Time to update our post from last week, 13 Games Left and Counting Down to the #Nats in the Post-Season.
The Nationals have clinched the NL East and now the focus needs to be home field advantage for the National League Divisional Series. The Nats have 7 games left and the Dodgers have 6 games left after today’s games. The Magic Number for the Nats getting home field advantage is 6. Turning that around, the Dodgers Magic Number for home field is 8. The Dodgers have the advantage of having won the season series with the Nationals so if the two teams end the season with the same number of wins, the Dodgers get home field.
However the Nats have the advantage of 7 remaining games: at home against teams that likely have nothing to play for except their pride (technically the Marlins aren’t out of the WC chase yet as the Magic Number for the Cardinals to eliminate them is 4 and for the Giants it is 3); while the Dodgers have 6 games remaining and 3 of those games are against the Giants who will likely be playing for a WC berth.
With respect to the race to have home field advantage for the NLDS, now that the Dodgers have clinched the NL West, they will be the Nats first round opponent. The only issue remaining is who has home field advantage. Last week our projections had the Nats at 95 wins, and the Dodgers at 91. This week the numbers are worse: still 95 for the Nats, but 93 for the Dodgers. So now is the time to start rooting for the Giants as they play the Dodgers in each teams final series of the season next weekend.
The race for the Wild Card berths is a 3-team race between the Giants, Cardinals and the Mets. While the Marlins and the Pirates are still mathematically alive, their chances are pretty slim.
So lets take a look at the remaining schedules for these 8 teams.
Games against teams also in the play-off chase, carry a bit more weight. So lets look at the games the 8 NL teams still in the race for the post-season have against each other. The Giants and the Dodgers have 3 games against each other; and no other games against anyone vying for a post-season slot. And the three most viable teams (the Mets, Giants and Cardinals) for the two Wild Card slots don’t have any games against each other.
The unknown here is how will the Marlins react to the death of Jose Fernandez. It is always hard to know if such events inspire a team to play harder/better; or cause them to play worse. The Marlins last 6 games are their next 3 against the Mets and then 3 against the Nats.
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. The Math Geek in me has to point out however that with so few games left, using any sort of algorithm that uses percentages to make projections is not terribly reliable. With lots of games, things will average out. Winning/losing is a binary (0/1) result and one or two games can have an out-sized impact.
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|
Bottom line is that the Nats are in great shape for the post-season.
So lets have a poll. When do you think the Nats will clinch home field advantage for the NLDS. The earliest the Nats can clinch is Thursday since the Dodgers don’t have a game on Monday. Clinching Thursday can only happen if the Nats sweep the four game series with the Diamondbacks, and the Dodgers lose their first two games against the Padres.
And unlike last week, there is no longer a question about when the Nats clinch the NL East Division title. That is now a done deal.
And now the standard reminder: As we all know, and have said in each of the prior counting down posts:
There is a reason they actually play the games!