2018 NL Wild Card

Today the Cubs play the Rockies in the NL Wild Card crap shoot game.  Rockies had to fly in from west coast.  Both teams lost their tie breaker.  Let’s handicap this game.

Playoff Horse Race

TeamID W-L Total Hitters Pitchers Starters Relief
CHN 27 35.7 16.4 19.3 8.0 11.3
COL 19 28.0 17.6 10.4 1.6 8.8

Today we’re only interested in the two teams playing.  The above table format summarizes  value for each team in each category according to this data model.  Pitchers are the sum of Starters and Relief, Total value is the sum of Pitchers and Hitters.

The above shows two fairly equal teams.  Cubs have better starters and slightly better relief but all that matters tonight is who starts.  Let’s hear from the people.

Ouija Board

DATE 10_02_8:05_PM COL CHN

LINEAWAY COL [ 0.452 ] < 0.444 > +125 $225
STARTAWAY 6.09(0.635) Kyle_Freeland_COL TIER 1
LINEHOME CHN [ 0.558 ] < 0.574 > -135 $174
STARTHOME 3.19(0.579) Jon_Lester_CHN TIER 2


COL Lineup 1 ==> CHN Starter 2 / Relief 2 == 0.541 COL 4.59 runs
CHN Lineup 2 ==> COL Starter 1 / Relief 3 == 0.459 CHN 4.18 runs

COL    122 98
CHN    80 98

Kyle Freeland is a top top tier 1 pitcher.  Colorado had a better lineup (according to yesterday) but the Cubs have better relief.  There is an issue with relief.  The above is based upon most of the league having expanded rosters but playoff rosters are back to 25.  It is unclear how this affects simulations because they’re based on deltas between two teams, not hard boundaries.  I may have to take an end of August snapshot of 25 man rosters and use that for these playoffs.  Most likely/hopefully it has a negligible effect so KISS rule applies.

Since TC simulations have Colorado favored and the lines are the opposite, the Expected Value for TC simulations is $122 on a $100 bet making COL a betting opportunity.  deltaWAA does not apply to playoff season.

Home field advantage does however as well as other issues that we know that can’t be modeled mathematically.  How much will jet lag affect Colorado’s lineup?  And that they had to make long flights two days in a row.  Kyle Freeland is also pitching on 3 days rest.  That can’t be modeled mathematically either.  Home field advantage historically is 54% home,, 46% away not knowing anything about the two teams playing.

All of these unknown factors will push what we think the probabilities should be for this game towards the Cubs which lowers EV for Colorado.  How much?  Don’t know.  Probably put it well under 120 however.

Don’t have current lineups yet so we’ll skip that for now.  AL Wild Card tomorrow and if the Cubs lose then …. maybe take a break.  Until then ….

Update 10/2/2018 5:34 CST:  We now have lineups so you can see the disparity in hitting tonight.

COL Lineup

WAA Name_TeamID Pos PA 10022018
3.19 Charlie_Blackmon_COL CF 696
2.06 DJ_LeMahieu_COL 2B 581
6.36 Nolan_Arenado_COL 3B 673
4.89 Trevor_Story_COL SS 656
-0.92 Matt_Holliday_COL LF 65
3.04 Ian_Desmond_COL 1B-LF 619
1.81 David_Dahl_COL LF-RF 271
-1.05 Chris_Iannetta_COL CR 360
-0.97 Kyle_Freeland_COL PR 71
Total WAA=18.42 PA=3992 WinPct=0.589

Definitely top of MLB Tier 1 lineup but only fifth among the 10 remaining teams.  There are so many top 100 and 200 hitters in their lineup I’ll skip coloring them.

CHN Lineup

WAA Name_TeamID Pos PA 10022018
1.05 Ben_Zobrist_CHN 2B-RF-LF 520
1.05 Kris_Bryant_CHN 3B-RF-LF 457
2.94 Anthony_Rizzo_CHN 1B 665
7.29 Javier_Baez_CHN 2B-SS-3B 645
-0.29 Albert_Almora_CHN CF 479
0.42 Daniel_Murphy_CHN 2B-1B 351
-1.70 Willson_Contreras_CHN CR 544
1.01 David_Bote_CHN 3B-2B 210
-0.15 Jon_Lester_CHN PR 65
Total WAA=11.61 PA=3936 WinPct=0.557

This is a solid Tier 2 lineup.  The Tier 1/2 border is +15.29.  This is the weakest lineup of all 10 teams in post season.  Playoff season brings out the best.  We’ll see how this plays out tonight.