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Rockies playoff odds looking long with two weeks to play

Colorado Rockies news and links for Sunday, September 13, 2020

In yesterday’s Rockpile, Justin Wick gave us an update on the remaining schedules for the other teams the Rockies are chasing for the final NL playoff spots. Their deficit behind the Giants, Marlins, Brewers, and Cardinals is such that we have to watch the scoreboard now. But what do the Rockies odds actually look like with two weeks to go?

If you’ve been around for a while you know that we like to do playoff odds updates as long as they’re relevant for the Rockies (it’s no fun re-hashing odds that never rise above 5% for the last two months of the season). We pull odds reports from projection systems at Five Thirty-Eight, FanGraphs, and Baseball Prospectus to provide an overview of what the numbers say about the make up of October. BP, however, is not updating their playoff odds this year (apparently PECOTA doesn’t like it), so we’ll stick with FanGraphs and Five Thirty-Eight. (If you can find me a good link to BP’s odds, I’ll include it next week).

All these numbers are current going into Saturday’s games.

2020 National League Playoff Odds

Team Record GB Run Diff FanGraphs Odds Five Thirty-Eight Odds ROS Opponent W%
Team Record GB Run Diff FanGraphs Odds Five Thirty-Eight Odds ROS Opponent W%
Dodgers 32-13 -- 98 100.0% >99% .522
Padres 29-17 3.5 70 100.0% >99% .510
Braves 26-19 6.0 52 99.1% >99% .476
Cubs 26-20 6.5 15 98.4% 99% .504
Phillies 22-20 8.5 4 84.3% 81% .501
Giants 23-22 9 5 63.5% 61% .520
Marlins 21-20 9 -28 44.9% 48% .520
Cardinals 19-19 9.5 25 67.9% 74% .482
Brewers 20-22 10.5 -19 52.4% 51% .502
Rockies 21-23 10.5 -43 22.2% 28% .526
Mets 21-24 11.0 9 41.1% 30% .520
Reds 20-25 12.0 -25 23.5% 22% .502
Nationals 17-26 14.0 -16 2.5% 7% .522
Diamondbacks 17-29 15.5 -41 0.1% <1% .474
Pirates 14-28 16.5 -59 0.0% <1% .515
ROS Oppenent Win % from FanGaphs

Keep in mind, we’re taking eight teams into the playoffs this year and the top three spots go to division winners, the next three to the runner up in each division, and the final two to the remaining teams with the best record. That means that even though the Padres have the second best record in the league (which feels weird to say, amirite?), they’d be the no. 4 seed and they’d get a first round match-up with the Phillies. That means those top four spots are more or less secure.

It gets a little crazy after that, since six teams are within two games of each other. Based on that, you might think that the Rockies would have just as high of odds as any of the other teams they’re bunched up with. But train your eye on that final column: rest of season opponent win percentage. That’s more or less a proxy for strength of schedule and, folks, the Rockies have the hardest schedule over the remaining two weeks. Four games against the best team in baseball (the Dodgers) drives that number up, sure. But the Rockies still have to play them.

So yes, the Rockies are less than two games out of a playoff spot as it stands today. But the teams ahead of them have more favorable schedules from this point forward, meaning the Rockies are going to have to go on a tear to make up for that lost ground.

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Saunders: Rockies’ to-do list to make the playoffs in 2020 | Denver Post

Obviously there’s a lot for the Rockies to overcome to get into the playoffs. By Patrick Saunders’ estimate, they’ll have to go 10-6 down the stretch (pending Saturday’s result) in order to finish 31-29 and play October baseball. He gives a breakdown of what else would need to happen to get there.

Sources: MLB’s postseason bubble plan awaits union approval | ESPN

If the Rockies DO make it to the playoffs AND make it past the first round, they’ll be a part of MLB’s bubble plan. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the first round will take place in the ballparks of the top four seeds and after that NL playoffs will be in Texas and AL playoffs will be in California. The World Series will be held at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, where the Rockies opened the season. So congratulations to Petco Park: you’ll actually get to see some playoff baseball for the first time since 2006 no matter what!