Time to update our post from last week, 32 Games Left and Counting Down to the #Nats in the Post-Season. A Sunday morning update thanks to the Nats and Mets playing the Sunday night ESPN game. We wanted a good news post for today after yesterday’s loss.
The Nationals have 27 games left in the regular season and their Magic Number to win the division is 18 after Saturday’s games.
The lead to wind the NL East is now 9.5 games; up 1.5 games over our last counting down post. And even if the Mets win the Sunday night game, the Nats are still in better shape than last week with their 8.5 game lead. And, a Nats win would make that lead 10.5 games.
Let us put the lead in perspective. Even if the Mets and/or Marlins go on a torrid streak and play .750 baseball, the Nats would only have to win 11/12 of of their remaining 27 games to win the NL East.
The Nats have again not gained ground to the Cubs for the best record and home field in the NLCS – so just like last week it is time to just acknowledge that the only likely chance to have home field in the NLCS is if the Cubs lose to the WC team.
With respect to the race to have home field advantage for the NLDS, the Dodgers lost ground to the Nats. Last week our projections had the Nats at 92 wins, and the Dodgers at 90 and the Giants at 87. This week the numbers are getting better: 94 for the Nats and 89 for the Dodgers; with the Giants still sitting at at a projection at 87. Still time to root for the Giants against the Dodgers. The Nats won the season series with the Giants and so they have the tie-breaker for home field should the teams tie; but they lost the season series to the Dodgers, so the Dodgers have that tie-breaker.
And just like last week, not losing ground, let alone gaining a little ground, in the race for the NL East and still having the advantage of home field in the NLDS is a very good thing – as each day’s games go by, not giving up any ground to the teams chasing the Nats makes it that much harder on them.
The race for the Wild Card berths is tightening up. All the NL teams with a winning record so far are still in the race. Only 3 games separate the Cardinals who are the second WC and the Marlins who (at .500 now) are last in the race for the second WC spot
So lets take a look at the remaining schedules for these teams.
Just as we did last week and the week before, lets collapse this table to show how many games each of these teams have left against teams that are above/below .500 so far this year.
|TEAM||Below .500||Above .500|
And just as we did before, lets calculate a weighted average of the winning percentage for the opponents of these teams and use that percentage to project the total number of wins by the end of the season. Clearly, lots of assumptions here. And since all of these teams are all above .500, this might be an underestimate.
Unlike the table above which is ordered alphabetically by the team acronym, this one is ordered by the total number of projected wins (most wins to least wins).
|TEAM||Below .500||Above .500||Opponent Weighted Win %||WINS||PROJECTED||TOTAL|
The big picture view still suggests that the Cubs and the Nationals are pretty much a lock to win their respective divisions and hopefully meet in the NLCS. Based on looking at both games against teams above/below .500, and the weighted average win percentage of their opponents, the Pirates, Cardinals and Marlins have the toughest road to a Wild Card berth in terms of their remaining schedule. It looks like it might be a close race, primarily between the Cardinals and the Mets. So if you want to see the Mets miss the post-season, we have another reason (as if we needed another one) to want the Nats to beat the Mets in the Sunday night ESPN game.
Bottom line is that the Nats are in great shape for the post-season
But as we all know, and have said in each of the prior counting down posts, there is a reason they actually play the games!