Astros Not Probable, Based on June 1st Spot

Sometimes a Statistical Chart or Table is like a birthday cake. It comes with green candles, but they never light up with much hope.

Sometimes a Statistical Chart or Table is like a birthday cake. It comes with green candles, but they never light up with much hope.


In early May, The Pecan Park Eagle took the position that the Astros needed to be at least a 5.00 club and no more than 5 games back of the ALW front-runner to be in the later hunt for red-hot October. They didn’t make it, in spite of the 4-game win streak and encouraging signs of offensive awakening they concluded by the end of May. We would love to see them prove us wrong, but a  look at the following tabular chart throws a bucket of cold water on the probability of a miracle finish in 2016. Things are always “possible” until later in the year, oc course,  we finally use up that last “magic number” of measurement charts our mathematical elimination, but the difference between a .001 possibility and a .999 probability should be obvious to the most disinterested mathematical mind.

There was never anything pontifical about our “pull to even, only 5 games backby June 1st” qualifier on this race. It is simply our way of saying that it’s easier to come back if you aren’t so far behind at the start of summer. It didn’t happen for the Astros. They are 5 games under .500 in spite of their current game win streak – and they are 7 to 7.5 games behind the two front-runners. The Astros have to catch them both – and also not get pulled back by the two other struggling ALW clubs. Hopefully, a look at the table makes this picture a little clearer, even if we, as Astros fans, don’t like what we see or find any candles to light on this cake:

American League West. June 1, 2016

ALW, 6/01/16 W L PCT. GB GLTP ALW 2016 W L PCT. GB HOU
RANGERS 31 21 .596 110 RANGERS 96.55 65.45 .596 1
MARINERS 30 21 .586 0.5 111 MARINERS 94.93 66.07 .586 3
ANGELS 24 28 .462 7.0 110 ANGELS 74.84 87.16 .462 23
ASTROS 24 29 .453 7.5 109 ASTROS 98 64 .605 *
ATHLETICS 24 29 .453 7.5 109 ATHLETICS 73.39 88.61 .453 25


  • At 5 games below .500 on June 1st, and 7 games back of the Rangers and 7.5 games back of the Mariners, and presuming that either or both of these clubs possess the ability to play the rest of the season at their current winning percentage rates, the Astros will have to play at a winning rate of .679 per cent in their final 109 games left to play (GLTP ) to edge out both front runners, presuming that neither of them plays at an even better winning rate in their own final GLTP (Games. Left To Play).

The table shows both the standings today, June 1, 2016, plus, what they will be at season’s end, if the four other clubs play the rest of the year at their current winning percentage levels. To that same right display of how the four foes would finish by W/L records over 162 games – and how the Astros would have to play .679 ball by winning of their remaining 109 games to win the division with an overall record of .605. It also shows the approximate games behind the Astros the other 4 ALW clubs would finish back of the Astros by continuing to play at their current winning percentage rates while the Astros drove their winning percentile mark at .679 .

Again, a great Astros comeback is still possible, but not highly probable, unless both the Rangers and Mariners crash – and neither the Angels nor the A’s come up with a red hot winning streak of their own – one that allows either club to exceed, from June 1 to season’s end, at a winning percentage rate that is higher than the winning percentages they already have achieved from Opening Day through May 31.

Have a nice day digesting that little chunk of reality! 🙂

Correction: I have my own reality to chew upon. I made an earlier error in calculating the percentage of games the Astros will need to win to take the division crown outright. The correct figures have now been plugged in after I caught my own mistake by rechecking the math. A division crown is still remotely probable, a not-s0-easy easy wild card spot is more probable, but the numbers in reality are not ridiculously improbable – if the Astros continue to build on this 4-game streak and can handle the job of overtaking two front-runners under the circumstances described originally.

Please forgive my initial math mistake. – I mistakenly calculated the Astros’ essential winning percentage the rest of the way by dividing the 98 total wins they need, using the 109 games they have left to play as the denominator. – Ouch! That made it seem that the Astros would need to play .899 ball from here on to the end to have a chance. – Not so fast.

That error failed to take into account that the Astros already have 24 wins in the bag through all games played by May 31. The Astros need only 74 more new wins to achieve the 98 total wins required from their 109 remaining games from June 1 to Season’s end.

A 74-35 record in their unplayed 109 games from June 1 to Season’s end translates into a winning percentage of .679.  – A 98-64 record for the entire Astros 2016 season translates into a season winning winning percentage of .605. And that .605 mark would be enough for the Astros to pass the Rangers or the Mariners for the ALW division championship, as long as neither exceeds their established w% rates through May 31 over the rest of the season.

Obviously, the Astros will also have a a better shot at one of the wild card spots too, if they are able to achieve at a 98-win season rate.

My apologies for the earlier miscalculation.


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas




5 Responses to “Astros Not Probable, Based on June 1st Spot”

  1. Michael McCroskey Says:

    One of the hottest teams in baseball the last week. McCullers is back, Valbuena breaking out of slump. Look for A.J. Reid to be called up soon and contribute. Never say never.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      You just helped us make the frustrating point that never seems to get through to everybody. Probability has nothing to do with “never say never.” Probability is your gradiently statistical measurement of how close or how far away “ever” is on a measurable, still possible time and space event. 🙂

  2. Anthnony Cavender Says:

    Bill: Where were the 1914 Braves at the point in the season?

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      The 1914 Boston “Miracle” Braves are the perfect example of how a low probability case may still result in victory.The 1914 Braves spent the first part of the season in last place, posting a record of 26 wins and 40 losses in early July. Led by three pitchers, Dick Rudolph, Bill James, and Lefty Tyler, the team began to win games, taking over first place for good on September 8. Their record over their final 89 games was 70–19 for a winning percentage of .787, and considerably higher than the .679 mark the Astros will need in their final 109 games, if the Rangers or Mariners maintain their current winning percentages through the end of May 2016. – My apologies for the earlier error I made in calculating the percentage of games the Astros would have to take to win the division outright. They still have a better shot at one on the wild card spots, but winning the division is still improbable, but not impossible.

  3. Larry Dierker Says:

    And don’t forget the Wild Card. The last time the Astros won their division was in 2001. But they came up one game short of the World Series in 2004 and made it all the way as the Wild Card team in 2005.

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