The [diminishing] path to October

If you’re gonna be a homer, you may as well be open about it. The Rays could be down by four heading into the bottom of the 9th and it would only take a quick Matt Joyce single to get many of us calculating how the team can win the team. Granted that such optimism can often lead to disappointment, but sometimes, or so the legend goes, everything works our perfectly (cue the 7,873rdtime I’ve watched that clip).

Chris working out the long odds on his window…

It’s that optimism which leads us to frantically try and work our how the Rays can win the AL wildcard. The odds aren’t good (just 2% according to Cool Standings) but hey, they’re better than the odds of winning that Royals game heading into the 9th. To get there though, we need

Assumption #1 – beat the leaders

Being in the AL East sucks sometimes. The Rays’ 65 wins would put them atop the Central and in the race out West. Instead they find themselves 10 games back of Boston. However, being in the East means the Yankees and Sox have to see the Rays plenty more times this year, which is the only way you are ever going to pull back such a large deficit. (A more learned writer might point to a proverb about adversity being the same as opportunity but most of my sayings come from movies or crappy TV shows so I’ll pass).

[When I read this I immediately thought of this. If you’re looking for writers that go to Shakespeare – ‘once more into the breach dear friends’ – you may need to submit some work or go elsewhere. – Mark]

Last year the Rays were 11-7 and 10-8 against the Sox and Yanks respectively. They’re in a hole right now (3-5 and 6-7) but if they were to replicate those records then that’s a big chunk of the deficit cut. So let’s assume they can go a combined 13-4 over the remaining games to equal last year’s 21 wins. It’s a tough ask but at least we’re not in sweep territory yet.

Assumption #2 – one of the best teams has to run away with the division

Both these teams are good but one of them needs to slip up a bit if the miracle comeback is going to happen. Given the way the season series has gone so far, we’ll have to lean towards this being the Yankees. So far the Sox lead the series 10-2 with 6 games remaining. We’ll extrapolate that winning percentage and finish the season with Boston winning 5 of the last 6.

Assumption #3 –Boston and New York continue play at the same level they have all year (excluding assumption 1 and 2)

It goes without saying that if both the Yankees and Red Sox get hot, this race is over. It’s also not that helpful to forecast what might happen if the Yankees go 20-25 from here on in. It isn’t unreasonable however to suggest that Boston and New York continue their current winning rates (Boston .624, New York .610) excluding the games already mentioned.

The Outcome

Taking these assumptions into account gets us to the below:

Boston

W

L

Total

Current

73

44

117

Versus TB (#1)

2

8

10

Versus NYY (#2)

5

1

6

Other (#3)

18

11

29

Final record

98

64

162

 

New York

W

L

Total

Current

72

46

118

Versus TB (#1)

2

5

7

Versus BOS (#2)

1

5

6

Other (#3)

19

12

31

Final record

94

68

162

 

Tampa Bay

W

L

Total

Current

64

55

119

Versus NYY (#1)

5

2

7

Versus BOS (#2)

8

2

10

Other (#3)

18

8

26

Final record

95

67

162

To get those ‘other’ wins would take a record of 18-8 or .692. The Rays record over the past couple of weeks? 9-4, or, you guessed it .692. [Chris wrote this before yesterday’s split doubleheader and I didn’t have the heart to update the serendipitous math. -Mark]

As a final note, Cool Standings show that 25 teams have made the playoffs having had a 2.0% chance of doing so at some point in the year. Seven of these teams went on to win the World Series. Now that is getting ahead of ourselves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *