clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NL Central race snapshot: After the games of September 25, how are the St. Louis Cardinals positioned?

New, 227 comments

After the games of September 25, how are the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Chicago Cubs positioned entering play on September 26?

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

All three National League Central division contenders played on Friday, September 26, 2015.

The Cardinals did not see their magic number shrink. However, their Central standings lead did, from four to three. With that came a reduction in their odds to win the division. According to Fangraphs, the Cards had 95.9% odds to win the Central before Friday's games. Entering play on Saturday, the Cardinals' odds have dropped to 88.9%.

The Cubs celebrated after Friday's loss. Why? Because Chicago secured a wild-card berth thanks to a San Francisco loss. It will be the Cubs' first postseason appearances since 2008. All three NL Central contenders have qualified for the postseason. Now it's just a question of who will be forced to compete in the NLDS play-in game.

Today's chart and graphic look at how the Cardinals, Pirates, and Cubs are positioned after the games Friday, September 25, and entering play on Saturday, September 26, 2015.

Rest-of-Season Records

How can the Pirates or Cubs catch the Cardinals and tie St. Louis for first place after Game 162? I resurrected the chart showing the scenarios in which this is possible. Red is the Cardinals. Yellow is the Pirates. Blue is the Cubs.

W

L

W%

Final W

Final L

Final W%

W

L

W%

Final W

Final L

Final W%

W

L

W%

Final W

Final L

Final W%

8

0

1.000

105

57

.648













7

1

.875

104

58

.642













6

2

.750

103

59

.636













5

3

.625

102

60

.630

8

0

1.000

102

60

.630







4

4

.500

101

61

.623

7

1

.875

101

61

.623







3

5

.375

100

62

.617

6

2

.750

100

62

.617







2

6

.250

99

63

.611

5

3

.625

99

63

.611







1

7

.125

98

64

.605

4

4

.500

98

64

.605

9

0

1.000

98

64

.605

0

8

.000

97

65

.599

3

5

.375

97

65

.599

8

1

.889

97

65

.599







2

6

.250

96

66

.593

7

2

.778

96

66

.593







1

7

.125

95

67

.586

6

3

.667

95

67

.586







0

8

.000

94

68

.580

5

4

.556

94

68

.580













4

5

.444

93

69

.574













3

6

.333

92

70

.568













2

7

.222

91

71

.562













1

8

.111

90

72

.556













0

9

.000

89

73

.549

Playoff Odds

I included the Fangraphs playoff odds, which are rendered like this:

The FanGraphs Playoff Odds are an adaption of the coolstandings.com playoff odds originally created by Greg Agami and Sean Walsh. To generate the playoff odds we simulate each season 10,000 times.

I used the Fangraphs projection mode for the playoff odds, though there are other options. This mode "uses a combination of Steamer and ZiPS projections and the FanGraphs Depth Charts to calculate the winning percentage of each remaning game in the major league season."

Magic Numbers

I added the Cardinals, Pirates, and Cubs' so-called magic numbers to the graphic as well. This represents the sum of eam wins and opponent losses necessary for that team to finish ahead of the opponent in the standings. I used the following formula:

Magic Number = 162 + 1 - (Team Win Total) - (Opponent Loss Total)

For fun I included the magic numbers for St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Chicago against all postseason contenders, including the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets, who are currently in first place and likely to win their divisions. It provide more context of the wild-card race. It also illustrates how close the Central champion is to potentially sealing home-advantage in the NLDS and, if they should happen to make it that far, the NLCS.