The truth is, I actually like to know the odds of things, because I appreciate the context. But, what with the release of the new ‘Star Wars’ trailer, and the subject of this here post, I couldn’t resist getting cute with the title.
So, the Chicago Cubs enter tonight’s NLCS game down 0-2 in the series, and you’re wondering, like I am, what the chances are that the Cubs can come back in this thing.
Historically, and in the sports that use this system, when a team is up 2-0 in a best-of-seven series, they’ve won the series 88.9% of the time (WhoWins). In baseball, only, the numbers have been slightly kinder to teams in the Cubs’ position, with an 82.9% win-rate for the 2-0 leader (CBS). The number improves further to 80.0% when the team in the hole is coming home, as the Cubs are.
FanGraphs is even more optimistic, pegging the Mets’ odds of finishing this thing out at just 77.8%.
For today’s game, only, BP’s PECOTA system gives the Cubs a 54% chance of winning, which hints at why the Cubs’ odds of coming back might be slightly better than the historical numbers – the Cubs are a touch better than the typical team in this position.
Still, even when viewed most charitably to the Cubs, their odds of moving on to the World Series at this point are long. That’s just the reality of being down 0-2.
But, hey, this team has seen long odds before.
On April 12, the Cubs were 2-2, having split in a rain-shortened series against the Cardinals to open the season, and then split the first two games in Colorado. They trailed in the 9th inning – a situation from which they came back in 2014 exactly zero times – and looked to be on their way to a sub-.500 start.
At that moment, the Cubs’ odds of winning the game were a meager 4.5%. Long odds.
Then Dexter Fowler did this, and the Cubs have been bucking the odds ever since: