Posts Tagged predictions

Prognostication Corner: Your Headquarters For Misapplied Formulas and 51 Percent Accurate Baseball Picks

Now that Tax Day has come and gone, the only thing left to dread about mid-April may be the ungodly formatting and scheduling of the NBA playoffs. They begin on Saturday, when the first games of four best-of-seven series are to be played.

The most important tournament in professional basketball is often marred in its early rounds by four-game sweeps or similarly short series which lead to first- and second-round games being played during the same time period. We can probably expect this tradition to continue this year, assuming the NBA hasn’t wised up yet — and why would they? — and decided to have a more organized playoff schedule. The probability of multiple rounds being contested at once is particularly high with a stacked Western Conference producing several high-profile first round matchups while a top-heavy Eastern Conference continues to lag behind.

Anyway, it’s pretty late now and I actually have to be up somewhat early to run a couple of errands that I’ve repeatedly put off throughout the week. So I’ll cut to the chase. I’m letting the wacky formula that served me so well in March once again try to carry the day in for the NBA Playoffs. This is a concern for a couple of reasons. First, the college and NBA games are different in many ways. The pro game is longer, involves more shooting and is played at a faster pace than the college game. The games are more likely to turn into track meets in the pros than in the NCAA. Also, the college tournament is a series of “best of ones” played at neutral sites, so it’s easier to just pick a flat-out winner of each game using a formula that doesn’t contain anything involving home-court advantage.

While these items are of some concern, a.) there’s nothing I can really do about it and b.) the formula has effectively projected at least one of the two teams to appear in the NBA Finals in each of the last four years. So, it doesn’t appear to be a complete lost cause.

Anyway, here are the quick and dirty NBA picks, along with my even dirtier (I guess?) guesses of how long each series will take. I sort of have a system when I pick these numbers, but let’s just say it’s in an experimental stage right now.

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Time To Start Drawing Inspiration From Jim Leyland (4/9 in MLB)

The Detroit Tigers won their first game today, improving from winless to just very bad with a 7-2 win over the Boston Red Sox.

The Tigers, my pick to win the World Series (well, of course), have had a nightmarish start to their season, with injuries sidelining Curtis Granderson, Gary Sheffield, Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney for some or all of the team’s first eight games.

It’s easy to pin the team’s struggles on its weakened bullpen, but that hasn’t been its only issue. The Tigers, predicted by some to score 1,000 runs this season, had produced only 15 in the seven games prior to tonight’s victory. After tonight’s seven run outburst, the Tigers will have to average roughly 6.35 runs per game the rest of the way to meet that unrealistic expectation.

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4/8 Roundup: Mets Get Rickroll’d, NHL Picks Used As Diversionary Tactic

The way I figure it, there are going to be a shit-ton of articles tomorrow from the members of the sports media who just happened to learn of this Internet fad called the Rickroll. Now, to be fair, these sportswriters aren’t going to have the ability to bust out video feeds and what have you to accentuate their point. Seeing how this is a blog, though, I do have that opportunity, and will take full advantage.

And since once of the videos contains the Mets’ P.A. announcer explaining the entire situation, we’ll just move right on to the media portion of this post.

We’ll start with the portion of the Rickroll that reached the largest number of people, courtesy of this afternoon’s SNY telecast:

Following the jump, we have four more videos from fans who attended today’s game — courtesy of YouTube, natch — and a fifth video which, well, you just have to watch it.

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Oh Crap, There Was Baseball On Today? (Links to April 5 Box Scores, Since I Have Nothing To Add)

Even less to add than my usual nothing may be more like it. Sorry, but my brain is pretty much fried from the two basketball games tonight. I caught the final inning of Chicago’s win over the Tigers that put Detroit at 0-5. This was especially unfortunate since I apparently missed Dontrelle Willis apparently throw five of the shittiest one-hit innings in Major League baseball history. His final line: 5 IP, 1 H, 3 ER, 7 BB, 0 K. Yes. Seven walks and zero strikeouts. This is the guy I felt would make the difference in an October series with the Red Sox. I feel stupid.

