Table of Contents

Thursday, July 24, 2014

That Roadtrip: Setback, or Correction?

The Reds were on quite a tear as they finished their schedule leading into the All-Star break, and pushed their playoff odds to 50% for the first time since the season began.  They were seven games over 0.500, 1.5 games behind the NL Central-leading Brewers, and unquestionably right in the thick of the NL Central race.

We're six games into the second half.  And a lot seems to have changed.  Six games in July shouldn't have that big of an effect on the season.  That said, it's hard to feel anything but beat down after what happened.  The Reds were swept twice, and are now in their worst losing streak of the season.  They are now just one game over 0.500, a full 5.5 games behind the Brewers, and three games behind the Pirates and Cardinals.  Their playoff odds have similarly dropped by a whopping 30% this week:

Yes, that 7-day delta on the Reds is EASILY the worst among any team in baseball.  The next worst are the Mariners and Cardinals at -10.4% each.

I'm trying to decide if I believe the magnitude of those changes.  30% seems high, and I've felt all season that these playoff odds seem to be a bit overly sensitive to the ups and downs of the baseball season.  But the Reds have fallen at the same time that the Brewers and Pirates have surged.  Getting swept by the team you're chasing hurts, especially when it cements a 6-game losing streak.

What makes this particularly painful is that it largely undoes much of the good that happened in July and early July.  BPro hasn't changed their rest-of-season projection for the Reds: they still see them as a 0.500 ballclub.  FanGraphs is a bit lower, but still has the Reds right around 0.500 the rest of the way.  From that perspective, one could argue that this losing streak is more a correction toward true talent levels than a temporary setback for a genuine playoff team.

The Reds aren't out of the race...but are far more of a longshot than they were just a week ago.  sigh.