Tag Archives: nlds playoffs

2008 Chicago Cubs

It has been over a month since the last post.  Now that NFL is done pitchers and catchers report to Spring training soon.  When pre season starts we’ll take a look at the new guys on both Cubs and White Sox.   Not a big fan of following pre-season but this model has minor leagues covered back to A+ league.

The last month was spent moving this entire data model into mysql and sqlite databases for the baseball-handbook.com site which will allow people to explore any player, any team, any season since the year 1900 like this log book covers the Cubs.  Many scripts had to be rewritten to do sql lookups.   The prototype web interface coming in April will require those scripts  to be rewritten again in php and then in java for the app.

We’re also getting more detailed box scores on a daily basis for current season  from mlb.com which will be used to better estimate rosters and hopefully have a more accurate evaluation of relief.  We know exactly who is starting and the lineup for each game.  Relief however relies on our source for rosters which can lag a day or two.   More on this later.

In December the 1919 World Series was covered  day by day giving me a chance to test and improve scripts that query the post season data set and to test various formats to improve presentation.  The purpose behind baseball handbook is to allow users to easily navigate players, teams, and seasons while not overloading them with lots of unnecessary and sometimes deceptive numbers.

It took 9 days to cover the 1919 World Series.  Today we’ll cover the entire 2008 divisional series between LAN and CHN — which only lasted three games.   What made this series memorable to me was what happened in the 5th inning of game 1 with the Cubs up 2-0.  Here is an event dump of that inning with Ryan Dempster on the mound.

Inning Code Teamid playerid Count Pitches Play String Event
5:0:1:9:1 LAN lowed001 22 BCFBX 63/G OUT
5:0:2:1:1 LAN furcr001 31 BBBCB W WALK
5:0:3:2:2 LAN martr004 31 1BBBCX 9/F OUT
5:0:4:3:2 LAN ramim002 32 FSBFBB>B W.1-2 WALK
5:0:5:4:2 LAN ethia001 31 *BFBBB W.2-3;1-2 WALK
5:0:6:5:2 LAN lonej001 12 SSFBX HR/8/F.3-H;2-H;1-H HOME_RUN

The above presentation is also a work in progress.  Playerid is a retrosheet.org id which represents a key to a batter.  The player lonej001, who hit this grand slam to put Dodgers up 4-2 with a single swing of a bat,  is one Jim Loney, Dodgers’ first baseman.

I listened to Pat Hughes and Ron Santo call this inning.  Santo starts to groan after the third walk like he usually did when the Cubs faltered.  When Loney hit that grand slam my radio went dead silent for a very long time, long enough where I had to check to see if it was still on.  This meant not only Pat and Ron were speechless, the entire crowd at Wrigley was also.

At this moment in the 5th inning of Game 1 only down 2 runs, we knew the Cubs weren’t going to beat the Dodgers even after finishing 2008 with the best record in National League.   Most Cubs fans have been through this before and know the script — which played out exactly as expected.

Let’s drill down into this series because seasonal numbers like wins/losses and run differential can be deceptive.  Although the MLB commish places teams in post season based on team WAA (wins – loss), after that he makes them play each other.

2008 CHN Monthly

20080501 6 42.8 3.8 0.9
20080601 15 63.9 25.3 -0.6
20080701 16 70.3 21.3 4.6
20080801 20 74.2 43.4 5.6
20080901 32 105.2 66.2 11.2
2008 33 97.6 69 12.8

The above shows Cubs had a tremendous +12 August then flat lined through the month of September finishing 97-34.  Both BAT and PITCH near top of MLB good. These are seasonal numbers however.  Here are the Dodgers.

2008 LAN Monthly

20080501 2 12.8 19.8 -1.1
20080601 -2 -11.1 17.3 -2.6
20080701 -5 -42.7 39.3 1.6
20080801 -1 -52.8 66.4 3.6
20080901 -2 -65.6 70.2 1.2
2008 6 -52.3 102 3.8

Dodgers under water with BAT but extremely good PITCH.  Somehow they win the NL West with only 84 wins by going +8 in September.  It helped they acquired this guy from Boston.

Manny Ramirez 2008

DateID Rank WAA Teamid
20080501 +044+ 1.32 BOS
20080601 +032+ 2.33 BOS
20080701 +029+ 3.13 BOS
20080801 +023+ 4.22 LAN
20080901 +015+ 5.90 LAN
2008 +010+ 7.46 LAN

I don’t remember why Boston sent Ramirez to LA since they were also playoff contenders.  He was a big reason LAN went +8 in September and why the Cubs lost in three games.  I recall watching Ramirez run around the bases in LA with a genuine smile on his face like a kid having fun playing baseball in little league.

