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How Does the Giants’ Schedule Help or Hurt Their Chances of Making the Playoffs?

August 27, 2010

There’s about 35 games left to the season, and the race for the playoffs is in full force.  The Giants currently sit six games behind the division leading San Diego Padres (honestly, I’m still shocked at how good they are this year) and are atop the Wild Card with 71 wins and 57 losses, only a half game in front of the Philadelphia Phillies.  We’re still in this despite a pitiful August in which we’ve gone 11-12.  This time of year, I often hear talk about one team or another having a tough or easy schedule for the rest of the year- this makes sense, seeing as how the divisional strength is far from equal.  A good team that faces other good teams is less likely to have as many wins as a good team playing bad teams.  So…why not look at the rest of season schedule to get an idea as to how things might wind up?

For this little simulation exercise, I’ll be using the Log5 method to determine a team’s winning percentage against all other teams.  This is typically done with straight winning percentages, but I’ve added a twist: I’m also taking into account the team’s performance on home and on the road.  This is to help increase theoretical accuracy (remember, all of this is a projection- anything, and I mean anything can happen over the next month).  The Braves, for example, have a winning percentage of .575.  But at home, their winning percentage is a remarkable .721, and their road win percentage a measly .439.  So I thought it’d be nice to make the little adjustment to account for this.  Anyways- running the numbers, we get:

“QOC” stands for “Quality of Competition.”  For example, the Padres face the most difficult teams while they’re on the road; the Cardinals the easiest.  The Reds see an inordinate amount of easy teams when they’ll be playing at home over the next couple of weeks (I’ve got them sweeping the Pirates, who have a .213 win percentage on the road- this definitely helps).  Based purely on strength of schedule, the Padres are looking to drop two wins from their current rate of performance, the Reds gain a win, and both the Braves and the Phillies drop a game.  The Giants are actually the only team left unaffected by their schedule.  All in all, we’re not looking at a drastic change.  By this method, the Padres, Reds and Braves will comfortably win their divisions, and the Giants wind up with the Wild Card.  And I’d be perfectly okay with that.

Of course, anything can happen in the next 35 or so games.  Teams can get hot and teams can get cold.  But I wouldn’t be surprised if the end result looks somewhat like this.  The Giants might win the Wild Card, but I think it’ll be awfully close.

What do you think?  Does that look about right to you?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. aGIANTman permalink
    August 28, 2010 12:16 AM

    Thanks for this–very insightful. I myself have been wondering how strength of schedule might impact the Giants chances. My own lazy, imprecise way of estimating this for myself (eyeballing the schedules) didn’t help me much. I am sure that other factors could be taken into account (like the Padres just can’t be this good, so they automatically get a 6 game deduction), but this is very helpful.

    • triplesalley permalink*
      August 28, 2010 12:33 AM

      I totally agree- when I originally started, I used the team’s PythagenPat winning percentage to help account for the teams that were likely to regress to the mean. When I started accounting for Home/Road performance, I scrapped that, as I felt it would be slightly more accurate. Using both would be ideal, and I think I’ll have to do that for next time!

      Another way to go about it is by using run estimators and some adjustments for clutch performance and the like, but that might be better for a Power Ranking of sorts. I know Beyond the Boxscore does something like this.

      I’m glad you found this helpful- thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  2. September 2, 2010 3:11 PM

    Works for me!

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