NL races go down to the wire

The post-season qualifiers are all determined in the AL, but it’s a different story in the NL with two divisions in a virtual dead heat with 5 days left in the season. After the break, a closer look at the races in the NL’s Central and West divisions.

So, here’s where we stand at the close of play on Tuesday, starting with the Central.


The Brewers have gone into St. Louis this week and taken the first two from the Cardinals, pretty much knocking the Redbirds out of the chase for the division crown (the Cards’ elimination number is now down to 1). So, it’s either the Cubs or Brewers in the race to avoid the wildcard game, although both teams should reach the post-season and could punch their tickets as early as tomorrow. That’s because of the West division standings that look like this.


The two front runners here could also both make the post-season, but it’s a lot less likely than in the Central, as St. Louis is right on their heels in the wildcard race, just a half game back of the Rockies. So, three teams within a game of each other, and only two will make it to October.

The hot teams this month are the Brewers (15-7), Rockies (15-8) and Dodgers (15-8), while the Cubs and Cardinals, both hot in August (18-10 and 22-6, respectively), have cooled off this month at 12-11 for Chicago and 11-12 for St. Louis. Breaking that down a bit more, the Dodgers were scuffling a bit to start the month (5-5), but have gone 10-3 since, including sweeping three from the Rockies and taking three of four from the Cardinals. Colorado started the month hot with a 5-0 spurt and are also 5-0 heading into play tomorrow, rebounding from a 5-8 slide that included that forgettable excursion to LA. Milwaukee has a similar story to the Rox, going 7-2 to start the month, then 5-5 in the middle, and riding a 3-0 crest heading into play tomorrow. The Cubs have been heading the other direction, losing 4 of 6 heading into play tomorrow, while the Cardinals have seen their 6-1 run come to a screeching halt this week at the hands of the Brewers.

The remaining schedule has the Cubs playing two more against Pittsburgh and finishing with three against the Cardinals, with all of those games at Wrigley. Milwaukee and St. Louis have one more game against each other before the Brewers head home and, thanks to the miracle of inter-league play, finish up against the Tigers. Out west, the Dodgers have one more against the D-Backs, then finish against the Giants, with all of those games away from Chavez. The Rockies have two more against the prostrate Phillies (losers of 17 of 23 games) and three against the Nationals (winners of 11 of 17), with all of those tilts at Coors. The Brewers and Cubs have the strongest home records which should stand them in good stead heading into the final weekend. The other three have similar records home and away.

Looking ahead to the post-season with four of these teams and Atlanta, starting pitching looks to be a strength for Dodgers, Braves, Cards and Brewers, and less so for the Cubs and Rockies. Relievers are a strength for the Cubs and Brewers, less so for the Braves and Rockies, and a significant weakness for the Dodgers and Cards. Here is how these teams have fared, starting and finishing games.

The Braves and Cardinals have been the fastest starters, with St. Louis notably taking the early lead in 75 of their games, more than 40% higher than the Cubs total of just 53 contests. But, St. Louis has the worst comeback record in the late innings and the Cubs the best (tied with Atlanta), apparently owing mainly to the two teams’ very different pitching results closing out games. The Rockies have a different problem in the late going with their offense going dry, while Braves’ batters have pummeled opposing pitchers in the late innings, surprisingly the only one of these teams with above average batting results over the final three frames.

Why will five of these teams comprise the NL post-season competitors? One reason is that these 6 teams rank 1-6 in the best record against .500+ opponents. Here are those results and also their records playing each other.

The Braves and Rockies look to be most challenged among this competition, while the Dodgers have had the most success, though that is almost wholly the result of their domination of Colorado and Atlanta.

