Nationals Baseball: Remember, I did say miracle

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Remember, I did say miracle

Yesterday, for a brief moment I heard the same thing from several directions.  "The Nats odds seem way too low" The odds at the time were hovering in the 2-4% range and were in fact completely reasonable. If you want to see the math behind it yesterday's comments have a couple good entries into that. But I can boil down the macro-level reasons down to two.

1) Cold hearted analysis cares nothing about your momentum. Going into yesterday's game you might have felt the Nats were playing so well that winning 8 of their last 11 was almost a given, and winning 5 or less was pretty much impossible. That's nice and human, but here's the thing about "momentum" and "playing well" and the like. If these things do exist (and let's assume they do because it doesn't effect what I'm going to say anyway) we still have no way of figuring out when they start and end. Teams win 5 games in a row then lose 5 games in a row. Why? What happened? What changed? We don't know. If we can't know we can't rightfully include it in analysis. There's simply no way of doing it.

The machines and soulless automatons look at the Nats and see a mid-high 80s win team playing a decently hard schedule to end the season. Just looking at that and with 11 games left that maybe means 6 wins. You've seen the scenarios. That isn't going to cut it.

2) The power of math compels you. Let's say you ignore the above. You LOVE the Nats. "Nuts about the Nats" is your ringtone. You wear warrior eye black to work. You polish your multiple signed bats tenderly with Pledge and a game worn Kory Casto jersey (about all it is good for). You think the chances they win 8 or more games in these last 10 are 75%.  (That's SO high. What is WRONG with you?!). At the same time you hate the Reds. You think the chances they win 2 or fewer in their last 10 is 25%.  Congratulations you just gave the Nats less than a 19% chance at making the playoffs.


And you are an insane person. Go with 50% and 10% (still crazy but at least not carve your own feces into little boat insane) and the chance plummets to 5%. No way out to escape the truth in the numbers.

What's left to root for?

Again, all offseason to talk about the mistakes of this year so we'll keep dancing this playoff dance until the cotillion organizer realizes that we're the girl from the wrong side of the tracks who snuck in here to try to talk to that rich handsome boy who gave us a lift when our car broke down and kicks us out. I don't want to say I told you so, because I never really told anyone anything, but I have strongly hinted several times that the Pirates could be the more reasonable option for the Nats to catch, since they have been overplaying their hand. Is it time to change rooting interests?

We've run into the weekend the Nats fans had been waiting for. The Nats play the Marlins for 4 games, while the Pirates and Reds play eachother. The Nats win and they'll gain on someone. What should you root for? Pretty simple on the Nats side (sweep!). On the Pirates Reds side? Here you go:

If the Pirates win tonight, root for them to sweep the Reds.
If the Pirates lose tonight, root for whoever wins game #1 in the Reds/Pirates series to sweep.

There you go.  Worst case scenario is the Pirates win tonight and the Reds win 2 out of 3.


cass said...

So how many other people stayed up late following the Astros game? Felt like the entire season was in the balance last night. At one point, three Houston runners and two Nats runners were stranded at the same time. Had they scored, I think we'd be talking about a real chance at the playoffs instead of being back to double miracle scenarios.

Baseball is the worst sport.

Strasburger said...

Baseball really is the worst sport.

Its crazy how much worse our odds get, but that's what you get when you wait this long to put together your balls and actually play.

In other semi-good news, Strasburg was pushed back to Saturday, which is the game I'm going to. (Assuming we don't lose tonight and Friday, and they sit him down for the rest of the season)

Chaz R said...

@Cass- We were at the game last night and watching the Reds-Astros game on ESPN Gamecast on my phone. We felt the same way... the whole season was in the balance at that point. It was so close to a Nats sweep and a Reds loss.

The worst part of the game last night were all the smart-ass Braves fans and their nasty comments. Unbelievable! The Braves fans must really feel threatened.

Anonymous said...

First things first - not a Nats guy, but I do enjoy reading the blog and keeping in touch with the local pulse.
As a life-long Braves fan currently living in the area, I can personally attest to the hatred and nastiness that we (me, 2 sons and wife) endured last year and earlier this year at Braves/Nats games. Not quite as bad as what we put up with in Philly when we lived up that way, but no fun at any rate. I have come to expect that behavior at NFL or NHL games, but baseball fans are usually classier than that.
By no means do Braves fans (or any for that matter) have a right to be "nasty" in response, but Nats fans have a ways to go in terms of behaving with class when their team is winning/playing well. Like my old 'ball coach used to say, "Act like you've been there before and will be there again".
Do "we" feel threatened - absolutely not. Semi-pessimistic about postseason this year based on past Braves' performances in October - you betcha.

