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Series Preview: Seattle Mariners @ Tampa Bay Rays

Seattle: 78-72
Tampa Bay: 77-73


-91.7 (30th)
54.6 (5th) TBA
76.2 (1st)
58.0 (3rd) SEA
-36.0 (23rd)
-6.4 (17th) TBA
-24.6 (29th)
-17.8 (23rd) TBA
-76.1 88.4 Tampa Bay


So we took two out of three from the Yankees. You want another example of why the postseason is random? If this past series was a first round matchup, we would be up 2-1 and have Felix Hernandez available to pitch in one of the two remaining games. We would be something like 70% favorites to knock the Yankees, the best team in the American League by far, out of the playoffs.

Baseball has reached a decent conclusion that it takes roughly 162 games to determine whether a team deserves to make the playoffs or not. So much of that is because individual games are so largely influenced by non-deterministic factors and the individual pitching match up. NFL games, as a contrast, contain about ten times more information about the team's relative strengths as an individual baseball games. Which is why they play about 1/10th as many games. It's not the only reason of course, but each major sport generally settles at the number of games and playoff berths that produces the same probabilistic equations for standard deviation and variance when it comes to playoff qualification. It's just one of those things.

So then, it strikes me as weird how baseball willfully accepts such a flukey playoff system. And then it struck me as weird that we as a culture so readily accept the idea of playoffs at all. I would hope that most people acknowledge that the team with the best regular season record is most likely the most talented team that season.* So why playoffs? Entertainment is not logical.

* Exceptions made for blithering idiots who subscribe fully to "clutch", "getting things done when it counts", and other such drivel that belongs aside phrenology and alchemy.


Game 1: Ryan Rowland-Smith* vs. Jeff Niemann
Game 2: Brandon Morrow vs. TBA

Two game series. Apparently the second game seems likely started by either Wade Davis or Andy Sonnanstine, but whatever, Brandon Morrow is starting for us, so tune in if you like three ball counts.