2008 Playoff Horse Race

TeamID W-L Total Hitters Starters Relief UR
BOS 28 46.06 21.31 12.22 12.53 9.5
CHN 33 43.26 21.09 16.06 6.11 11.5
PHI 22 35.55 15.92 6.55 13.08 3.5
ANA 38 32.4 10.2 10.42 11.78 5.5
LAN 6 28.94 8.01 13.31 7.62 1.5
TBA 32 22.78 1.09 8.6 13.09 5.5
CHA 15 21.37 9.66 7.26 4.45 -12.5
MIL 18 14.42 3.83 8.56 2.03 -7.5

Playoff Horse Race tables are sorted by the Total value of a team’s roster based upon this data model.  The W-L column is their real team WAA (wins – losses).  Although Anaheim had the best record in baseball, Boston had the best set of hitters, starters, and relief.  Boston takes care of Anaheim in 4 and then loses to Tampa in 7 games.  After the Dodgers beat Cubs they lose to the Phillies who end up winning the World Series.  Had the Phillies played Boston the outcome of that World Series could have been different.

Below are game summaries for the three games Cubs lost to Dodgers in 2008 divisional series (dv).  Presentation of this is still a work in progress but most of the elements for this level of report are present.  L, S, and R columns show tier numbers for Lineup, Starter, and Relief.

Relief is constant throughout a series for each team and lineups are almost constant.  Cubs lineup went from tier 2.41 in the first game to almost tier 3 in the third game.  Lineups change because managers start different players for various reasons.  Dodgers lineup below varied from tier 1.3 to tier 1.4 which isn’t much.  LAN relief was around 1/2 tier better which would be consistent with their excellent PITCH shown in team monthly above.

Every tier = 2 is one complete standard deviation above league average.  League averages are based on end of August rosters for that year using end of year data.  Expansion in September cause shifts away from a true league average.

Cubs fielded a better lineup each day and a better starter in games 1 and 3.  With Zambrano on the mount in game 2 Dodgers might have been favored that game.  Tier numbers are entered into simulation but the simulator for post season is different from regular season and hasn’t been completed yet.

GAME 1 dv 20081001 — LAN CHN

Teamid L S R Line Runs Starter
LAN 1.39 2.79 1.26 000040111 7 Derek_Lowe
CHN 2.41 3.49 0.78 020000000 2 Ryan_Dempster

GAME 2 dv 20081002 — LAN CHN

Teamid L S R Line Runs Starter
LAN 1.3 2.93 1.26 050010121 10 Chad_Billingsley
CHN 2.79 0.74 0.78 000000102 3 Carlos_Zambrano

GAME 3 dv 20081004 — CHN LAN

Teamid L S R Line Runs Starter
CHN 2.95 4.27 0.78 000000010 1 Rich_Harden
LAN 1.33 1.18 1.26 20001000 3 Hiroki_Kuroda
end of pogames

That is all for this chapter in post season history.  More coming soon.  Until then ….

NLDS Game 5

We covered rosters and lineups for all teams in these two NLDS Game 5s today so let’s just look at the game tables for today.

WAS LAN 10_09_8:37_PM

WAA Vegas TC Sim EV L S R
WAS 24 0.392 0.412 105 1.38 2.86 -0.17
LAN 50 0.630 0.588 93 2.29 2.50 3.06

Vegas has Dodgers favored a little more than TC Sim.  ELO has LAN 59% favorites, exactly what TC Sim calculated.  If home field advantage was incorporated TC Sim would move towards the 63% what Vegas predicts.

Starters WAA WinPct IP Tier
Stephen_Strasburg_WAS 5.88 0.627 209.0 2.86
Walker_Buehler_LAN 5.27 0.630 182.3 2.50

Starters around equal although WAR ranks Strasburg #15 and Buehler #187.

SLN ATL 10_09_5:02_PM

WAA Vegas TC Sim EV L S R
SLN 20 0.512 0.478 93 -1.33 4.00 1.95
ATL 32 0.512 0.522 102 1.22 -0.64 2.42

Vegas is at a don’t know flip a coin for this game.  TC Sim agrees.  According to where Vegas data comes from that line started out around 3-1 in favor of ATL and moved to even steven.  That could be an error in Vegas data source however.  Errors are not exclusive to this log book.  🙂

Starters WAA WinPct IP Tier
Jack_Flaherty_SLN 8.04 0.684 196.3 4.00
Mike_Foltynewicz_ATL -0.15 0.494 117.0 -0.64

This model has Flaherty ranked #7 in MLB, WAR has him #21.   Both models have Foltynewicz unranked so SLN has a very large advantage in pitching which makes up for their large disadvantage in hitting.

That’s all for now.  Unbelievably Houston has to play a game 5 tomorrow.  With a rotation consisting of 3 starters in  top ten and a top of MLB lineup proves that no one can predict the future — unless you’re from the future.  Houston handicapping tomorrow and then we’re on to ALCS and NLCS.  Until then ….

