For the second day in a row – on the strength of back-to-back wins in Los Angeles – the Chicago Cubs’ probability of winning the NLCS and advancing to the World Series has … gone up!
It’s no surprise, of course, as the Cubs take a 3-2 lead in the series back to Wrigley Field, but you might be surprised to see how stark the numbers are.
Indeed, by two separate measures (FanGraphs and FiveThirtyEight), the Cubs’ odds of reaching their first World Series since 1945 have increased beyond that of which we’ve seen in a long time (thanks Javy Baez and Jon Lester!).
If you recall, we last checked in on the Cubs’ overall (statistical) chances of reaching the World Series before Thursday’s game, where the tide had turned quite a bit after a big win in Game 4. At the time, FiveThirtyEight was calling the series for the Cubs (60-40), while FanGraphs saw it as more of a coin flip with a slight edge to the Dodgers (48-52).
Well, it’s a coin flip no more.
Let’s start with FanGraphs. Before the yesterday’s game, FanGraphs projected the following probability split between the Cubs and the Dodgers.
- Chicago Cubs: 48.3
- Los Angeles Dodgers: 51.7
But, after losing yesterday’s blowout, things have changed.
- Chicago Cubs: 73.4% (+25.1%)
- Los Angeles Dodgers: 26.6% (-25.1%)
The near-20% drop from yesterday has grown by another 25.1%, good for a 45%-ish two-day swing! With just two games remaining – both of which would be held at Wrigley Field (if necessary) – the tougher-on-the-Cubs FanGraphs model seems to finally think things have turned in the Cubs favor, despite the pitchers expected to go for the Dodgers tonight and tomorrow.
And they’re not alone.
Before yesterday’s game, FiveThirtyEight had the Cubs as a solid, but not certain favorite in the series, giving them the edge three times out of five, but, like FanGraphs, things can change quite quite dramatically after a loss in Game 5:
- Chicago Cubs: 61%
- Los Angeles Dodgers: 39%
- Chicago Cubs: 81% (+20.0%)
- Los Angeles Dodgers: 19% (-20.0%)
Like yesterday, another Cubs win bumped their odds up another 20%. According to FiveThirty Eight, the Chicago Cubs now have a 4 in 5 shot of reaching the World Series. I’m blown away.
That said, we know it’s not going to be easy. The Cubs have to get through two pitchers – Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill – that were not just really good this entire season, but who also just shut out the Cubs in Games 2 and 3. It’s an uphill battle, but it is achievable.
We’ll have more on Clayton Kershaw and the Cubs chances against him later today. For now, just breathe, because you never know, they might just do it.