Leave a Reply

83 Comments on "NL races go down to the wire"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Dr. Doom
Guest
Sorry for the first comment to not be relevant, but I need a second for Christian Yelich Corner: First, I have a question for a PI wizard out there (Richard, perhaps?). Last night, Christian Yelich has ANOTHER game with a triple and a homer, to go along with his two cycles this year. I’m wondering how many (if any) other players have had three games in a season with both a triple and a homer. Anybody know? Second, I’d like to point out that, at this point, Christian Yelich is about as close to a Triple Crown as JD Martinez.… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest
Most such games in a season is 6 by George Altman in 1961. He led the NL in triples with 12 that year. A triple and a HR in the same game is not as rare as one would think. 9 players have had 5 such games in a season, 21 have 4 such games and 106 have 3 such games. 5 games in a season has been accomplished by Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio (twice), Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Hank Greenberg, Chick Hafey, Johnny Mize and the illustrious Lou Clinton. Last to do it are Cody Bellinger with 3 games… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest

It is VERY hard for me to imagine Da Meat Hook legging out two triples, particularly in 2003, by which point I’m sure he must’ve weighed 320 pounds. But there it is, in black and white. He was a legitimately good player that year. There weren’t many of those on the ’03 Tigers. I mean Bobby Higginson, Brandon Inge, and Carlos Pena all had nice careers, but they weren’t particularly helpful in 2003.

CursedClevelander
Guest

He hit 4 that season at home, which makes sense, Comerica is a great park for triples. I’m just surprised he also managed 3 on the road.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Yelich received no opportunity to increase his triple crown profile last night, Walking in all five plate appearances.

Dr. Doom
Guest

Another day, another Yelich update. Yesterday, he was 0/0 with FIVE walks. That must ALSO be rare, I would think. Perhaps more rare even than they 3B/HR combo.

Mike L
Guest

Doom, I found this one from 2016, although it’s not an exact match. Bryce Harper, 7 PAs, 6BB, 1 HPB. https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHN/CHN201605080.shtml.
Also, Jimmy Foxx, June 16, 1938, 6PA, 6 BB. https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHN/CHN201605080.shtml

Richard Chester
Guest

That game with Foxx is the most BB with BB = PA. There have been 39 occasions of a player with 5 BB in 5 PA, including Yelich. Votto, Ott and Barry Bonds have done it twice. Yelich is the only one to score all of his team’s runs.

Dr. Doom
Guest

Thanks, Richard. And good find, Mike, on games with PA > = 5 with AB=0 and OBP=1.000. That’s an interesting thing, even if sometimes the free passes are HBP.

Dr. Doom
Guest
One of the weird things this year is that the two best records in the NL belong, right now, to the Brewers and Cubs (and here’s the caveat that, of course, it’s not guaranteed to stay that way). But as things stand, that means that one of these two teams will end up with home field throughout; the other will play a one-game playoff against a division rival. It’s a bummer of a year for that kind of thing. Also, it’s unlikely that any team in the NL will win 95 games this year; only the Cubs or Brewers even… Read more »
Mike L
Guest
I’m going to make my annual gripe about the way the playoffs are set up (although right now this is more an AL problem). Either a) go back to four teams (one wild card) and have five, seven and then WS games, or b) keep it at five but have at least a 3 game WC series, or c) even six teams with a 3 game series between three WC teams and the least successful division-winner, then to two best of fives, then the WS. But the so-called romance of a Cinderella story is ridiculous if that Cinderella team needs… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest
I don’t think it’s really too much of a problem in the AL this year, actually. Let’s compare the 4-team vs. 5-team models. First, part of the point of the Wild Card is that, sometimes, a team separates itself so much in the first half of the season that it CAN’T really be passed in the second, although it may no longer be the top team in its division. I’m thinking in particular of the A’s and Astros. I mean, the Astros have been great all year… but I don’t know that, post All-Star break, with current rosters, that one… Read more »
Mike L
Guest
The problem is that, while once in a while, even the best-designed system can have weird results, this system seems to be ripe for this. I agree there’s no injustice in the AL to have the Yankees lose to Oakland–both are worthy. This year, there are currently six NL teams between 87 and 91 wins, so, viewed in the aggregate, no result seems unfair in the abstract except the one you pointed out. I just don’t like one-game playoffs enabling inferior teams to achieve parity after a 162 game season. The Red Sox are going to win 110. Yet they… Read more »
Phil Gaskill
Guest

Mike, (a) the Red Sox will have to win all of their last 3 games to end up with 110. Possible, of course, but I don’t think we can say they “are going to.” And (b) I can’t figure out who you’re talking about regarding the team with 20 fewer wins, 3rd in their own division. Tampa fits that description, but of course they’re nowhere near making the playoffs. Cleveland also has about 20 fewer wins, but they’re 1st in their division. Pls. clarify?

