Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Gunning for Second in the NL Central

The Cubs are winning the Central; that's old news by now (and this week's playoff predictions have consistently had the Cubs winning the World Series too). But 1, 1.5, 3, 4, and 6.5 games back are five strong teams that make the NL Central the toughest division in baseball. St. Louis is the current #2 - but who really deserves that title?

Wins/Losses + Strength of Schedule (forgetting runs entirely):
Houston - 7th
Milwaukee - 11th
St. Louis - 12th
Pittsburgh - 15th
Cincinnati - 23th

Runs Scored/Allowed + Strength of Schedule (forgetting wins/losses entirely):
Houston - 9th
St. Louis - 18th
Pittsburgh - 19th
Milwaukee - 21th
Cincinnati - 22th

A more thorough algorithm:
Quality Wins (wins/losses + location + runs scored/allowed + strength of schedule):
Houston - 8th
Milwaukee - 9th
Pittsburgh - 11th
Cincinnati - 13th
St. Louis - 19th

Last 10 Games:
Houston - 2nd
Pittsburgh - 8th
Milwaukee - 19th
Cincinnati - 20th
St. Louis - 27th

Whew. So what do all of those rankings give us? Well, St. Louis drops out of second place, certainly. Let's look at the NL Power Ratings for today, showing only the NL Central:
1 - CHC
4 - HOU
7 - MIL
10 - PIT
11 - STL
12 - CIN

There we have it: the Houston Astros rank first in all of the NL Central polls (that omit the Cubs) and have the best chance of taking second in the division, which we project them to do with 90 wins.

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