Quantifying Hope: Cubs Playoff Odds Now At 99 Percent

If the remainder of the season was to be played out 100 separate times, the Cubs would miss the playoffs once. Knowing the group of fans we’re dealing with here, that lone iteration could still be the stimulus for perseveration. That’s gotta be fun.

I’m sure most of you knew better than to run for the nearest ledge when the Cubs dropped both halves of a doubleheader to the Padres on Wednesday. It was the first time they’d lost consecutive games this year, the deepest into a season (32 games) a team has gone since the 1929 Philadelphia Athletics went 41 games. That A’s team went on to win the World Series that year…over the Cubs. So that’s fun.

Still it was a little disheartening to drop two straight, especially to a weak team. Seeing the chart below kinda helps to turn that frown upside down though.

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I’ll take 99 percent odds. I mean, that’s a little better than what Cincy is facing at this point. It’s cute that the Brewers still have a tenth of a percent there, huh?

And while it’s nice to see Pittsburgh and St. Louis languishing so far back, I think it’s only reasonable to expect them to creep up higher over the next few months. Can you imagine being the Pirates and staring down the barrel of a third straight Wild Card game? It makes me want to laugh at them and feel sorry for them at the same time. More laughing though, for sure.

FanGraphs has the Cubs projected at just over 101 wins too, which would have seemed incredible at the start of the season and now feels almost disappointing. One quick look at the projections of 86 and 85 wins for their division rivals, though, and the disappointment fades quickly.

The algorithm over at Baseball Prospectus isn’t quite as bullish on the Cubs, giving them only a 98.2 percent chance of reaching the postseason with 98 wins. Woof. But they’ve got the same 14/15-game cushion in the Central, which is nice.

The National league is really weird though, soooo top-heavy. Outside of the Cubs (99), Mets (86.8), Nationals (79.6), Dodgers (77), Cards (37.8), Giants (37.1), and Pirates (32.6), only the Marlins (18.4) boast double-digit probability (BP). FanGraphs is even more harsh when it comes to the bottom-feeders, giving the bottom seven teams a combined 8 percent shot at playoff baseball.

Basically, those Wild Card spots are going to come down to which of the better teams can set more dumpsters ablaze throughout the remainder of the season. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to take care of business when they play one another as well.

I’ll be monitoring these odds throughout the season, so be sure to check back next Friday to see how much the Cubs have tightened their grip on the throats of the rest of the league.

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