As we continue to digest the Phillies’ ugliest loss of the season this morning, let’s take a brief pause from dishing out blame and declaring the season over.
It’s probably in everybody’s best interest to step away from emotionally-driven eye test overreactions based on a disappointing three-game series. That’s how you end up declaring the season dead for a 39-32 team that has withstood multiple injuries to this point. Do the Phillies need to get healthier? Yes. Do they need a starter? Yes. Do they need more consistency from the lineup? Also yes! Do they need to fire everybody? No.
See how this goes? I know, I know. You want blood this morning because the Phillies disgraced your fandom, the city, and the game of baseball yesterday.
Matt Klentak sucks, analytics suck, Gabe Kapler is ________________.
Pound your fist on the table, call sports radio, send your angry group chat texts. Here’s the thing though–and I know this sounds crazy–you can admit this weekend did, in fact, suck and that the Phillies have problems without shoveling dirt on their grave. Start by checking the math.
Baseball Prospectus currently has the most favorable outlook for the Phillies, giving them a 52.8% chance to reach the postseason and a 29.5% chance to win the NL East. Those numbers, while appreciably lower than Atlanta’s 74.3% playoff and 54.2% division odds, still paint an optimistic picture. FiveThirtyEight’s model isn’t much different. The Phillies have a 51% chance to reach the postseason and a 28% chance to win the division, compared with the Braves’ 74% postseason and 51% division odds.
What do these numbers reveal? Truths. The red-hot Braves hold a slight division lead and are currently the stronger team. As such, they are the more likely team to both win the division and reach the playoffs. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean the Phillies can’t get healthier, address their flaws, and earn a postseason berth for the first time in eight years. Simply put, this favorable outcome is not the mathematical impossibility or disappointing certainty many are making it out to be this morning.
Looking at the numbers may not quite be as cathartic as complaining about everything, but, you know, just something to think about.