Quantifying Hope: Cubs Projected for 93 Wins, 93 Percent Playoff Odds

Man, there’s nothing quite like a 7-2 homestand to calm shaky nerves. Three straight wins to open against the Reds and close against the giants were more soothing than a cup of Earl Grey and a bowl of Blue Dream (not that I know what those things are, mind you, just Googled things that mellow you out). Sandwiched in between those mini-runs was a 1-2 stretch that included a controversial rainout.

I suppose a more metaphorically inclined writer might call the last nine games a delicious sandwich made from very salty, sun-cured meats between delicious slices of sourdough. Probably a slice of pure Wisconsin cheese in there. But since I’m not that guy, I’ll just say that it felt good to beat up on the Brewers after they complained about sunburn. It was doubly satisfying to take care of the Giants after dropping the first of a four-game set in frustrating fashion.

While there was never a point at which the Cubs were in real danger, it was a little disheartening to see them down in the division and fighting just to string together a pair of wins. You can see from the chart below that the Cardinals had been edging closer throughout May and had closed the gap significantly there for a bit. After going 4-6 over their last 10, however, St. Louis has dropped off a bit.

On the strength of their recent run, not to mention that whole superior talent thing, the Cubs have maintained some of the highest playoff odds in baseball. According to FanGraphs, their chances to reach the postseason now stand at 93.1 percent and they should finish with a 93-69 record. I suppose a more sophomorically inclined writer might use the word “Nice” at this point, but I’m clearly above such shenanigans.

Ever the party-pooping killers of buzzes, Baseball Prospectus has the Cubs at only 88.8 projected wins and a mere 78.6 percent chance to make the playoffs. And that’s after a 3.2 percent jump in the wake of their most recent win. With the Brewers in a freefall and the Cardinals playing like the .500 ballclub they should be, the Cubs have a real chance to bump those numbers on this Western swing.

Three games against the Dodgers, who boast the best playoff (98.3) and World Series (18.5) odds in baseball, will be a stern test of the Cubs’ mettle. Of course, they’ll have a soft landing with three more against the Padres before heading back home. I could say more about this whole thing, but stopping right here puts me at exactly 420 words.

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