I’m going to try and do these every Monday from now on. The Cubs are coming off a very nice 4-game sweep in Milwaukee with a chance to do even more damage in the next week. They’ve got 3 in Pittsburgh starting tonight and then return home for four against the Giants.
Baseball Prospectus’ Adjusted Standings
The Cubs have only scored 7 more runs than they’ve allowed so the 1st Order Standings will show the Cubs have been quite lucky. The Cubs have scored the fewest runs in the NL Central.
2nd Order records replace actual runs scored and allowed with projected runs based on the team’s statistics.
The Pirates and Cardinals have both been rather lucky.
3rd Order records further adjusts the standings to reflect the quality of the opponents. It attempts to be the best indicator of how well a team has actually played.
While the Cardinals still maintain a solid advantage over the rest of the division, the Cubs move up to 2nd place. Were these the actual standings, we wouldn’t be talking about winning a playoff spot that didn’t exist a couple seasons ago. We’d be talking about possibly winning the division, with a little luck though the Cubs would have a lesser win-loss record.
Below are the rest of season standings with PECOTA’s projections.
The Cubs win the Wild Card, but it goes down the last day of the season.
There are essentialy three playoff spots up for grabs at this point. The Cardinals and Dodgers would have to collapse down the stretch to not win the divisions they’re in. The Pirates probably have to do the same to not win one of the Wild Card spots leaving 2 playoff spots with one of them guaranteed to go to a team in the NL East (Nationals or Mets). This leaves the Nationals/Mets and the Cubs and Giants left fighting for that last spot.