NLCS Game 5

Looks like the Cubs kept from being swept.  They need 3 more wins in a row.  If every game is even steven, 50/50, their chances of advancing to the World Series is:

P(Cubs win NLCS)  = 1/2 * 1/2 * 1/2 = 1/8

Not every game will be a 50/50 matchup.  Here are lines for tonight’s game.

DATE 10_19 8:00_PM LAN CHN
LINEAWAY LAN [ 0.600 ] < 0.608 >
STARTAWAY 8.27(0.713) Clayton_Kershaw_LAN
LINEHOME CHN [ 0.417 ] < 0.408 >
STARTHOME 0.88(0.521) Jose_Quintana_TOT
LAN 104 58 CHN 92 70

If this were a regular season game LAN would have a 63.1% chance just from the win/loss records between the two teams.  We would deviate from there.  According to our studies, the regular season deltaWAA table does not apply to the playoff season.

If playoff Clayton Kershaw comes out to pitch tonight like he did in NLCS  Game 6 last year this becomes a 50/50 game or the Cubs could even be favored.   Right now we can’t make any assumptions other than using regular season numbers.  CC Sabathia, a playoff problem pitcher, has pitched well for NYA in the playoffs so far this year as well as Masahiro Tanaka who had a bad regular season.  Lester is pitching far better than his regular season numbers.  Lester has a very positive history in the playoff season.

Rank WAA IP ERA Gs Gr Name_TeamID Pos
+023+ 2.79 133.3 2.63 19 5 Jon_Lester_TOT PITCH

The above doesn’t include his data for the playoffs this year.  In December when we get the 2017 playoff data Lester should rise a few notches from rank #23 of all players in the playoffs since 1903.  Past results don’t affect future results.  Past results can  only show capability.

With the disparity between these two starters, the Ouija Board looks right where our simulation would end up had we finished the code.  This will be an off season work in progress and maybe we’ll show some study results every now and then.  If the Cubs win tonight we’ll be back doing this Saturday, and if not, Oh well.  Until then….

ALCS Game 4

Yankees are now tied 2-2 with the Astros in ALCS and today is game 4 of that series.  Here is what the Ouija Board says:

DATE 10_18 5:00_PM HOU NYA
LINEAWAY HOU [ 0.545 ] < 0.519 >
STARTAWAY 4.87(0.650) Dallas_Keuchel_HOU
LINEHOME NYA [ 0.476 ] < 0.505 >
STARTHOME -1.72(0.457) Masahiro_Tanaka_NYA

As we mentioned before in ALCS game 1 Masahiro Tanaka has a solid career in MLB and Japan Pacific League but not so good this year.  Tanaka pitched well in game 1 as well as Keuchel.  Both NYA and HOU have Tier 1 lineups.  Today HOU has a starter advantage looking at raw numbers and NYA has a clear relief advantage.  HOU relief lost them game 3 yesterday and from our value chart they were tied with MIN for worst relief of all 10 teams in the 2017 playoffs.

This looks like an even steven game which is where the betting market is right now.  If you think Tanaka will pitch like last season Tanaka then NYA are clear favorites based on the disparity in relief value between the two teams.

Anyway, that is all for today.  Cubs are down 0-3 and it’s very rare a team ever comes back from that in a seven game series in any sport.  The Cubs may play to win one for Joe today or they may want to let this series end tonight and put us out of our misery.  Here is their current line.

DATE 10_18 9:00_PM LAN CHN
LINEAWAY LAN [ 0.495 ] < 0.524 >
STARTAWAY 5.77(0.671) Alex_Wood_LAN
LINEHOME CHN [ 0.528 ] < 0.524 >
STARTHOME 3.17(0.585) Jake_Arrieta_CHN

Even the line doesn’t know how to bet this game.   As someone said at the local pub last night, after NLDS game 5 the Cubs are playing on House money.  We have nothing to be sad about.

This blog may go silent for awhile.  There’s a lot of code to write and finish for next season.  Until then….

NLCS Game 3

This is a must win game for the Cubs and here is what the Ouija Board says.

DATE 10_17 9:00_PM LAN CHN
LINEAWAY LAN [ 0.483 ] < 0.502 >
STARTAWAY 2.16(0.552) Yu_Darvish_TOT
LINEHOME CHN [ 0.539 ] < 0.522 >
STARTHOME 4.26(0.637) Kyle_Hendricks_CHN

The markets are calling this a 50/50 game with  Cubs bettors paying the juice.  Hendricks is a better pitcher than Darvish.  Let’s look at a bigger value table.

