Math and the Reds


One of the more prevalent tones I have read as of late is that we can’t look too far ahead. The ol’ “one game at a time” and “a series at a time” are constant refrains we hear from practically each and every Reds player and the coaching staff. While I am taking that under advisement (of which I’m not adhering to here), I took a look at the remaining schedules for the Reds, Pirates and Cardinals. It was a glimpse that revealed a few surprises.

When I first scanned the games each team has left, my hope was to arrive at final record based on not only who was left on the schedule, but estimate that record due to each team’s winning percentage against their opponents. That was not possible.

For one, the Cards have yet to play the Nationals. Two, the Reds have yet to play the Phillies. The Pirates have played every NL team. Scheduling quirks…

So, I decided on using the each team’s home and away winning percentages. Well look at each team individually.

1. Reds (71-47, 44 games remaining, 22 at home, 22 on the road)

Of the three NL Central teams, the Reds have the highest winning percentage at home (.644) and the highest winning percentage on the road (.559). This bodes well for the Good Guys.

Current: 71-47
22 home: 14-8
22 away: 12-10
Total: 97-65

2. Pirates (65-53, 44 games remaining, 21 at home, 23 on the road)

The Pirates show a winning home record (37-23, .617), but a losing road record (28-30, .483). They have played two more games at PNC Park, so spending those extra two games on the road could prove costly in the overall standings.

Current: 65-53
21 home: 13-8
23 away: 11-12
Total: 89-73

3. Cardinals (64-54, 44 games remaining, 12 at home, 23 on the road)

Like Pittsburgh, the Cars also show a winning home record (36-24, .600) and losing road record (28-30, .483). As you will soon see, arriving at the “final number” will be like splitting hairs.

Current: 64-54
21 home: 13-8
23 away: 11-12
Total: 88-74

I know what you might be thinking. How can the Bucs and Cards have the same record in their last 44 games if they have different home winning percentages? This is due solely to rounding, but in looking at the actual outcome of taking those home games, and if you want to see the exact product, here you go. The Pirates 21 games with their .617 winning percentage comes out to 12.957, or rounded to 13. For St. Louis, the 21 at .600 equates to 12.600, also rounded to 13.

Granted, this is non-scientific to the nth degree, but here’s everything all in one eyeshot.

1. Reds 97-65
2. Pirates 89-73
3. Cardinals 88-74

Upon coming to these, I decided to jaunt over to Baseball Prospectus. In a nutshell…

The Reds have the highest chance of any NL Central team of making the playoffs at 98.9%. They also show the highest percentage of winning the division (90.9%). As for the records, there is a change…

1. Reds (90.9%): 96.0-66.0 (My “study” above has them at 97-65)
2. Cards (6.3%): 89.5-72.5 (Mine was 88-74)
3. Pirates (2.8%): 87.3-74.7 (89-73 for me)

Well, my little foray wasn’t far off, now was it? One game off the Reds, possibly as much as two off the Cards and Pirates.

No, don’t crown NL Central champs yet…

If you’re wondering about the Reds having the NL’s best overall record, neither my math not BP has them doing so. Yes, the Nationals would be the NL’s top seed. Washington does hold a winning record at home (32-22, .593) and on the road (41-23, .641). They will play more games at home (27) than on the road (17). Yes, they play better on the road, but they still win almost 60% of their home games.

Here’s what I have…

Current: 73-35
27 home: 16-11
17 road: 11-6
Total: 100-62

Baseball Prospectus has the Nats finishing at 98.3-63.7. My difference would be three games while BP’s is two.

Now, let’s take something into consideration here. I mentioned this past Sunday in the Funnies, and it is certainly now a national debate, about the Nationals shutting down Stephen Strasburg once he reaches a certain innings limit. If the Nationals front office sticks to their guns on this, Strasburg might not miss as many starts as once thought. It will greatly depend on how many innings he will pitch in his remaining outings as well as exactly what the innings cap is.

Strasburg is currently sitting on 139.1 innings. If the number is 160, he has 20.2 innings left in 2012. We’ve also head (but not as much) 180. That would mean 40.2 innings remaining for 2012. I wouls not be surprised f the Nats decided to cut his starts down to 5 innings a start solely in an effort to have his serviced for the rest of this season.

If that goes to 6 innings, he would have 6 to 7 starts left. With 44 games left, Strasburg would miss one or two starts. With the BP difference being two, and say, the Nats lost both of those, the Reds would, under this scenario, have the exact record (according to BP) at 96-66. Under my computations, the Reds would still fall a game short with the Nats going 98-64 with the Reds going 97-65.

Sure, this is all purely based on math (from my end) and open to extreme interpretation.

Still, it is interesting.