By the way, did you guys notice there was STILL no baseball today? What is up with that? /90standuproutine
Ahem. We’ve played a little more than half the season, meaning the Reds have played 85 games, and have 77 to go. But first half and second half schedules look very different – largely due to the inclusion of interleague play before the All-Star Break. Also, there seems to be a lot more intra-divisional play in the last two and a half months of the season. That’s nice, as it helps with the playoff race drama, coming to the end of the season.
Well, it looks like there will be plenty of drama. With three teams in very strong contention, and the Brewers just-not-quite-yet out of it, every team’s got to be looking for any advantage they can get. Here are a few numbers to keep in mind.
First – you can’t underestimate how close we are in that Pirates/Cardinals sandwich. (Note that in this analogy, the Reds are the meat/eggsalad/hummus-and-cucumber. That is because we are the best. Obviously.)
Second – while the Reds are dead on their Pythag, and the Pirates are pretty close, the Cardinals under-performance by 4 games may not be insignificant. Currently, the Cardinals are 10-14 in 1 run games, the Reds are 14-16, and the Pirates are 19-15. Whether this means that the Pirates are just the clutchiest jerkstores alive (and the Cards the least so), or it’s a bit of luck that may or may not even itself out is harder to say. Still, the Cardinals may have an ‘advantage’ here
Better news for the Reds after the jump
Third – the Reds may have a small plus in the remaining home games front. While St. Louis actually has an even home/road split, the Reds, Pirates, and most normal teams do better at home. The Reds have four more home games over the last half the season than either of the bread pieces (See what I did there? Referencing back to my sandwich analogy? High-five!). In a close race, that could be significant.
Fourth- I also calculated some Strength of Schedule numbers based on current win percentages. It’s a very simple weighted average based on the number of games and the current record. It’s not perfect (nor meant to be so), because it can’t take into account the many, many nuances that are involved in a full-season of play. Still. Why not? Especially since it looks so tasty for my beloved Reds.
The Reds ‘SOS’ was pretty high in the first half. (Since the teams play each other, it makes sense that, everything else being equal, the better teams will have lower numbers – the Pirates don’t have to play the Pirates, and the Astros don’t have to play the Astros). But for the second half, we’ll be facing more teams that, at least so far, haven’t been quite as good. On the other hand, the Pirates are right there with us.
Overall, though, I hope what we’re looking at is that the Reds had a more difficult first half – given the teams faced, and more away games overall, and once the heat lets up in the home stretch, our bounty of natural talent will shine through and take us to the playoffs. (Hopefully not to get swept again.)