Mike L
Guest

Phil, I could have been a lot clearer. I was comparing across leagues and looking to the World Series. There’s one open WC spot in the NL, and it will be either be St. Louis (currently with 87 wins) or the loser of Colorado/LA (89 and 88 wins respectively. That team then wins a one game playoff, and essentially has parity (excepting home field) with the 107+ win Red Sox.

Phil Gaskill
Guest

Thanks, Mike. I get it now. 😉

Dr. Doom
Guest

Both the Brewers and Cubs have clinched the postseason after Milwaukee defeated St Louis tonight.

Paul E
Guest

Doom,
I imagine you’re touting the Marlins cast-off in LF for M V P ? QUITE, the late-season surge !

Dr. Doom
Guest
Well… I mean… I AM a Brewers fan! For the record, the last time the Brewers made the postseason (2011), they also had the MVP in Ryan Braun. They’ve had players with strong arguments many years since (Braun again in ’12, Carlos Gomez in ’13, and Jonathan Lucroy in ’14), but they haven’t had that perfect alchemy of individual and team success. I think this is the year for it, though I really wouldn’t blame someone for putting a pitcher (DeGrom or Scherzer) first on their ballot. Still, if the Brewers win the division, he’ll win the MVP; if he… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

Doom,
FWIW,
Yelich .346/.480/.728 7 HR 28 RBI 23 games since 9/1/18
J. Baez .281/.326/.506 5 HR 13 RBI 23 games since 9/1/18
Yelich . 317/.379/.558 26 HR 76 RBI 120 games thru 8/31/18
J. Baez . 295/.328/.572 29 HR 98 RBI 131 games thru 8/31/18

I have to think they will finish 1st and 2nd, either way, unless Freddy Freeman gets more votes than I am anticipating. Yelich leads the NL in runs created; Baez plays the more important defensive position (2b OR SS)

Doug
Guest

Yelich and Tommy Pham this year have (so far) increased to 115 the number of Sep/Oct seasons (min. 75 PA) since 1908 with 1.200 OPS.

Paul E
Guest

Tommy Pham has been on fire since joining the Rays……
Perhaps the Cards would not be watching the playoffs on TV this year if they had retained him?

Doug
Guest

Last year, Pham became the first Cardinal to bat .300 with 20 doubles, 20 HR and 20 stolen bases (Lou Brock hit .299 in his only season with the other three).

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Jacob deGrom made it to 10 wins.
9.8 pWAR

His meaty bat work puts him over 10 total WAR

0.5 oWAR
.164 / .211 / .179 / .390

Doug
Guest

And 24 straight quality starts, longest streak within a season in the live ball era.

Dr. Doom
Guest
Yelich update, with the game still in progress. Still, this is how great baseball can be… 1. Cubs win today. Things do not look good for Milwaukee, down a game-and-a-half. They basically need a sweep now. 2. Brewers have a dreadful top of one. Tigers don’t hit a single ball in the air – no flies, no liners. Yet, they manage five consecutive seeing-eye hits (except one nubber off the end of the bat). Brewers down 3-0. Things are looking worse. 3. Bottom of 1. LoCain comes up. Nice seeing-eye single. This one’s not cheap, like the Tigers’ singles (he… Read more »
Mike L
Guest

Doom, I don’t want to do a spoiler, if you were watching on tape delay, but it looks like things worked out reasonably well tonight?

