Saturday, October 29, 2022


There, we've done it. We've given you a headline that's oh so similar to how our "friends" in the media do it. 

It's the perfect "take it or leave it" lede, suitable for anything from blogger "Passan Wannabe" all the way up (or down...) to USA TODAY (please pronounce it "oo-sah toe-day"). 

Of course, someone might get tripped up (inadvertently or otherwise) by that phrase "game typology." According to research, that happens about 23.6% of the time, give or take a decimal point. The vaunted "Malcolmian WTF? factor" used to have a much, much higher "hit rate," running in the low 40s--almost making it viable in the commercial marketplace (now some people, at the "metaverse")--but the steady encroachment of the "age of fracture" and the escalating "echo chamber" bedfellows of the media with post-neo-sabe tribalism have long since permitted most folks to simply bypass our outmoded click bait tactics.

For those of you still with us, "game typology" for the World Series is set into place after Game 1 is concluded (and what a Game 1 it was last evening, as Phillies got off the floor after falling behind 5-0 to pull out a 6-5, ten-inning win). There are four types of game sequences in the semi-closed system of the World Series, related to Game 1 outcomes and where the game was played. Last night's game was played in the AL home park, which forms part of the game typology (perhaps we should call it "game sequence typology," eh?). Who won the game between the AL and NL opponents forms the other part.

Thus you have four types of World Series that are defined from the location and outcome of Game 1. The game was played in the AL park, and the NL team was the winner. We mark that "NA" (which some of you shiftier-eyed types will immediately note also means "not applicable") which slots the game into a subgroup of 22 that clump together out of the four overall possibilities ("NA" you know; "AH" would've been the type/designation for this series had the Astros won the game; "AA" would have been a Game 1 in Philadelphia won by the Astros, and "NH" would be a Game 1 in Philadelphia won by the Phillies.)

The chart color-codes game locations based on the color chosen for the leagues--orange is AL, yellow is NL. This chart selects only those games that started in the AL city and feature wins by the NL team in Game 1. "NA" is short for "NL" and "away."

And so we can now look at the World Series outcomes that fall into this category "NA" and take a look at their outcomes. (Note that the winner of each World Series is shown in bold type.) The Phillies-Astros matchup in '22 will be the 23rd such member of this subgroup, and it will either produce the 13th instance where the NL team wins the World Series or it will produce the tenth instance where the AL team recovers from the loss and wins the World Series.

And yes, that does indeed mean that the current tally in this subgroup is 12-10 in favor of the NL, which means that, according to this high-level (and small-sample) oddsmaking, the Phillies currently have a 55% chance of winning the World Series. 

Now, it's probably lower than that, given the odds we quoted the other day (32% chance of winning against a team with a regular-season win total 10+ wins higher; 17% chance against a team with a seasonal win total 16+ wins higher). If we triple-weight the G1 outcome with those other factors, the Phils are up to ~44%. And the home park advantage that kicks in beginning at G3 would also push their odds up further. Essentially the Phils' G1 win virtually neutralizes the Astros' previous "win differential" advantage.

What the chart also tells us is that, in this sub-group of series, G2 has gone to the AL 16 out of 22 times. That' 73% of the time. It should be noted, though, that in the games where the NL team takes a 2-0 game lead on the road by winning G2, those teams are 3-2 in terms of the World Series outcome: winning in 2019, 1963 (Dodgers' sweep of Yankees), and 1914 (the Miracle Braves sweep the Philadelphia A's), but losing in 1996 (Yankees roar back to beat Braves) and 1985 (Royals get some help from Don Denkinger).

Note that the two of the last three World Series are in this group (2019, the crown jewel of the "counterintuitive" World Series, in which the road team won every game, and 2021, where the Astros' offense turned sluggish in Atlanta and the Braves' pitchers silenced Yordan Alvarez). This subtype has been quite prominent in the 21st century: its 2022 incarnation is the ninth time it's happened in 22 years, as opposed to just 13 times in the first 99 World Series. 

What will happen? Stay tuned...