of the talking heads and networks.

      It’d be great how they spin it, with Reds being weak or strong depending on the point they want to make… “Well the Reds really benefited from playing the likes of the Cubs and Astros, meanwhile, a team like St. Louis had injuries and had to play the Reds etc…”

  16. So much talk about the Cardinals, has anyone heard any updates on the status of Yadier Molina? Is he expected to be back soon after being plowed over by a Pirates baserunner?

  17. @redsfanman: I hadn’t seen that. Nothing yet, but no concussion. I don’t like to see anyone get hurt but really, it couldn’t have happened to a better guy.

    • redsfanman
      8/29/2012 at 1:07 pm

      So much talk about the Cardinals, has anyone heard any updates on the status of Yadier Molina? Is he expected to be back soon after being plowed over by a Pirates baserunner?

      redsfanman
      8/29/2012 at 1:08 pm

      I hadn’t seen that. Nothing yet, but no concussion. I don’t like to see anyone get hurt but really, it couldn’t have happened to a better guy.

      Man, living in St. Louis as a Reds fan is brutal. Their message board on stltoday.com is still making a huge deal about the hit and they still talk about how the Reds are simply lucky and how they will fade over the next couple of years.

      People talk about Ohio State fans being fanatical and overbearing, sorry, that distinction goes to Cards fans. They are far worse than any fans I’ve dealt with because they are so arrogant. I would probably compare them to Patriot fans.

      • Their message board on stltoday.com is still making a huge deal about…

        You can’t judge a fanbase on what a few trolls say on an online newspaper discussion board. Have you ever read the comments under Fay’s blog. Now that’s brutal.

        • TC
          8/29/2012 at 1:28 pm

          You can’t judge a fanbase on what a few trolls say on an online newspaper discussion board. Have you ever read the comments under Fay’s blog. Now that’s brutal.

          I’m not. Trust me. Like I said, I live in St. Louis. I live, work, and go to church with these people. While I like them all as people, when it comes to objectivity about baseball, they don’t have the slightest bit. They always seem to be getting screwed when things aren’t going their way because they are always supposed to win and if anyone else is doing better than the Cards then it’s because the other team is lucky, which is incredibly ironic as their team last year was the textbook definition of lucky. They don’t seem to see that either.

        • TC
          8/29/2012 at 1:28 pm

          You can’t judge a fanbase on what a few trolls say on an online newspaper discussion board.Have you ever read the comments under Fay’s blog.Now that’s brutal.

          Also, CardsTalk is their main messageboard. If you want to go to talk about the Cards you go to stltoday.com and then go to the CardsTalk forum.

  18. Wonder what the Braves and Red Sox odds of making the playoffs were a year ago today

  19. @CSharpAJ: From the outside looking in, I can tell you there’s not a whole lot of difference. Except there are a lot more casual OSU fans. All anecdotal evidence, obviously.

  20. @dn4192: Leake’s last two starts against the Cardnials he gave up only 2 runs in each start, its an intresting idea.

  21. I don’t see the Reds getting too far in the playoffs, but I hope I am wrong.

    • I don’t see the Reds getting too far in the playoffs, but I hope I am wrong.

      I could possibly see them making some noise in the postseason IF they find a few guys at the top of the order. Between that and the return of Joey V could make this team formidable, provided the pitching holds up, of course.

      By the way, I got a note from a friend who watched the first game of the D-backs series with the D-backs’ TV announcers, and those guys were apparently commenting about how the Reds have been doing so well despite not being to find anybody to get on base at the top of the order? Find anybody??? That would imply that the Reds have been trying people there, but Dusty hasn’t looked. He’s obviously determined to use his guys. If the rest of the league only knew ….

  22. Saw this on a fantasy baseball site, for what it’s worth. If he needs a week to recover, I’ll try to get over it.

    —–

    Molina left Tuesday’s contest at Pittsburgh with an upper back, left shoulder, and neck strain, the Cardinals’ official site reports.

    Spin: While the Cardinals consider Molina’s status day-to-day, don’t be surprised if he misses at least a few games with the malady.

  23. When Votto returns, I’ll be surprised if Phillips isn’t leading off. With Ludwick as hot as he’s been, and being a righty, he fits nicely into that 4-spot. Then Cozart could bat 2nd and you could move Stubbs down to 7th.

  24. According to Baseball Reference, Johnny Cueto now has a WAR of 6.1. That’s higher than Justin Verlander and 2nd in the NL for ANY player, only .1 win shy of David Wright.

    He is just astonishing.

  25. The Reds can definitely make some noise in the playoffs, the NL is very weak. There isn’t much separation between the top 5 or 6 teams though, which is a positive/negative. I think people here are underestimating teams like the Giants. Facing Cain, Lincecum, and Bumgarner in a 5 game series in potentially cool weather will not be fun (well…we are so.starved for a playoff winner that us fans should have fun no matter what). And I think we will all be uneasy if the Reds have to go head to head versus the Cards or the Dodgers. Old rivalries die hard.

  26. I see three big problems for them:

    1) They will almost always be outmanaged. Whether it is lineup construction, wasting outs, or mismanaging relievers, it is usually a safe assumption that Dusty will be outmanaged on the field.

    2) Lack of plate discipline. The Reds have had an incredible string of red hot players the last 6 weeks, but in reality this is not a team that has many players able to work at bats and push pitching counts up. When the Reds struggle against a good pitcher on his game they have no plan B.

    3) After Cueto, most pitching match ups won’t favor us, which will be problematic in a short series.

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