Carl said...

Yeah, realistically, after last night I can't put up the money for playoff tickets. I really wish they gave us until Monday instead of tomorrow--after the weekend series we will have a MUCH better idea if the Nats still have any kind of shot. But dropping a game last night, it's just too far-fetched.

As for the nasty comments by Braves and/or Nats fans--too many people are idiots, period, no matter where you go. And the relative anonymity of Twitter lets people spout off however they please. There's a theory about that.

Harper said...

cass - I did ! well "stay up late" isn't really a fair way to put it "stay up like I normally would just watched a Reds game while doing it"

So close but The Astros are terrible for a reason

Sbruger - baseball's long season makes everything crazy. Since we've seen our team win X in a row and their team lose Y in a row we think it surely is possible. We lose sight of the fact that the first thing happened twice in like 60 possible times and the second once in the same 60.

Strasburg should pitch regardless and I mean that in the "I'm saying he should pitch" way.

Chaz R - when you win everyone is nasty. other teams fans are only civil to perennial losers that are now winning but not too much, (1 season only) or mediocre teams on the rise (only during rise).

Anon / Carl - one bad apple spoils the bunch. or more accurately several hundred bad apples spoils the stadium full of 20000 people.

bdrube said...

If you go to Webster's and look up the definition of "bad apple" it mere says: "Braves Fan."

They might actually be nthe worst in terms of our division rivals--obnoxious when they are winning, apathetic when they aren't (during the Nats-Braves games I've attended). At least Phillies fans are consistently obnoxious.

blovy8 said...

Uh, anon, if you're going to get on your high horse about what fans' proper deportment is, I hope you left your imaginary tomahawk at home and were quick to remind those fans of your persuasion that it was impolite to do that hokey war chant. I mean, even Redskins fans don't pull that crap.

When you bobble a decent start away like Ohlendorf did, when every game counts, it's tough to have a civil conversation with anyone in the immediate aftermath. Somehow, giving up a homer to a power hitter I can accept more than a wild throw a random person who threw out the first pitch could have made. Eh, but probably the things were connected, I mean, if he's off in the strike zone, why would I expect LaRoche's mitt to look any bigger than Ramos'?

Eventually, the trouble is, that often times, the other team is trying to win too.

Anonymous said...

The only thing I know about last night is that Wood had better send in his applications to a vocational school. He should never ever get a borderline call ever again in the majors and well, thats too bad.

Erich said...

"The machines and soulless automatons look at the Nats..."

Harper - Are you referring to yourself in third person?

As for staying up late, after this weekend we might be watching the Pirates games instead...

Nattydread said...

So your saying there's a chance?

Erich said...

Just to show I'm paying attention... Go Pirates!

nicoxen said...

Yesterday's game boils down to one thing. The heart of the order left 9 men on base. Even though Harper had a sac fly, what we really need was a 3 run double or - heaven forbid - a grand slam. Desmond had two horrendous at bats w RISP. This team will never become championship material until we can find some guys who provide the big bop in high leverage situation

Natsochist said...

Harper - any thoughts on Desi's injury? It definitely seemed to affect him in the field last night (speaking as one who attended the game). Is it worthwhile to have Walters, Rendon, or Kobernus spell him for a game / would that improve anything?

My concerns with those options:
- Walters has the glove that Desi had two years+ ago.
- We've seen that Rendon is not yet a hitting prodigy, and he's played maybe two games (?) at SS.
- Same concern with Kobernus as Rendon, plus it removes a PR option off the bench.

Any of them better than a hobbled #20?

Bote Man said...

What a job Rick Schu has done!

Froggy said...

As much as I like Desmond as an all round player, I do wish he would be a bit more patient at the plate. I mean it seems I blink and he is 0-2!

That said, the team is playing great baseball and I think we will finish at the same pace as the last 25 games, the problem is without Harper's miracle (double miracle now), the Reds MUST lose 6 or 7 games for us to sneak in.

Go Bucs!

d28 said...

So what are the odds that a $20 bet on postseason tickets will pay out? Today is the last day to reserve a strip. Fangraphs has them at 1.4% If I'm thinking about this the right way, then:

$20 / .014 = expected payout of $1428.

I don't think I can make 1400 bucks selling a wildcard ticket on the secondary market. Maybe if they go all the way...

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