Dr. Doom
Guest

Things DEFINITELY worked out! Winning on a failed home run catch was weird, but at this point, there’s no complaining about wins.

no statistician but
Guest

I’m probably not the first to notice this, but Y’s September 2018 is reminiscent of Y’s September 1967.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
I certainly hadn’t made the connection. The Brewers are going to the post-season, so the context is somewhat different from the four-team, down-to-the wire dogfight the ’67 BoSox were in when Yaz put up his numbers, but the parallel makes some sense. I think the best basis for comparison would be the second half of September (to Oct. 1 for Yaz), say, the final 15 games, of which Yelich has two to go (well, one and a half, as of this post). …………….PA…..AB…..R…..H…..2B…..3B…..HR…..RBI…..BB……BA…….OBP…….SLG……BAbip,,,,,WPA…….RE24 Yaz……….65…..55…..15…27……6…….0……..5…….18……..9…. .491….. .569…… .873……. .524…….2.63…….22.75 Yelich …..58…..45…..15…19……5…….2……..6…….20……12…. .422….. .552….1.022…….. .382…….1.05……18.95 Add to Yelich’s line a walk, a… Read more »
Mike L
Guest

Not knowing where else to put this, Doug, but how about a post about some prominent older players (or injured, like David Wright) who might be in their last games this weekend?

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Kyle Freeland pitching in Denver:

10-2 , 2.40 (all earned runs)

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Tucker Barnhart had a 5 hits game.
One homer
One triple
Three singles.

First time the cycle has been missed in that manner since Eduardo Escobar in 2014.

Only the third time it has ever been done by a Catcher.
The others

1951 … Walker Cooper
1934 … Ernie Lombardi

no statistician but
Guest
At the other end of the spectrum, the Phillies—cruising in first place in the NL East on August 17th with a 68-54 record—are now at 78-82. Which outworn metaphor applies, I wonder. Did their bubble burst? Did they come down to earth? Up like a rocket, down like a stick? A similar collapse occurred in 1977 to the Cubs, the difference being that, in spite of a 69-53 record on Aug 20, they trailed the Phillies by 6 games and the Pirates by 2, and led the Cards by just one. Anyway, we had a discussion of sorts about the… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest
Well… I don’t think “evaluated” is right at all. OF COURSE it can be “evaluated” by stats. It can even be “attributed” solely to stats. At the end of the day, a teams wins or loses based on scoring more or fewer runs than their opponents. The Phillies have got 10-28, not “because they were sad,” (or whatever), but because they scored fewer runs than their opponents in 28 of the 38 games. Might there be psychological factors that caused their performance to dip to that level? Certainly! No one would argue that. But the “stats vs. story” arguments usually… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Interesting to compare Doom the Statistician and Doom the Fan. When Doom the Fan describes the feats of Yelich and Braun yesterday, the language is the language of love, poetry, justice, and joy. When Doom the Statistician takes over, he is admonishing us about the indeterminate causative role of psychological factors. I love reading Doom the Fan — he reminds me of how I used to feel when I really rooted from the heart (though my rooting didn’t have much positive causative effect: my chosen teams lost the Series every year from 1991 through 2003, except 1994, when baseball broke… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest

I actually remembered the Phillies’ game, but I had NO memory that that slide followed. Yikes. It will be interesting to see how they recover from that. Hopefully, they feel next year the way the Brewers went this year: they arrived a year before they had any business to, and even though they lost a late-season late, they’ll turn that into next-season improvement. Fun stuff.

Paul E
Guest

Bob, EPM, Doom,
Back in March, the prognosticating geniuses in Las Vegas had the over/under on Phillies’ wins for the season at 77 1/2. Perhaps that descent into the maelstrom of non-contention was inevitable after all?

Dr. Doom
Guest

ANOTHER Yelich update:

Yeli hit a two-run jack in the third tonight. Game still in progress, but… he’s only 1 HR and 3 RBI back of the Triple Crown.

Brewers currently leading the Tigers 5-3. With the Cubs’ loss earlier today, home field in the NL will be up to the Brewers and Cubs tomorrow. If one wins and the other loses, the winning team will be the 1 seed. If both win or both lose, they will play a one-game playoff at Wrigley to determine who avoids the one-game playoff. It’s very exciting stuff.

