Computer simulation has the Angels winning the World Series the most often

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We live in a world where complex statistical models and sophisticated computer programs which internalize and process every conceivable baseball metric are openly mocked when they make predictions yet we are expected to take as gospel those predictions of 50 year-old baseball writers who think pleated Dockers are still in fashion and haven’t bought an album since Bruce dropped “Tunnel of Love.”

In light of that, I have no problem linking to a thing about a computer model from something called PredictionMachine.com which has simulated the 2013 baseball season 50,000 times:

PredictionMachine.com  has already played the 2013 MLB season 50,000 times before it’s actually played. The Los Angeles Angels win the World Series a league-high 12% of the time (6,153 of 50,000 times to be exact). The Detroit Tigers (10%), Washington Nationals (10%), Cincinnati Reds (9%), Los Angeles Dodgers (8%), Tampa Bay Rays (7%) and San Francisco Giants(7%) follow the Angels in championship likelihood. In the most open season we have ever seen at this point, no team has a greater than one-in-eight chance of winning it all and a total of 12 teams have a better than one-in-25 chance of winning the championship.

And that set of predictions may all be completely wrong. I just don’t expect them to be any more wrong than those of some scribe who pounded out his predictions on a 7 year-old Packard-Bell with his email username and password taped on little slips of paper above his keyboard in between complaining about TSA agents and his lack of proximity to an In-n-Out Burger, all the while telling me that he knows more about baseball than I do because he went to journalism school.

So, you go, Prediction Machine. I for one hail our new machine overlords.

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.