Before the Chicago Cubs kick off their May slate of games today, let’s check in on some things …
- The Cubs’ record is 12-8.
- The Cubs are in second place in the NL Central, 2.5 games behind the Cardinals.
- The Cubs’ .600 winning percentage is 4th best in the NL, 7th best in baseball. If the season ended today, the Cubs would claim the first Wild Card spot.
- All that despite having played, so far, the toughest schedule in the National League. The combined winning percentage of the Cubs’ opponents is .549. By contrast, the Cardinals’ strength of schedule so far is just .450, easiest in the NL.
- Indeed, the Cardinals have already played 10 games – nearly 50% of their total so far – against the woeful Brewers and Phillies.
- Unfortunately, May doesn’t look much easier for the Cubs. Although they’ll play six games against the Brewers and three against the (surprisingly not terrible yet) Diamondbacks, the rest of the month is full of excellent teams. The story is mostly the same for the Cardinals, at least.
- The Cubs’ Pythagorean Record – their expected record based on runs scored and allowed – is 11-9, but their second and third order expected records, according to BP, are both 12-8. The latter records better reflect the Cubs’ actual underlying performance. In other words: the Cubs have earned their record so far.
- By contrast, the Cardinals’ second and third order expected records are a game worse than their actual 15-6. Of course.
- PECOTA projects the Cubs to go 76-66 over the rest of the season, a half game better than the Cardinals. That would give them an 88-74 record for the season, which sounds nice.
- FanGraphs projects the Cubs to go 74-68 over the rest of the season, a game and a half worse than the Cardinals. That would give them an 86-76 record for the year, which sounds less nice, but not too shabby.
- Baseball Prospectus has the Cubs’ playoff chances at 61.5% right now, which is awesome. They’ve got a 4.8% chance of winning the World Series, according to BP, if you wanted to know.
- FanGraphs has the Cubs’ playoff chances at 54.6% right now, which is still solid. They’ve got a 3.3% chance of winning the World Series, according to FanGraphs.