Dr. Doom
Guest

Holy moley! ANOTHER HR! Just two RBI to go!

Paul E
Guest

and, with the benefit of a possible 163rd game, Yelich just might get the necessary RBI….or, Baez will knock in a couple in game # 163 and put the K-Bosh on the Triple Crown 🙁

ReliefMan
Guest

Nolan Arenado had a pair of HRs today to vault him over Yelich in that category, 37 to 36, so that’s another base (or four) that needs to be secured in the tiebreaker game.

Dr. Doom
Guest
Yesterday, pitcher Junior Guerra led off an inning (!!!) – I want to say the sixth – with a single. Lorenzo Cain hit a double, and there they were – second and third. At the time, we knew that Yelich still needed the two RBI, but hey – a homer would’ve vaunted him into first by himself in all categories (again, not having known that Arenado hit the second homer). He was intentionally walked. The Tigers were already down like 5-0, and I was super annoyed. I mean, what was the point? Ugh. It felt like a perfect opportunity was… Read more »
Doug
Guest

Two races tied with one to go (or maybe two).

Dodgers @ Giants – Rich Hill vs. Andrew Suarez
Nats @ Rockies – Erick Fedde vs. Tyler Anderson
Tigers @ Brewers – Spencer Turnbull vs. Gio Gonzalez
Cards @ Cubs – Jack Flaherty vs. Mike Montgomery

Dr. Doom
Guest

But if both are tied, what will be the best game Monday:

Cubs/Brewers
Rockies/Dodgers, or
Marlins/Pirates

Did anyone else realize that game was even scheduled for Monday?

Doug
Guest

Don’t see that Marlins/Bucs game on the schedule on mlb.com now. Must have been put there on a just-in-case-it-means-something basis (although, it should have been apparent long ago that it wouldn’t).

Dr. Doom
Guest

Yeah… it was on the schedule a couple days ago, but it seems to have disappeared. I’m not really sure how/why that happened, but I always do appreciate when MLB tries to make every team play all 162. That’s just how things SHOULD be.

ReliefMan
Guest

In other games on the slate, Yankees-Red Sox is the first scheduled regular-season game since 1909 in which both teams went into the game with at least 100 wins. (The use of “scheduled” here excludes the 1962 NL tiebreaker, which had to be thrown together ad hoc after the schedule concluded with teams tied.)

Doug
Guest

Wow. Never would have guessed it had been so long.

Richard Chester
Guest
Mike Trout has been removed from today’s (9/30/2018) game. He concludes the season with 39 HR and 79 RBI. That’s the fewest for a player with at least 39 HR. In all fairness he came to bat with 296 runners on base which is definitely on the low side for someone with his number of PA. For those PA with ROB, except for bases loaded, in which he received a BB there was a total of 74 runners. That left him with 222 ROB with a chance for an RBI. In contrast J. D. Martinez has come to bat with… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

BTW that post of mine does not include Martinez’s PA in today’s game, which is still ongoing.

no statistician but
Guest

In 2013 Joey Votto had a somewhat similar season, not so many HRs—he hasn’t Trout’s power—but a huge number of walks, intentional and unintentional, and surprisingly few RBIs. Trout also missed three weeks in August, so 5 or six HRS and probably 11-14 RBIs. In Trout’s case, with men on base he probably got darn few pitches worth swinging at.

Mathematically speaking, if my limited abilities in that line are working correctly, Trout had 60.3% of the runners on base Martinez had after your subtractions (222/368) and drove in 60.7% (79/130), basically a wash between the two players.

no statistician but
Guest

Actually, I don’t think they were working correctly. The second figure should—I hope—be 40/87 or 46%, meaning that Trout’s non HR RBI prowess was only about 3/4 of Martinez’s.

Moral: don’t let that man near a calculator.