That reminds me, I also happened to notice that Ken Rosenthal picked the Atlanta Braves to win the World Series. Even with the team I picked to win it all struggling to win at all, that prediction is just ridiculous to me. Their bullpen sucks and they haven’t significantly improved last year’s team, which was good, but surely wasn’t winning any championships. You could argue that shedding Andruw Jones was addition by subtraction, but seeing as how he was replaced with Mark Kotsay, you would be dead wrong. And, again, does anyone expect that starting rotation to remain healthy? I think Mike Hampton just hurt his shoulder again trying to raise his hand.

Oh! I also saw Jonny Gomes make a fool of himself in the second inning of the Rays-Yankees game by going into a home run trot on a hard-hit ball that bounced off the upper part of the wall in right field at Yankee Stadium. Rightfielder Bobby Abreu quickly recovered the ball and fired it to second base. At about the point when he was dead between first and second bases, Gomes noticed, “Oh shit, I guess it wasn’t a home run!” He made a half-assed effort to rush back towards first base, then just gave up and was tagged out. It was not his finest moment.

In the bottom half of the inning, Gomes was charged with an error in, yes, right field, when he simply failed to catch a routine fly ball hit by Hideki Matsui. Though he didn’t actually drop the ball or make contact with it, the play was so disgraceful that the official scorer at Yankee Stadium felt obligated to give him an error anyway. This was also not Gomes’ finest moment.

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Nobody’s Perfect, But Detroit’s Still Winless (April 4 Roundup)

It didn’t take all that long for the final undefeated team to take a loss in the 2008 Major League Baseball season. The Kansas City Royals had their hopes of a 173-0 season dashed on Friday night when they were edged out by the Minnesota Twins, 4-3. Lefty John Bale, making his first Major League start since September 18, 2003, kept his then-unblemished team in the game by allowing four runs in 6 1/3 innings. Unfortunately for Bale and the Royals, Minnesota’s Scott Baker was a little bit better. The Twins righthander threw 6 2/3 innings of 3-run ball, allowing seven hits and walking none while striking out two.

When Baker departed, he turned the game over to the capable back end of the Minnesota bullpen. Pat Neshek and Joe Nathan joined forces to record the final seven outs of the game while only allowing one hit, enabling the Twins to hang on for the win.

The Royals fall to 3-1 following the loss, and are now tied with the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers for the best record in baseball.

The Detroit Tigers find themselves on the other end of the spectrum after losing their fourth consecutive game to begin the season. A.J. Pierzynski led the charge against the Tigers today, delivering a three-run home run and driving in a total of five runs to lead the Chicago White Sox to an 8-5 win. The White Sox improved their record to 2-2, while the Tigers fell to 0-4.

A quick look at the remainder of Friday’s games after the jump.

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My Bad On Garza-Cabrera (April 2 MLB Roundup)

A day ago, I pointed out what I thought was an interesting pitching matchup in Wednesday’s Tampa Bay-Baltimore meeting. The game was to involve two pitchers who had previously dominated the opposing team — Matt Garza for Tampa Bay (3-0, 2.16 ERA in three starts vs. Baltimore) and Daniel Cabrera for the O’s (6-0, 3.04 ERA in 11 starts against the Rays). I speculated that pitching would likely be the key to the game, even calling it a “sleeper” matchup.

Well, I was wrong. Neither pitcher made it past the sixth inning — Cabrera was gone after four — and neither factored into the decision. Cabrera was particularly awful, relinquishing six runs on six hits in the four innings. As he often does, Cabrera also struggled with his control, walking five batters while only striking out a pair.

Garza’s line wasn’t much prettier. He got the hook after tossing 5 1/3 innings of 5-run ball. He allowed six hits and walked two batters while striking out three. Despite his poor outing, the former Twin left the game in a position to pick up his fourth win in as many starts against the Orioles.

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You Can’t Box In Larry Bowa (and Other Stories from April 1 in Major League Baseball)

It wasn’t the day’s biggest story — the derailment of Pedro Martinez’s return due to a leg injury earns that distinction — but on April Fools’ Day, it seems appropriate to focus on the day’s wackiest story.

Enter Larry Bowa.

The high-strung former Phillies manager, now a third base coach for Joe Torre’s Los Angeles Dodgers, was thrown out of Tuesday night’s Giants-Dodgers game for arguing with third base umpire Ed Montague.

“What was he arguing?” you may ask. And then you might venture guesses such as balls and strikes, a close play at third, or whether a ball hit down the line was fair or foul. All are fairly common arguments, after all.

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