Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

cubs win standings flags scoreboardI hope to see many of you at today’s game in the right field bleachers, where we’ll celebrate the Cubs clinching their first playoff berth since 2008. Probably. Maybe. I’ll be wearing a red and blue tie dye shirt, because I do what I want.

  • If the Cubs do clinch, we can start thinking about how the playoffs might shake out. To that end, Bovada’s latest odds came out for the playoffs, and they had the Cubs at 10:1 to win the World Series (tied with the Pirates, behind the Dodgers/Mets/Cardinals, who were all at 6:1). Given that 10 teams will make the playoffs, and given that betting lines, in part, reflect how aggressively a team is being bet, that makes sense to me. What I found more interesting, though, is that the Cubs were 6:1 to win the National League, whereas the Pirates are 5:1 (each of the Dodgers/Mets/Cardinals are 5:2, which makes sense since they won’t have to win a one-game Wild Card playoff to get to the divisional round). Why would the Pirates have such better odds than the Cubs? Is it because of the slim chance that they overtake the Cardinals in the regular season? I guess so. But BP’s got the Pirates’ divisional odds at just 6.5%, and FanGraphs is even lower at 4.1%. In other words, I wouldn’t take the worse odds on the Pirates right now.

  • Given the extremely flukey nature of the playoffs – they are a crapshoot, if you will – I like to think of every series as a coin flip for the purposes of my own expectations. Thus, the Cubs have a 50% chance of winning the Wild Card Game, a 50% chance thereafter of winning the NLDS, etc. If you combine it all, the Cubs have a 25% chance of reaching the NLCS, and a 12.5% chance of reaching the World Series, and a 6.25% chance of winning the World Series. FanGraphs likes the Cubs a touch more than the coin flip (6.6%), and BP likes them a little less (6.1%).

  • Another look at Joe Maddon’s eschewing of batting practice in the Wall Street Journal, which underscores that the extra rest has likely proved beneficial for the Cubs. Maddon made these points earlier this year, and it sounds like he was right.
  • A really fantastic read on Kyle Schwarber’s background, hometown, father, and how he became what he is.
  • A sobering read on Ernie Banks’ later years.
  • A fun read from Carrie Muskat on the anniversary of Jim Deshaies striking out eight in a row to start a game.
  • The I-Cubs are starting their internship hiring process.
  • If you missed Scoreboard Watching or the Series Preview today.
  • A couple stray tweets that you may have already seen, but they’re fun, so I don’t want folks to miss them:

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