As one of two teams to make the playoffs with a record under .500 this year and the one playing the best team in baseball in the first round, the Brewers’ odds at winning their three-game set against the Los Angeles Dodgers admittedly aren’t great.
But weird things can happen in a three-game series. The Dodgers, after all, did lose a three-game series at home to the Colorado Rockies this month, and the Rockies were under .500 when that series began. There’s always a chance the better team loses when you limit the sample size and crank up the randomness.
Fangraphs is out this morning with their ZiPS playoff series odds, which will be updated throughout the postseason. That includes odds for the Brewers/Dodgers series, and while the odds of advancing for the Local Nine may not exactly be one in a million, they are the lowest of any team in the tournament.
ZiPS’ simulations have the Dodgers winning the series 80.5% of the time — by far the best odds of advancing of any team in baseball, which makes sense, considering they finished as one of the few truly elite teams this year.
Hey, ZiPS says the Brewers have an almost 20% chance to beat the Dodgers!*— Jaymes L (@JaymesL) September 29, 2020
(* LA's 80.5% odds of advancing are by far the best in baseball) https://t.co/bb2yUOXsBi
It’s important to note the projections make some assumptions on who will be starting for the Brewers which may not end up being totally accurate. As of Tuesday morning, Craig Counsell had not named his starter for Game 1 yet, possibly once again playing some gamesmanship with LA manager Dave Roberts and his platoon-favoring ways. Realistically, though, whether it’s Brent Suter, Adrian Houser, or someone else starting Game 1 (and a potential Game 3), the Dodgers’ series odds wouldn’t likely shift much from the 80% range.
The Dodgers win Game 1 74.4% of the time, according to the ZiPS projections, and have a 49.4% probability of sweeping the first two games. Meanwhile, the Brewers have just 8.6% odds of shocking the world and knocking LA out in two games, and 10.9% odds of winning the series in three.
Looking at it another way, though — that’s almost a 1 in 5 chance for the Brewers, which fits pretty well into “hey, you never know” territory. As with all of these series, a surprise win by an underdog in Game 1 could crank up the pressure for favored teams in a must-win Game 2. In the Dodgers’ case, that would mean fighting to stay alive against Brandon Woodruff.
You can find a link to all of Fangraphs’ playoff odds and an explainer here.
In the meantime, give your predictions below.
Who wins the wildcard series between the Dodgers and Brewers?
This poll is closed
Dodgers in 2
Dodgers in 3
Brewers in 2
Brewers in 3