I say the headline “Atlanta Braves Have Less Than 20 Percent Chance Of Making Playoffs” as a fact and not a question because I trust the brains in two MIT graduates over my own brain.
I loved this piece on AJC from Jeff Schultz that explains why and how two guys who started this numbers and odds Web site in 2005 called “CoolStandings.com” are saying the Braves chances aren’t good.
Sure, it fires up us Braves fanatics, but the reality of it all shook me. I’m shaken.
This Web site, of which I have never heard until today, gives the Braves a 22.2 percent chance at the playoffs. They ranked the Dodgers, Cardinals, Phillies, Giants and Rockies ahead of the Braves.
The formula factors in runs for and against, home and road success, remaining strength of schedule, league scoring averages and the previous season’s results (the weight of which decreases as the year goes on). The model doesn’t take into account injuries or trades (although we’re past the trade deadline), but it heavily weighs late-season hot streaks (like the Braves’ current one).
So even with this hot streak, the Braves have a 22 percent chance of making it, according to these two geniuses. It makes sense. When you bring all of those numbers into one calculation, I don’t see the Braves doing it.
In my opinion—and let me state this is the most fun I have had watching Braves games in five years–the Braves don’t do all of those things good in one game. One night we will see incredible offense, but poor defense. Or incredible offense and defense and Derek Lowe or Kawakami Dragon give up 5 runs in the second inning. We’ll see incredible defense one game, but no one can hit the ball. We swing at the fences and hit some zingers or we swing at the fences and look like ballerinas doing a little twirl.
Make no doubt about it: This is the most talented Braves team in half a decade. Some of these young guys look great and want a chance to redirect the ship a little bit. I like Matt Diaz, Martin Prado, Yunel Escobar and Tommy Hanson. I think there is a lot of hope for the future and there are a few names stuck in the minor leagues who a lot of people talk about.
We have good leaders. Bobby Cox, and he is getting really old, is one of the best leaders in baseball. But he’s lost his touch a little bit.
Chipper Jones can lead a baseball team. Brian McCann has picked it up this year, and he was the only All Star.
No one is giving this team a chance. And here I am agreeing with it—I am not sure we have a chance.
Unless the Braves can pick it up a notch, winning all the series 2 games to 1 says nothing out loud.
Win 10 games in a row and maybe, just maybe, someone will listen.
But to do that, all of those statistics need to pan out.