Baseball’s All-Star Game generally is considered the halfway point in the season. It is — if you’re really bad at math. Because teams play a 162-game schedule, the halfway point should be — wait a minute while the advanced arithmetic department at elliottharris.com does some calculating — 81 games.
The All-Star game is set for July 10. Meaning there is a week’s worth of games to be played before the “halfway point.” You do the math. Or don’t. It all adds up to some statistical analysis — with no better time than today.
With the exception of the unexceptional Kansas City Royals (36-44), all major league teams have played at least 81 games. The Chicago Cubs (31-50) and White Sox (44-37) each have played precisely 81.
What conclusions can we draw from the Cubs and Sox seasons? With a fairly high degree of certainty (though not 100 percent), this much we know — or think we know: Each team has 81 games remaining in the regular season. Is there a guarantee the Cubs will finish with 100 losses? No. Will the Sox reach 88 victories and capture the American League Central? Possibly.
According to coolstandings.com. the Cubs have a 0.1 percent chance of reaching the postseason. The Sox have a 82.6 (75.8 winning the division, plus a 6.8 percent shot of being a wild-card team). It forecasts the Cubs losing a big-league worst 96.7 games. It has the Sox winning 91.8 games, 10 ahead of runner-up Cleveland. For the complete numerical breakdown, you can click onto the site here.
Of course, there are variables to all this. Such as injuries, trades, etc. Not to mention — from the Cubs’ perspective — perhaps one variable that hasn’t had a chance to make a case mathematically: Anthony Rizzo.
In his eight games since being recalled from Class AAA Iowa, the Cubs have gone 6-2 with Rizzo on the roster. A small mathematical sample, to be sure. But for Cubs fans — who are accustomed to applying a lack of logic when it comes to assessing their team — there is a conclusion to be drawn: The Cubs will continue to play .750 ball with Rizzo on the big-league roster.
Which means in the second half of the season, the Cubs will win 60.75 games. OK, so we’ll show a little restraint and round down to 60 games. Meaning the Cubs would finish 91-71 and likely capture the National League Central.
For further extrapolation (not sure if that’s even allowed in states where Republicans control both houses of the legislature and the governor’s office), Rizzo can figure on ending up with 33 home runs and 66 runs batted in. That’s based on three homers and six RBI in eight games and figuring he will continue that pace and not miss more than about one game the rest of the season. Again a small sample size, but sometimes when we rationalize things, we tell ourselves size doesn’t matter.
From a Sox perspective, designated hitter (OK, swinger just doesn’t sound right, even if it might be more accurate) Adam Dunn has 127 strikeouts. Meaning he is on pace for 254, which would be an all-time galactical record. To be fair (or to provide a little balance to those numbing numbers), Dunn has walked 66 times, which means he is on pace for 132.
Of course, all this is pure speculation. Well, maybe not pure but certainly speculation. Past performance is no guarantee of future success. You’ll occasionally see that in the fine print of unsolicited mail that may come your way. You’ll also see that on a regular basis at a variety of sporting venues.
That concludes today’s math session. Feel free to clip and save — although it’s suggested you make a printout to do so rather than try to take a scissors to the screen on which you are reading this.
More Monday meanderings: Former White Sox slugger Carlos Lee, who turned down a trade from the Houston Astros to the Los Angeles Dodgers, was dealt Wednesday (July 4) to the Miami Marlins. Lee will play first base for manager Ozzie Guillen’s ballclub, which is nine games behind NL East-leading Washington. L.A. has a half-game lead over San Francisco in the NL West. Lee played for Guillen with the Sox. If this move doesn’t work, Ozzie can always give Frank Thomas a call.
* Speaking of trades, the Los Angeles Lakers obtained point guard Steve Nash in a sign-and-trade deal with the Phoenix Suns. Not that the Chicago Bulls were going to pay big bucks for a replacement for Derrick Rose while he recovers from surgery to his anterior cruciate ligament. But the Bulls can take some consolation that Nash remained in the Western Conference rather than end up with the New York Knicks or some other Eastern team that would pose an ever bigger challenge to the Bulls’ chances to reach the postseason.
* Speaking of the Bulls, center Joakim Noah said he will not play for France in the London Olympics because his ankle has not recovered from the injury he suffered in the playoffs. For those who thought the Houston Rockets’ $25.1 million offer to backup center Omer Asik seemed slightly high, his value to the Bulls just went up even more than it had been.
* Listening to general managers talk about signings that didn’t happen and trades that didn’t get made really is a great way to sell tickets — to some other team’s/league’s games. This space will refrain from making reference to Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman do that because hockey always is a hot topic on the Fourth of July.
* Speaking of hot, which the weather in Chicago and elsewhere has been, the Bears’ biggest concern might not be so much Matt Forte’s contract status as it is being able to deal with heat stroke in training camp.
If it’s Thursday (and it sure doesn’t feel like it; wasn’t yeserday Sunday or something — oh, yeah, the Fourth of July), then it must be time for another edition of “Sports & Torts” at noon Chicago time on talkzone.com with co-hosts David Spada and Elliott Harris. Now normally you would think the show might take a week off for the holiday. But who ever said normal went together with David and Elliott? The reality is neither co-host will be in the studio for the July 5 program, but there will be the regular 60-minute interview show. Thanks to the wonder of modern recording technology, the show already is taped — not to be confused with “pre-taped,” a term that always sounded more than a little confusing. There will be only two guests on the show instead of the usual three. But what a show it will be. The interview subjects are football great Jim Brown and softball icon Jennie Finch (who was in Chicago last month to participate in having her number retired by the National Pro Fastpitch Chicago Bandits). Definitely worth tuning in to. Or catching on podcast at your convenience.
For those intrigued by the possibility of advertising on the “Sports & Torts” show, feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Still speaking of hot (well, we were before the “Sports & Torts” mention), how about some more swimsuit video to take your mind off the warm weather (thanks to photographer friend Rich Lachowski for pointing this one of Bar Refaeli out:
As long as we’re going to run video of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover models, how about the current one, Kate Upton:
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