Richard Chester
Guest

nsb: I like to calculate % of ROB driven in. Trout’s % is 40/222 = 18.0%. Martinez’s is 87/368 = 23.6%. (87 = RBI – HR = 130 – 43). 18.0/23.6 = .76 which is very close to the 3/4 fraction you mentioned above.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Blake Snell had the 7th least hittable season of all time.
H/9

5.2606 … Nolan Ryan
5.2955 … Thant
5.3064 … Ryan
5.3088 … Pedro
5.3257 … Reulbach
5.5682 … Leonard
5.5793 … SNELL
5.6512 … Max Scherzer

no statistician but
Guest
Snell’s 21-5 season is a sign of the new pitching dispensation. He started 31 games and averaged under 6 IP per start, which surely must put him in rarified company in that respect as well. Against the miserable Orioles on September 7, after five and a third innings and with a 7-2 lead, he was pulled for the sins of giving up a dinger and throwing 104 pitches. In his next start, a rare 7-inning appearance, he gave up one hit, another HR, and was pulled after 104 pitches. In his next start he was pulled after five innings and… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

I just want it noted somewhere in Cooperstown that i predicted and promoted the ‘Opener’ concept fifteen years before it came into play. Well done Kevin Cash and Tampa Bay. Next they need to take my advice and change their nickname to the ‘Fire Ants’.

Mike L
Guest

Voomo, no doubt there will be a chamber where your plaque will be displayed, with turban instead of cap, of course, and probably sleeve garters as well. I can just see hushed kids’ faces as they approach it…

Mike L
Guest

Less than 181 IP in 31 starts. I don’t have a problem with teams with 82 man bullpens wanting to save wear and tear on young and talented arms. But eventually, folks are going to have to re-evaluate metrics compared across eras to compensate for the fact that so much less is being asked from starters. In 1978 180.1 IP would have placed you 77th.

Paul E
Guest

So, 77th (and beyond) among 26 teams would mean, for the most part) we’re talking 4th starters beginning at 79th ranked pitcher. 181 IP is a “workhorse”, “innings eater” nowadays…ughhh

ReliefMan
Guest

Vince Velasquez just set the record for fewest innings in a 30-start season (146.2, shaving five innings off the 2-year-old record), and of course if you lower the qualification to 29 starts, Ryne Stanek absolutely obliterated the mark from 145.2 to 66.1.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
In the case of Stanek, I think the issue is really one of terminology. We mean something by “starting pitcher,” and it is not reflected in Cash’s use of a pitcher like Stanek. “Starter” included starting the game, but it also meant a pitcher tasked with bearing the major burden of the game. We can see that this is intrinsic to the definition of a “starting pitcher” in the rule that among pitchers participating in a game, the starter alone cannot receive credit for a win unless he pitches five innings: that is, the greater part of the game. The… Read more »
Paul E
Guest
And, in 2018, no one averaged 7 innings per start unless he was an occasional starter and long relief guy. In the good old days, if one were a betting man, the gentleman on the other end of the phone was typically advised that you wanted “Jones, minus 180”. And, if “Jones” got into a traffic accident on the way to the stadium and couldn’t pitch, the wager was off. Now, what’s the difference who starts if he’s going to go 5 innings? The solution? Bigger ballparks? At least with 350 down the lines, 385 in the alleys, 420 to… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest
Really excellent point, everyone. I personally find myself wondering when, if starter inning totals continue to decline, teams are forced to carry 15 or even 16 pitchers on their 25-man roster. That will make true “utility” players very valuable. But I suspect that someone will be “radical” and only carry 10 or 11 pitchers, and utilize the platoon advantage more and more from the HITTER side of things. I suspect we’re reaching the point of diminishing returns on the run-prevention side of things; at some point, someone will look at using the roster to increase run-production. Either that or they’ll… Read more »
CursedClevelander
Guest

If teams continue to carry more pitchers and the opener experiment works reasonably well, I wonder if we’ll see someone experiment with “tandem” starters again.

Doug
Guest

Snell recorded the fewest IP ever for a 20 game winner.

Paul E
Guest

A little off the beaten path, in the words of Joe Garagiola, “fat kid catcher”, William Astudillo of the MTC is a contact machine. If you click on his minor league stats, 81 strikeouts in 2,400+ minor league plate appearances!!

