Wait a sec: I'm supposed to trust advanced statistical analysis from a dude who thinks if the season is 43 percent over, there's still 67 percent left to play? And says it twice? Sweet Mike Schmidt on a saltine.
I've really only got one major point to make in response to your post. But first a few clarifications. (I really wish I had saved the IM conversation so I could prove you said some of this.) The argument in question arose out of a back-and-forth Diesel and I were having about Jon Lieber going on the DL (in case any of you missed it, he twisted his ankle running to back up the catcher, right after he blew the lead). The Phils just lost Freddy Garcia and Myers is both on the DL and apparently entrenched in the 'pen, which means a team that started the season with 6 starters now has 3 and a guy they just called up from AA. I mentioned that there's been a lot of chatter about trading Aaron Rowand for another pitcher, and that the good folks over at A Citizen's Blog had mentioned Carlos Zambrano.
Diesel first said how inconsistent and volatile Zambrano is, and that he'd lost velocity. The first two, sure. I don't know if that last part is true, and I doubt if he does, either. But whatever. Then Diesel said the Cubs would "never trade Zambrano."
"Why not?" I asked. "He's an inconsistent pitcher in his walk year who just beat the shit out of the starting catcher. And they're not going to make the playoffs, so why not get something for him?"
Diesel took the bait and said something ridiculous about how the Cubs were even money to win the Central.
Thankfully, he's much more reasonable about it in his recent post, which makes sense save for that whole 43/67 thing, and what I think is another miscalculation. Namely, isn't it logically unsound to view the teams' current win/loss records as part of a probability of the entire season's? This is a hard idea to verbalize, so forgive me if this sounds patronizing. But here's what I'm trying to say:
1. The Cubs and Brewers already have their respective records. They are a statistical certainty.
2. The rest of the season is the only part that is still subject to statistical projection. Meaning 57 percent of the season.
3. Therefore, is it not unsound, logically speaking, to view what's already happened -- a statistical certainty, a fact -- as part of a season-long projection of performance? Wouldn't you have to treat only the remaining 57 percent as the statistical uncertainty? And wouldn't that make it even less likely that the Cubs go on a hot streak that coincides with a Brewers swoon, and that both happen to the tune of an 8.5 game margin? The certainty of the actual standings is why the adjusted standings don't matter -- if the adjusted standings were true, you'd have a much better chance of winning this argument, but they're not, so you don't. The Cubs need to be even more lucky for the rest of the year than they've been unlucky thus far. I feel like I'm not being clear, but hopefully you catch my drift.
20 percent sounds about right to me. That figure makes it less fun, because you were talking 50/50 earlier. But whatever. The Cubs are not going to win the NL Central. That's what I'm saying. Sure, I also said Freddy Garcia was going to be a valuable pitcher for the Phils this year, but what the fuck. I stick by it, and I'll stick by this. If you lose I want a Brewers hat (size 8 -- go ahead and laugh), and if you win I'll get you Dusty Baker's autograph.