Pirates Playoff Odds: Impact of the Losing Streak and the Most Important Week Coming Up

The Pittsburgh Pirates have had a horrible week. They went 1-5 since last week’s playoff odds update, and to make matters worse, all of the other teams in the race around them had good weeks. Milwaukee went 4-1. St. Louis went 5-1. Atlanta went 6-1. San Francisco went 4-2. As you could expect, the playoff odds plummeted. In last week’s projections, the Pirates were holding on to the second Wild Card spot. In this week’s projections, they’re holding on to the title of “contender.”

The playoff odds and projections come from the top three projection sites: Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs and ClayDavenport.com. Here are the latest projections.

Baseball Prospectus: 82.9 wins, 21.8% chance to make playoffs

The Baseball Prospectus odds dropped about two and a half wins over the last week, and the odds of making the playoffs is almost a third of what it was last week. This is the lowest of the three projections.

FanGraphs: 83.4 wins, 22.7% chance to make playoffs

FanGraphs saw a two win drop from last week, along with the playoff odds going from 59.5% to 22.7%.

Clay Davenport: 83.3 wins, 28.5% chance to make playoffs

Clay Davenport has been the highest on the Pirates all season, and this remains true once again. Still, the Pirates lost about 2.5 wins, and saw their odds drop from 63.5% to 28.5%.

The Competition

Here are the rankings of the NL contenders. To get “contender” status, a team must have a 15% or better to make the playoffs in all three projection systems.

  Team Odds W L

1

Nationals

99.2

93

69

2

Dodgers

96.6

91

71

3

Brewers

86.4

89

73

4

Cardinals

82.3

88

74

5

Giants

64.6

86

76

6

Braves

41.0

85

77

7

Pirates

24.3

83

79

The Pirates took a dive in the projected standings this past week. Last week the Braves didn’t even have “contender” status, since they had dropped below 15% in one of the projections. This week, the Braves are ranked higher than the Pirates. One more week like this, and the Pirates will probably lose “contender” status.

The key here is Atlanta. They show what the Pirates need to do, and that is simply win a lot of games while the guys in front of you don’t win as many games. It’s not exactly earth shattering analysis. It also means that things aren’t totally going to be in your control.

Fortunately for the Pirates, things are in their control. This weekend they kick off a three game series in Milwaukee. Next week they start a six game home stand, with three against the Cardinals, and three against the Reds. That’s followed by three more at St. Louis to start the month of September. Nine of their next 12 games are against the two teams directly ahead of them in the NL Central standings.

I don’t want to say the season rests on the next two weeks, because anything can happen. But it’s hard to imagine the Pirates making the playoffs after a horrible stretch against the two teams they need to pass to make the post-season. They’re in a unique position to not only put together a winning stretch, but also give their competition a losing stretch. If that happens, they could be projected to be in the playoffs again by this time next week.

Analysis

  • weltytowngang
    August 22, 2014 6:17 pm

    The past 2 seasons reminds me of the Pirates of the late 50’s: In 58, they came in second after years of doing nothing; then in 59, they slipped to fourth; and everyone knows what happened in the 1960. I hope they do it this year but history may repeat itself.

  • The odds remind of the media and the fans, the Bucs win a game and they are going to the WS, loose a game and people want the entire organization fired. What is important is to know why the Pirates went through a losing streak and whether or not they will recover, something only time will tell.

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