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Thursday Rockpile: Rockies wild card scenarios rise; Giants, Marlins and Braves must pray for help

So with yesterday's victory over the Giants, the Rockies increased their lead in the NL wild card race to 3.5 games over San Francisco and maintained a 4.5 game edge on Florida and a 5 game lead over Atlanta. The Rockies with 15 games left have the least opportunity to make something more happen, but the other teams face considerable deficits just to get back into the picture.

Below I've used's Monte Carlo simulation data along with information from Baseball-Reference to see what the Rockies competitors have done so far this season to see how likely they are to overcome the deficit they have to the Rockies. Needless to say, the picture is pretty rosy for the Rockies and pretty bleak for everybody else.


Atlanta Braves:


  • Current Record: 77-68
  • Games remaining: 17
  • Wins needed to get to 83: 6
  • Opponents: Washington 7, Mets 4, Phillies 3, Marlins 3
  • So you're saying there's a chance: The Braves have a 1 in 250 shot of making the playoffs if they finish 10-7
  • Coin-Toss: Atlanta' has a 49.6% chance of the playoffs if they finish 14-3
  • Rocktober Redux: If Atlanta goes 16-1 and finishes at 93-69, they will have a 90.5% chance of making the playoffs
  • Atlanta's best 17 game stretch of 2009: 12-5, accomplished four times, most recently between August 5 and August 23. Duplicating that gives the Braves a 10% shot at the playoffs.

The heavy presence of the Nationals gives the Braves the easiest remaining schedule, but they also have the deepest hole to climb out of.


Florida Marlins:


  • Current Record: 78-68
  • Games Remaining: 16
  • Wins needed to get to 83: 5
  • Opponents: Phillies 6, Reds 4, Braves 3, Mets 3
  • So you're saying there's a chance: The Marlins have a 1 in 300 shot of making the playoffs by finishing 9-7.
  • Coin-Toss: Florida's chances jump from 29.6% if they finish 12-4 to 58.3% if they finish 13-3.
  • Rocktober Redux: The Marlins have a 96.5% chance of making the playoffs if they go 15-1 the rest of the way.
  • Florida's best 16 game stretch of 2009: 11-5, accomplished three times, most recently June 18 through July 5. Duplicating that gives Florida a 10.4% chance at the playoffs.

As with Atlanta, the Marlins are faced with the proposition of having to be better than they have all season to become a likely playoff team. Unlike Atlanta, their remaining schedule isn't filled with patsies and they haven't had the same level of success since the All-Star break that they had before it.  


San Francisco Giants:


  • Current Record: 79-67
  • Games Remaining: 16
  • Wins needed to get to 83: 4
  • Opponents: Arizona 6, Cubs 4, Dodgers 3, Padres 3
  • So you're saying there's a chance: If the Giants go 8-8, they'll have a 1 in 200 shot at making it into the playoffs over the Rockies.
  • Coin-Toss: San Francisco's odds improve from 43.7% if they finish 12-4, to 64.8% if they finish 13-3.
  • Rocktober Redux: If the Giants finish the season 15-1, they will have a 94.1% chance of making the playoffs.
  • San Francisco's best 16 game stretch of 2009: 11-5, accomplished 10 times, most recently July 23 to August 8. The other nine times they did this were in May or June. If the Giants do finish with another 11-5 run, they would have a 24% chance of making the playoffs. Their chances drop to just 10% finishing at 10-6.

The Giants still seem to be the most likely competitor to catch the Rockies. Obviously we should hope Colorado keeps on winning first and foremost, but if we're scoreboard watching, the fourth (71 losses overall) and sixth (73 overall) losses by San Francisco from here on out loom large for their impact on the race. 

Colorado Rockies


  • Current Record: 83-64
  • Games Remaining: 15
  • Opponents: Cardinals 4. Dodgers 3, Brewers 3, Diamondbacks 3, Padres 3
  • So you're saying there's a chance: If Colorado limps to a 2-13 finish, they actually still have a 1 in 500 shot at making the playoffs according to the Monte Carlo simulation.
  • Coin-Toss: The Rockies break the 50-50 barrier by getting their sixth win. From 89 wins on, they are the favorites.
  • Rocktober Redux: A 14-1 finish gives the Rockies a stone cold lock on the playoffs and actually makes them likely (56% of the time) to have the best record in the National League.
  • Colorado's best 15 game stretch of 2009: 14-1, accomplished four times during the team's June run. So the only team in the wild card chase that's shown itself capable of putting together the kind of run needed to catch the Rockies would be the Rockies themselves.

The Rockies have the most diversity in their remaining schedule with five different opponents, which could play to their advantage as familiarity breeds neutrality, but what certainly doesn't play to their advantage is being the only team of these four to face two current division leaders. Still, it's encouraging that even just six wins out of these last fifteen puts them in the playoffs most of the time.

Other links after the jump.

Jason Marquis believes the problem in his last four outings is a flaw in the early part of his windup, not something related to the importance of games.

Denver Post