TeamID Hitters Pitchers Starters Relief Total W-L
WAS 22.21 32.34 21.09 11.25 54.55 32
NYA 23.76 27.71 11.05 16.66 51.47 20
CLE 19.30 28.61 17.35 11.26 47.91 42
HOU 25.58 20.83 17.85 2.98 46.41 40
LAN 10.42 31.72 19.90 11.82 42.14 46
ARI 15.99 24.49 15.98 8.51 40.48 24
CHN 18.85 19.74 7.41 12.33 38.59 22
COL 19.80 7.53 -0.11 7.64 27.33 12
BOS 7.56 19.71 8.69 11.02 27.27 24
MIN 9.41 -4.08 -6.51 2.43 5.33 8

Above is the value table of all 10 playoff teams using current rosters to provide some context.  The Yankees made some deals before the trade deadline that  boosted their team.  It doesn’t matter what the regular season win/loss says now, what matters is the current talent on each playoff roster.  The above table is sorted by team total value according to this data model.

The Cubs have a better lineup than LAN and a better starter on the mound tonight.  Relief is about the same.  The Cubs should be favored more than 0.522 but we can’t tell how much right now.   The best teams usually end up in the playoffs and we don’t have this handicapping model ready to discern between all these high Tiers each team has.   Eyeballing this I would guess the Cubs may be around 56% with the pitchers and lineup advantage.  There is also home field advantage that could push things towards the Cubs but we haven’t event figured out how to factor that in either.

That’s all I can write about this game.  We have been doing this all season and hopefully by next season we’ll have a very good and proven handicapping model in place.  The Cubs need to win at least two out of three at home and Hendricks is their best regular season pitcher.  Like last year when they were down 1-3,  take it one game at a time.  This year at least one of the final games will be in LA.

ALCS Game 3

I’m reaching the point of burn out with the Cubs down 0-2 in NLCS and there aren’t many betting opportunities in the playoffs.  Betting opportunities only occur when there is irrational exuberance based upon fans wanting their team to win thus pushing the line away from its true probability.  The Yankees have not been given respect in these playoffs.  They play tonight so let’s look at what the Ouija Board says.

DATE 10_16 8:05_PM HOU NYA
LINEAWAY HOU [ 0.465 ] < 0.444 >
STARTAWAY 2.46(0.575) Charlie_Morton_HOU
LINEHOME NYA [ 0.556 ] < 0.574 >
STARTHOME 2.21(0.567) CC_Sabathia_NYA
HOU 101 61 NYA 91 71

Today both pitchers, same tier, and each starting lineup is Tier 1.  Below is the value chart again.

TeamID Hitters Pitchers Starters Relief Total W-L
NYA 23.76 27.71 11.05 16.66 51.47 20
HOU 25.58 20.83 17.85 2.98 46.41 40
LAN 12.18 33.80 19.90 13.90 45.98 46
CHN 18.85 20.93 7.41 13.52 39.78 22

Since the lineup-starter combo pairs are identical that makes this a 50/50 game or flip of a coin.  The Yankees have the best relief squad in MLB (if we listed all 30 teams).   Although slightly above average, HOU relief may be Tier 4.  This should push the line in the Yankees favor.

We won’t finish lineup-relief tables until off season.  Relief pitching typically represents 1/3 of each baseball game.   Normally relief squads aren’t that far apart.  The Dodgers and Cubs have similar valued relief squads.

There is one other wild card in this game, CC Sabathia, a pitcher who has been around for a very long time.  Here is his post season numbers.

Rank WAA IP ERA Gs Gr Name_TeamID Pos
-013- -2.50 107.3 4.53 18 4 CC_Sabathia_TOT PITCH

He’s ranked #13 in the bottom 200 of all players in the playoff season dating back to 1903.  He pitched well against Cleveland and NYA have the relievers to back him up.  Houston has a Tier 1 lineup and the above shows a Tier 5 pitcher in the playoffs.  If the Yankees lineup get into HOU relief the Astros will be in trouble.

If this is a even steven, flip of a coin game then HOU is under valued at 0.444 because our expected probability is 0.500 (for argument sake).  We typically want a margin between .07 to .10 to compensate for any errors and this wouldn’t quite cut it but it’s close.

That is all for now.  Until then….

NLCS Game 1

Cubs play the Dodgers in LA tonight.  Just when we thought we were done  looking at Larry King’s mug last year in the NLCS, we may suffer that fate once again.  The Cubs have a worse team than last year, the Dodgers have a better team, and the Cubs  barely won NLCS last year.   Fortunately for the Cubs,  MLB forces them to play the games and not determine who wins based upon a computer simulation.

Here are the value numbers for all 4 teams left in the playoffs.

TeamID Hitters Pitchers Starters Relief Total W-L
NYA 23.76 27.71 11.05 16.66 51.47 20
HOU 25.58 20.83 17.85 2.98 46.41 40
LAN 12.18 33.80 19.90 13.90 45.98 46
CHN 18.85 20.93 7.41 13.52 39.78 22

This is the same table we compiled for our playoff horse race series which show the total WAA for each category.  Relief and Starters add to make Pitchers.  Pitchers and Hitters add to make Total.  The W-L column represents real wins and losses for the regular season which doesn’t matter anymore.