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/a/astudwi01.shtml

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

And, to reinforce your point, Paul, the low K’s aren’t a function of plate patience: he’s as deficient in BBs as in Ks (85 walks in the Minors). But he may still have a hidden TTO strength. In 2015, in 107 games at Clearwater, he had more HBP than either K’s or walks.

Paul E
Guest

Bob Eno,
Nice …. on the HBP stat, at 5’9″ 225#, I’m sure he didn’t feel a thing

Dr. Doom
Guest

Yelich – who else – has knocked in the first run of the first game 163. That puts him 1 RBI and 1 HR back of the Triple Crown.

Paul E
Guest

3 for 3 thru 6 innings

Richard Chester
Guest

If the Brewers meet the Red Sox in the WS it would be the fourth time batting champs met in the WS.
Ty Cobb/Honus Wagner–1909
Al Simmons/Chick Hafey–1931
Willie Mays/Bobby Avila–1954

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Congratulations, Dr. Doom. Your guys did good. And if Yelich didn’t win the Triple Crown he still improved his terrific record: his 1.000 OPS will embellish his career stats.

Paul E
Guest

In light of the fact that they played each other an odd number of times (19), was it really necessary to have a 163rd game between these NL teams today? Cubs and Dodgers both won the season series. I don’t have a horse in this race but it might have been more logical (and less interesting) to just have the Rockies play the Brewers in Milwaukee but…..

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
My own feeling is that “tie-breakers” degrade the process. In 2001, when there was only one wildcard slot, Houston and St. Louis tied for the NL Central championship. Because nothing seemed at stake, Houston was treated as champion and St. Louis as wildcard (Houston had won the “season series” 9-7). But what is the answer to the question of who was the division champion that year? The two teams had identical records, and all season long, a game against the other team was treated just like a game against any team. If being “division champion” matters, than it needs to… Read more »
Mike L
Guest

I agree that tie-breakers degrade the process. But MLB is focussed on maximizing revenues, and they view the competition for the last WC spot to be an important business point–more so than “fairness” as it might apply to team’s in-season actual performance.

Paul E
Guest
Bob Eno (epm), “But what is the answer to the question of who was the division champion that year? The two teams had identical records….” 1) Head – to – Head W-L 2) Division W-L records 3) League W-L records (strip out the inter-league play) If there were only 4 teams making the playoffs from each league in 2018 (like the good ole days-sarcasm mine), I “get” the need for Colorado and LA to play for the division title in game 163 because Milwaukee and Chicago both have the most wins in the NL and one of them would be… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Paul, I get that the tie-breaker system proclaims a “champion” based on criteria other than W-L records. I posed the question because until the tie-breaker system was developed in the 1990s, baseball championships had for a century been based on W-L records, and if there was a tie, the tie had to be broken by a win and a loss. That’s what “champion” traditionally meant. The introduction of the tie-breaker system involved a choice among de facto solutions all of which signaled one fact: “championship” doesn’t really matter. Moreover, the tie-breaker bases were ad hoc. If the issue is “division… Read more »
Paul E
Guest
The 3-divisions, the extended playoffs, it’s all part of the Selig Model for revenue….Basically, if some GM wants to beat his chest and say we’re NL Central champs when the goal is to win the WS, good for him. Like, if the 108-win BRS lose to the A’s or NYY in the next round, that’s a big letdown and that “AL East champs” moniker will ring awfully hollow. They’re damned if they don’t win the whole thing. I’m not quite as old as you but I certainly don’t approve/like the current MLB playoff system winding down in November. I would… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Paul, Don’t get me started on college football . . . but if you did we’d be in agreement. Given that the symmetry of the 162-game system, like the 154-game system before it, has been lost, and the schedule no longer needs to assure that teams play equivalent numbers of games against all rivals, what I’d prefer to see is the season shortened by a few games, cutting back as far as to 154, and the division series enlarged to a seven game set — I think best of five for a series of that importance is foolish, and have… Read more »
wpDiscuz