Baseball Toaster The Griddle
A place where a man can slow down to a walk and live his life full measure, but he has to keep his watch on Pacific Time.
Frozen Toast
Google Search
The Griddle

02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  10  07 
06  05  04  03 
Suggestions, comments, ring the catcher's interference alarm?

Email me at

The stuff I keep track of
Random Game Callbacks

Select a date:

Personal favorites that I wrote
They might be contenders?
2006-08-28 10:08
by Bob Timmermann

When writing up my daily previews of action, I've been trying to decide which teams are contenders for a playoff spot or worthy of mention.

At first, I thought it would just be teams were either in first or second place in a division or teams within five games of the wild card and above .500.

However, the National League has made it tough this year.

So, I'm thinking of using this definition.

Contenders are:
1) Teams in first place
2) Teams in second place until they are mathematically eliminated
3) Teams with a greater than 10% chance of making the playoffs according to the Baseball Prospectus playoff odds report.

So in the AL, there are just seven contenders:
New York, Detroit, and Oakland (qualifying under clause 1); Boston, Minnesota, and Los Angeles (qualifying under clause 2); and Chicago (clause 3).

In the NL, there are just seven contenders:
New York, St. Louis, and Los Angeles (qualifying under clause 1); Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and San Diego (clause 2); and San Francisco (clause 3).

If there are people who genuinely believe that Florida or Houston have a shot at the playoffs, I will listen to their cases, but you would have to be pretty persuasive.

2006-08-28 10:29:14
1.   Monterey Chris
Under clause #3, San Francisco would not have been a contender a week ago. They changed from non-contender to contender status thanks to a good homestand (at least, after the Dodgers left town).

Clause #2 can yield teams that are really no longer contenders, but I think it is a good definition nonetheless.

2006-08-28 10:41:31
2.   misterjohnny
I think that you should amend #2, where after Sep 1 the second place team needs at least a 5% chance to make the playoffs. A team that is 10 back with 20 to play, while mathematically alive, is not a contender unless they are in the wildcard hunt.
2006-08-28 10:45:38
3.   Bob Timmermann
Then I guess under the suggestion in 2, the Red Sox are not in contention now.

Their chances of making the playoffs are sitting at 4.2% now.

2006-08-28 10:52:21
4.   Bob Timmermann
I would also add that the Bronx Banterites probably don't consider the Red Sox out of it until they can poke the team's lifeless corpse with a stick.
2006-08-28 11:00:25
5.   mehmattski
Okay, here goes my case for the Marlins. First, clause 3: Though only a 6% chance to make the playoffs, that 6% to make the wild card is the highest all season, and has risen a percentage point for each win during their win streak. Their schedule: They play 17 of their remaining 27 games at home, where they have a winning record. While the 7 games against the Mets doesn't look good, perhaps the Muts will be reeling/coasting at this point and the Marlins can steal 4 wins or so. Next, and perhaps most important, they play 14 of the remaining 17 games against teams ahead of them in the wild card race (Phillies and Reds). Could there be a repeat of 2003 when the Marlins absolutely murdered the Phillies down the stretch to get in?

Finally, on the team itself. The word of the year for the Marlins has been young pitching. Josh Johnson leads the world with a 2.90 ERA. Scott Olsen is striking out over 8 per 9 innings. Nolasco and Sanchez have both been effective since their callups. And of course there's Dontrelle Willis, in a down year but he has that playoff push experience.

The lineup, other than Miguel Cabrera with is 1.018 OPS, is best described as promising, but inconsistent. It seems that when Josh Willlingham is hot, Hanley Ramirez is cold. Right now its Mike Jacobs who is redhot for the Fish. The key to a playoff push here, is that all of the young hitters manage to click together, and can easily be a lineup that puts up 5 or 6 runs/game.

The defense leaves a bit to be desired, at least measured by Zone Rating. But ever since I saw Joe Girardi get thrown out of a split squad spring training game, I've been convinced that he has the fire to lead a team to victory.

Don't count out the kids!

2006-08-28 11:10:28
6.   Bob Timmermann
So are we now living in a world where the Marlins are more likely to make the playoffs than the Red Sox?

And Joe Girardi could very well be fired at the end of the year anyway!

2006-08-28 11:23:15
7.   Gagne55
The Mets have a 99.99985% chance at the playoffs. I'd like to see the one simulation in which they fell short.
2006-08-28 11:41:48
8.   DXMachina
7 I think that was the one where Lastings Milledge played in the field everyday.
2006-08-28 11:49:16
9.   misterjohnny
It's not Sep 1 yet. 7 games out on Sep 1? What is the greatest deficit a team has come back from with a month to play?

I know they are fewer than that from the wild card, but they have to leap a couple of teams.

2006-08-28 11:52:02
10.   misterjohnny
Would the Phillies be contenders if two teams leading the Wild Card had 76 wins each?
2006-08-28 11:55:53
11.   Bob Timmermann
I don't consider the Blue Jays wild card contenders.
2006-08-28 13:18:10
12.   misterjohnny
Yes but the Phillies are contenders by virtue of being in 2nd place, despite being 25 games back of the mets (ignoring the wc for a moment). BJs are in third place and thus don't fit your criteria.
2006-08-28 13:29:06
13.   Bob Timmermann
Perhaps the most important question I have is:

Are the Boston Red Sox playoff contenders?

Once that question is "answered", then I can have a definition.

2006-08-28 13:44:11
14.   misterjohnny
Only in beantown
2006-08-28 14:03:14
15.   das411
Hey Bob, what's the biggest split of win totals from a team that did not make the playoffs and one that did?

(ex: 2005 Indians with 93 wins vs Padres with 82 = 11 game split)

2006-08-28 14:19:18
16.   Bob Timmermann
I don't think comparing between leagues is a good way to go about this.

In 1973, the Dodgers won 95 games and finished second while the Mets won 82 and went all the way to Game 7 of the World Series.

2006-08-28 20:33:00
17.   Bluebleeder87
the Bronx Banterites probably don't consider the Red Sox out of it until they can poke the team's lifeless corpse with a stick.

& run if it moves (sorry i got a Simpson flashback Bob)

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.