Cubs Orioles Matchup

Today the Cubs face Orioles in Baltimore to start the second half of the 2017 season.  Here’s what the Ouija Board thinks about today (4pm snapshot).

DATE 07_14 7:05_PM Jul_14_16:12 CHN BAL
LINEAWAY CHN [ 0.498 ] < 0.515 >
STARTAWAY 1.01(0.565) Mike_Montgomery_CHN
LINEHOME BAL [ 0.526 ] < 0.510 >
STARTHOME -3.32(0.346) Kevin_Gausman_BAL

Maddon could have chosen any starter today and he chose Montgomery who is, according to this data model, still the best starter they have right now.   Kevin Gausman is a very bad pitcher this year yet Baltimore is leading him off in the second half.  Let’s take a look at Kevin’s career.

Year WAA Name_TeamID Pos Rank
2013 -2.0 Kevin_Gausman_BAL PITCH -121-
2014 0.4 Kevin_Gausman_BAL PITCH XXXXX
2015 -0.7 Kevin_Gausman_BAL PITCH XXXXX
2016 2.6 Kevin_Gausman_BAL PITCH +128+
2017 -3.3 Kevin_Gausman_BAL PITCH -011-
Total -3.0

Interesting choice.  Perhaps this is a way of showing confidence to get him to pitch like last year.  Right now the lines are virtually even steven, no one has home field advantage or away field disadvantage.  Starting pitching clearly favors CHN and normal away field disadvantage is 0.460 so the Cubs are getting a premium today.   Let’s look at team status for BAL.

BAT PITCH Rs Ra W L UR LR TeamID
-19.4 -60.3 392 470 42 46 2.7 -1.1 BAL

If you ran Pythagorean Expectation on this run differential BAL should be way lower than -4 in the win/loss column.  Regardless, the commissioner of MLB only cares about the W and L columns.  That pitching is pretty horrible.

Let’s look at tonight’s lineups.

WAA Name_TeamID Pos PA 07142017
-1.18 Ben_Zobrist_CHN LF 239
0.86 Kris_Bryant_CHN 3B 363
1.66 Anthony_Rizzo_CHN 1B 386
0.48 Willson_Contreras_CHN C 278
-0.44 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN DH 277
0.99 Ian_Happ_CHN CF 203
-0.10 Jason_Heyward_CHN RF 234
0.25 Javier_Baez_CHN 2B 262
-0.17 Addison_Russell_CHN SS 283
TOTAL WAA=2.35 PA=2525 WinPct=0.518

Cubs still fielding a slightly above average lineup.  Rizzo is the only standout hitter but Bryant and Happ have been climbing.  Last year Rizzo was around +3.5 at this point in the season.  That doesn’t matter.  What matters is the rest of the season and past results, as shown above, do not affect future results.

WAA Name_TeamID Pos PA 07142017
-0.32 Adam_Jones_BAL CF 352
-0.32 Manny_Machado_BAL 3B 365
1.89 Jonathan_Schoop_BAL 2B 352
0.73 Mark_Trumbo_BAL DH 377
-0.04 Chris_Davis_BAL 1B 250
0.78 Trey_Mancini_BAL LF 280
-0.36 Welington_Castillo_BAL C 205
-1.01 Joey_Rickard_BAL RF 160
-0.38 Ruben_Tejada_BAL SS 65
TOTAL WAA=0.99 PA=2406 WinPct=0.508

Baltimore has an almost even steven average lineup too.  Jonathan Schoop is their only standout hitter.

Let’s look at relief.

TeamID WAA IP WinPct
CHN 7.35 310 est 0.597
BAL 1.18 342.8 0.515

Cubs relief has been stellar all season and they’re in the top 3 behind the Dodgers and Indians in MLB.  They kept this team in the NL Central race the first half.  Hopefully the rest of the team finishes the job in the second half.   BAL has above average relief which will be better than their below average starter pitching today.

Lineups are equal and the Cubs have a better starting pitcher which is why they’re getting a premium from the Ouija Board.  The market doesn’t seem as out of whack as the last home stand with Pittsburgh where Lester was getting 0.667 or 2/3 chance of winning with Jameson Taillon starting for PIT who had a WAA=+2.37.  Even with a very above average Nova pitching the Cubs bettors were forced to payout 2-1.   Today seems reasonable.  Maybe it’s because an away game doesn’t bring out irrational exuberance like a home game.

Good luck Cubbies and let’s hope hope hope for a wild second half.