Tonight the Cubs play the Nationals in Washington to start the NLDS. Let’s look at each team’s status for the year.
Each team balanced between BAT and PITCH. Washington was +32 compared to the Cubs’ +22 which gives them home field advantage. Washington has decent UR and the Cubs have climbed back from a -10 UR deficit early in the season. Let’s see what the betting market (Ouija Board) thinks.
DATE 10_06 7:30_PM CHN WAS
LINEAWAY CHN [ 0.391 ] < 0.417 >
STARTAWAY 4.26(0.637) Kyle_Hendricks_CHN
LINEHOME WAS [ 0.617 ] < 0.600 >
STARTHOME 7.46(0.691) Stephen_Strasburg_WAS
Strasburg is Tier 1, Hendricks Tier 2. The Cubs are underdogs tonight with a 41.7% chance of winning. If you want to bet WAS you must think they have a greater than 60% chance of winning. We’ll look at lineups later. Let’s look at the starters each team will throw at this problem.
Hendricks and Arrieta are the only ranked starters.
Although Lackey and Lester had sub par seasons, their post season record is stellar. Each almost pitched a complete season in the playoffs during their careers. This kind of experience is valuable. Hendricks has pitched very well in the playoffs too.
Outstanding starting pitching. They only need 3 starters in a 5 game series. Perhaps Dusty isn’t starting Scherzer because of this.
None of the other WAS pitchers have much post season experience.
Let’s look at lineups tonight.
Cubs lineup has improved significantly since All Star break but it’s still considered Tier 2.
This is a Tier 1 lineup. The Nationals have a Tier 1 starter with a Tier 1 lineup playing at home. You can’t get any higher than that. Cubs have a Tier 2 starter and a Tier 2 lineup. Normally this is very good but this is the playoffs where the best teams end up. Let’s look at the two lineup-starter combo pairs.
- 2-1 Tier 2 CHN lineup vs. Tier 1 WAS starter
- 1-2 Tier 1 WAS lineup vs. Tier 2 CHN starter
If we go to our run lookup table published here, pair 1 yields 4.3 runs for the Cubs, pair 2 yields 4.7 runs for WAS. We could simulate this using the real distributions and get a Win%. This is a rather close spread. I guesstimate WAS would be around 55-57% favorites which is under their current line. This would give the Cubs 43%-45% which is above their line of 41.7% but not enough. We need a decent margin on the house to compensate for any errors.
tl;dr Both lines a discard, do not bet this game.
Note: In theory you could add 4.3 + 4.7 = 9 and think that will be an average number of runs scored tonight. The over/under for this game is 7.5 runs. Our run based lineup-starter combo table uses regular season data. Teams score more runs per game in regular season than post season so these two values are high. They are valid figures to use in simulation however. The regular season dataset is far deeper than post season.
Let’s look at relievers on the playoff roster because sometimes that can tip things one way or the other (but not enough for today).
Cubs relief struggled second half compared to first half but this is pretty good. When we do playoff horse race again the above number will be put into perspective with the other 7 teams.
The National front office were busy beavers at the trade deadline and shored up a relief squad that was their Achilles heel earlier in the season when the Cubs first played them. The names in tan are acquisitions. This report lists each team a player played for separately but they are ranked according to their sum of WAAs. We might rework this report later but for now it is what it is.
That is all for now. We might just do a playoff horse race analysis post to cover the other two matchups in NLDS and ALDS now that we have all the playoff rosters. That table will put all 8 teams into perspective.