Atlanta Braves off-day fun with math: we win the NL East

The Atlanta Braves celebrate another victory... but if the math is right, they'll soon celebrate another division crown. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
The Atlanta Braves celebrate another victory... but if the math is right, they'll soon celebrate another division crown. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s going to be a long two days until Atlanta Braves baseball is back with us, but until then… we have the math.

Sure, there’s still 5-1/2 weeks remaining in the regular season, but the folks over at (BR) have it already figured out:  the Atlanta Braves will win the NL East for the fourth straight year.

1000 iterations oughta be enough to convince anybody, so… what?  You have objections?  Okay…  let’s hear them:

What are the Phillies chances?

Pretty poor, actually:  BR thinks they’re down to a 20.7% chance of making the playoffs in any form… with only a15.8% chance of winning the division outright.

On the other hand, Atlanta has moved up to an 83% chance of winning the division, and 84.4% chance of being a playoff team, period. That’s pretty solid.

I suppose if their world collapses and they fail to win the East, their chances of making it as a Wild Card team are contingent on Cincy, San Diego, and even the Mets all failing down the stretch, too.

That would be a worst-case scenario, though:  if somehow Atlanta slips in as a Wild Card club — and it would be as the last slotted playoff team — then they’ve have to face the Dodgers or Giants in a loser-goes-home game in California.  Not the best scenario for success.

How close does it get at the end?

Their Braves lead is currently 4.5 games.  BR’s average finish puts the Phillies at… 4.5 games away at the end:  essentially no change from the current state.

That’s a bit off, though, and it’s probably because of the suspended game between the Braves and Padres that will be made up when Atlanta visits San Diego.  If that game ends as it currently stands (with the Pads leading by 1 run), then the final margin drops to 4 games.

BR thinks that the best Atlanta can do is a 92-69 record (let’s say 93, thanks to that San Diego game)… that represents a finish of 25-11 over the last 36 contests.

On average, they are looking at 87 or 88 wins… which means 19-17 or 20-16 in the remaining games.  That actually feels about right… eh, maybe a couple of games light, which could come down to something unknown like the two sets of games against Colorado (they are brutal to face in Denver).

On the other hand, the simulations suggest that the Phillies will peak at 88 wins, but average just 83.  That latter figure jives with the fact that they can’t shake loose of being right around the .500 mark.  Sounds vaguely familiar to another club I know of (until August happened).

What about the schedule… don’t the Phillies have it easier?

They do… by a bit.  BR rates their as about 0.6 wins easier than the Braves remaining schedule.

But you also have to be a better team to take advantage of that, and BR’s simulator doesn’t give Philadelphia that kind of credit.

Sure, things can change, but over the past month they’ve had some opportunities to beat the kinds of opponents that could boost them up… and it hasn’t happened.

After August 1st, the Phils were 52-53, a half-game ahead of the Braves.  Now they are at 63-62.  How would you rate their chances?

Forget the simulations:  anything can happen, so I just want to see baseball played out on the field.

I’m with you:  after all, just in the last 30 days, the Braves have dramatically changed their playoff odds:  up more than 60% in that time frame.  Over the same period, the Mets saw their fortunes drop 40% to the point of oblivion.

However… the regular season still has another 39 days to go… time enough for another dramatic swing if some team has it in them to change their own fortunes.

So yeah… forget the math and let’s watch some baseball.  It’s gonna be until Friday before we see that itch get scratched, but it will be a nerve-wracking stretch run once we get going again.

Next. We have him... but what to do with him?. dark

All that said… I’m still expecting to see the Brewers host our Atlanta Braves in a nice first round matchup in October.  So let’s watch it play out.