Hot Start Increases Playoff Chances

Ok, so that title is obvious, of course doing well increases playoff chances. But sometimes lost in an early strong, or weak start, is that these games count just as much as the ones at the end. You wanna make it to the postseason? Win 90 games or so, and you’re in. It doesn’t matter if you win your first 90 and lose the next 72, you’d still finish 90-72.

But of all the teams over the last week, the Nats have, according to Accuscore, increased their chances of making the playoffs more than any other team in the league. On April 16, they were forecast with a 26.6% chance of playing extra games at the end, and on April 22 that number went up to 51.1%. That’s right, its a 24.4% differential, and it’s officially (according to Accuscore) more likely than not that they’ll make the playoffs.

More importantly than the differential, though, is their overall odds. Looking at the table below, it is clear that as of right now, they have moved themselves into that category:

The forecast still shows the Phillies winning the NL East, but the Nats now are in that spot more than 1/4 of the times through the simulation machine. Of course, all of this is very early in the season, a few wins here and there seem to make some big swings, but it’s still nice to see the Nats sitting there with that 5th playoff spot, even if it’s only April, and it’s only a simulation.

(As an aside, an interesting thing happened when I was writing this post. I always check a Category box in the WordPress editor when writing, and most of them end up with categories like “Hitting”, “Pitching”, “Prospects” and other things like that. With this post today, I wanted to check the “Playoffs” category, and I realized I didn’t have one. I had never needed to categorize a single post I made in 6 seasons of writing this with “Playoffs” and this is the first time it came up. It gives you an idea of where this franchise has been – and I don’t expect it to be the last time I use that Category.)

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