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Strength of Schedule

We're two weeks in, so I think it's time to start drawing some absurd conclusions based on some weak assumptions.

To get us started, I worked out the relative strength of the Brewers and Cubs schedules.  (If the Cards are still hanging in there in a few weeks, maybe I'll run them too.)  To get the 2008 "strength" of each team, I used the aggregate results of the Diamond Mind Projection Blowout, then gave AL teams a few extra wins.  Of course, these projections are fallible; for one thing, they prefer the Cubs to the Brewers.

Using those numbers and our actual schedules, the Cubs appear to have a slight edge.  They will probably have an easier time in Interleague play, and they play the Astros and Pirates 18 times each, compared to our 15 times.  (We get the Reds 18 times.) 

That edge boils down to about one win.  If the Cubs and Brewers were both average (for all of the NL) teams, the Cubs would win 83 games and the Brewers would win 82.

Now for that absurd/weak conclusion/assumption stuff.

12 games in, we can run the same exercise for that part of the season that's already under our belt.  As you probably know, the Brewers have a one-game edge on the Cubs.  As it turns out, despite our series against the Giants, we've faced a tougher round of early opponents.

The Cubs/Giants/Reds/Mets have an aggregate projected winning percentage of .514, while the Cubs opponents, the Brewers/Astros/Pirates/Phillies, forecast to .488.  (Only a tiny amount of that difference is because the Cubs are projected to have a better record than the Crew.)

It's interesting that .488 is the Cubs opponents' winning percentage so far, since that's the overall number for Cubs opponents on the season.  So, small sample size and all that, but the opening 7-5 for Chicago isn't skewed by the competition they faced so far.  That's not a bad thing for the Northsiders: Keep up a .583 winning percentage and you end with 94 or 95 wins.

But the story is better for the Crew.  Our actual winning percentage is .667, on pace for a cool 108 wins.  (Remember: "weak"/"absurd," but I'll take it.)

Adjust that for the quality of competition and we get all the way up to 111.  In other words, we might as well just release Derrick Turnbow now, because he's not going to get very much work in.