LAN will field a Tier 2 lineup throughout the playoffs.  The Cubs also have a Tier 2 lineup.  According to the above the Cubs’ have slightly better hitting even though both teams are in the same set we use for lineup-starter combo pairs.  The Cubs have the least overall value of the 4 teams left but they accrued most all of that value since All Star break.  The Dodgers flat lined the last bunch of weeks in the season.   That doesn’t matter in our analysis.  It’s just something to consider if you’re applying ifs ands or buts to your handicapping — which we don’t.

Anyway, here’s what the betting markets (aka Ouija Board) has to say about tonight’s probabilities.

DATE 10_14 8:05_PM CHN LAN
LINEAWAY CHN [ 0.385 ] < 0.351 >
STARTAWAY 0.88(0.521) Jose_Quintana_TOT
LINEHOME LAN [ 0.643 ] < 0.672 >
STARTHOME 8.27(0.713) Clayton_Kershaw_LAN
CHN 92 70 LAN 104 58

LAN is favored by over 2-1 tonight which is a huge premium Dodger bettors must pay. The Cubs have lots of problems.  Out of service pitchers, had to fly from Washington to LA with a flight diversion.

The Cubs also have big problems with starting pitching these first two games.  Quintana pitched 2 outs in game 5 two days ago.  Hendricks is out.  Lester is out.  Wade Davis is probably out.  Arrieta out.  That leaves John Lackey who has this playoff record.

Rank WAA IP ERA Gs Gr Name_TeamID Pos
XXXXX 0.84 140.3 3.27 23 6 John_Lackey_TOT PITCH  playoffs

Over 140 innings pitched and he’s unranked but above average.  If he could pitch above average tonight or tomorrow that should be perfectly acceptable.  Lackey hasn’t had a good season this year so who knows.  The upside is he pitches OK, the downside is he loses game 1 or 2 completely.  This situation is better than losing game 5 in the NLDS.  It’s unclear how long Quintana can pitch tonight.  This is his moment to shine however so maybe he’ll surprise us.

Quintana is considered Tier 3 and Kershaw Tier 1.  We have these two lineup-starter combo pairs.

  1. 2-1  Tier 2 CHN lineup vs. Tier 1 LAN starter —> 4.3 runs for CHN
  2. 2-3  Tier 2 LAN lineup vs. Tier 3 CHN starter —> 4.9 runs for LAN

The above can be simulated to generate a Win% but we haven’t finished that yet.  The above two pairs do not warrant a 0.671 probability according to the LAN line in the Ouija Board.   LAN has far better relief than the Cubs so that would boost them as well.  In order to bet the LAN line you would need an expected probability greater than 75% chance of winning tonight for the bet to not be considered gambling.  There are a lot of external factors crippling the Cubs in this game but we can’t measure those.

There is an external factor in this game that affects LAN however.  There are two Clayton Kershaws;  regular season HOF Clayton Kershaw, and his doppelganger, playoff Clayton Kershaw.  Below is playoff Clayton Kershaw’s record in the playoff season.

Rank WAA IP ERA Gs Gr Name_TeamID Pos
-030- -1.91 89.0 4.45 14 4 Clayton_Kershaw_LAN PITCH  playoffs

Ouch!  89 innings pitched and he’s ranked #30 in the bottom 200 of the playoff season which covers every player since 1903.   Kershaw pitched lights out game 1 last NLCS but faltered in game 6 allowing the Cubs to advance to the World Series.  We will forever be grateful to playoff Clayton Kershaw.

For the record, below is regular season future unanimous ballot HOF Clayton Kershaw.

Year WAA Name_TeamID Pos Rank
2008 0.1 Clayton_Kershaw_LAN PITCH XXXXX
2009 5.8 Clayton_Kershaw_LAN PITCH +027+
2010 5.6 Clayton_Kershaw_LAN PITCH +029+
2011 9.3 Clayton_Kershaw_LAN PITCH +002+
2012 7.8 Clayton_Kershaw_LAN PITCH +005+
2013 11.3 Clayton_Kershaw_LAN PITCH +001+
2014 9.0 Clayton_Kershaw_LAN PITCH +001+
2015 10.0 Clayton_Kershaw_LAN PITCH +003+
2016 8.6 Clayton_Kershaw_LAN PITCH +003+
2017 8.3 Clayton_Kershaw_LAN PITCH +006+
Total 75.8

Tonight we’ll see.   CHN almost could be a betting opportunity but we haven’t factored in LAN’s relief advantage which is even bigger based upon the Cubs having many relievers out of service from game 5 NLDS.   Quintana is starting on short rest.   We recommend the CHN line of 0.351 to be a discard as well.