Cubs Nationals NLDS

Tonight the Cubs play the Nationals in Washington to start the NLDS.  Let’s look at each team’s status for the year.

67.8 61.1 822 695 92 70 -3.3 1.4 CHN
71.8 73.1 819 672 97 65 6.7 -5.6 WAS

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.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+047+ 4.26 Kyle_Hendricks_CHN PITCH
+094+ 3.17 Jake_Arrieta_CHN PITCH
XXXXX 1.18 Jose_Quintana_CHN PITCH
XXXXX 0.00 Jon_Lester_CHN PITCH
XXXXX -0.19 Jose_Quintana_CHA PITCH
XXXXX -1.01 John_Lackey_CHN PITCH
Total 7.41

Hendricks and Arrieta are the only ranked starters.

Rank WAA IP ERA Gs Gr Name_TeamID Pos
+023+ 2.79 133.3 2.63 19 5 Jon_Lester_TOT PITCH  playoffs
XXXXX 0.90 34.0 2.38 7 1 Kyle_Hendricks_CHN PITCH  playoffs
XXXXX 0.84 140.3 3.27 23 6 John_Lackey_TOT PITCH  playoffs
XXXXX -0.10 42.0 3.64 7 1 Jake_Arrieta_CHN PITCH  playoffs

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.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+004+ 8.55 Max_Scherzer_WAS PITCH
+008+ 7.46 Stephen_Strasburg_WAS PITCH
+014+ 6.47 Gio_Gonzalez_WAS PITCH
XXXXX -1.39 Tanner_Roark_WAS PITCH
Total 21.09

Outstanding starting pitching.  They only need 3 starters in a 5 game series.  Perhaps Dusty isn’t starting Scherzer because of this.

Rank WAA IP ERA Gs Gr Name_TeamID Pos
XXXXX -0.36 74.7 3.74 12 4 Max_Scherzer_TOT PITCH  playoffs

None of the other WAS pitchers have much post season experience.


Let’s look at lineups tonight.

WAA Name_TeamID Pos PA 10062017
-0.86 Ben_Zobrist_CHN RF 496
2.96 Kris_Bryant_CHN 3B 665
4.85 Anthony_Rizzo_CHN 1B 691
2.50 Willson_Contreras_CHN C 428
1.28 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN LF 486
0.50 Addison_Russell_CHN SS 385
0.57 Jason_Heyward_CHN CF 481
3.25 Javier_Baez_CHN 2B 508
-0.42 Kyle_Hendricks_CHN P 51
TOTAL WAA=14.64 PA=4191 WinPct=0.567

Cubs lineup has improved significantly since All Star break but it’s still considered Tier 2.

WAA Name_TeamID Pos PA 10062017
1.49 Trea_Turner_WAS SS 447
6.89 Bryce_Harper_WAS RF 492
3.97 Anthony_Rendon_WAS 3B 605
4.89 Daniel_Murphy_WAS 2B 593
6.47 Ryan_Zimmerman_WAS 1B 576
-0.46 Jayson_Werth_WAS LF 289
-1.60 Matt_Wieters_WAS C 465
0.61 Michael_Taylor_WAS CF 432
-0.65 Stephen_Strasburg_WAS P 60
TOTAL WAA=21.61 PA=3959 WinPct=0.605

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.

  1. 2-1 Tier 2 CHN lineup vs. Tier 1 WAS starter
  2. 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.

Relief Pitching

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).

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+105+ 2.92 Mike_Montgomery_CHN PITCH
+112+ 2.79 Wade_Davis_CHN PITCH
+146+ 2.31 Brian_Duensing_CHN PITCH
+160+ 2.10 Pedro_Strop_CHN PITCH
+163+ 2.08 Carl_Edwards_CHN PITCH
XXXXX 1.64 Justin_Wilson_DET PITCH
XXXXX -0.32 Justin_Wilson_CHN PITCH
XXXXX -0.73 Felix_Pena_CHN PITCH
Total 12.79

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.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+064+ 3.86 Matt_Albers_WAS PITCH
+083+ 2.12 Ryan_Madson_OAK PITCH
+155+ 1.68 Brandon_Kintzler_MIN PITCH
+190+ 1.36 Sean_Doolittle_WAS PITCH
+083+ 1.36 Ryan_Madson_WAS PITCH
XXXXX 1.01 Enny_Romero_WAS PITCH
+155+ 0.53 Brandon_Kintzler_WAS PITCH
+190+ 0.50 Sean_Doolittle_OAK PITCH
XXXXX -0.23 Oliver_Perez_WAS PITCH
XXXXX -0.94 Sammy_Solis_WAS PITCH
-153- -1.78 Shawn_Kelley_WAS PITCH
Total 9.47

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.