The Phillies have a very good shot to set a team record for franchise wins in the regular season. They have an excellent shot at team winning percentage for a full regular season. Currently, they are 83 - 45 following a listless afternoon game with the Mets today August 24, 2011. Their winning percentage is .648 and 34 games remain.
The focus of many has been "WORLD SERIES OR BUST" but we all know that it is far more likely that the Phillies WILL NOT win the World Series this year -- the team with the best record in baseball has won the World Series in the Wild Card Era precisely 3 out of 16 times ('98 Yankees, '07 Red Sox -- tied with the Indians, and '09 Yankees), or 18.75% of the time. [fixed from 2 out of 16 times per phillyinportland's sharp eyes] "Hover" over the teams shown on the link to see the regular season record for each.
There are 8 playoff tournament entrants each year, four from each league, which suggests that all things being equal (but they aren't), there is a...12.5% chance that any team will win it all. The likelihood is that the close match of those numbers (SSS as they are) is merely a coincidence. Still, it is a nifty coincidence, isn't it?
Mathematical modeling shows (and I am too lazy to reproduce it here) that the team with the best record might have something like an 18% shot to win it all. Essentially, give the better team in each series a 54% chance of winning each game for three successive series. The "best record" team wins it all more than 12.5% of the time, but certainly nothing like 50.1%, or even anything approaching "more often than not." And that method of analysis can fail, since the team with the best record very well may not be the "best" team. "Best record" is a useful proxy for "best team" but this is not necessarily a 100% accurate approach for many reasons.
OK, Dr. Wet Blanket, you ruined my season. I'll just surrender now, ok? No. Enjoy the playoffs, but recognize them for what they are. And focus instead on enjoying the brilliance of an historic Phillies season. You are among the lucky few over 129 years of largely futile Phillies baseball to:
- Live during and enjoy the longest and best sustained period of success the team has ever had, and
- Enjoy what could well be the best regular season performance of the franchise, ever, and
- Enjoy the thrill of another post-season lottery ticket, and
- Enjoy a team that has the financial resources to be competitive for a long time, rather than fear (a la 1993) that the present moment is merely a lucky flash in the pan.
- A playoff berth ("never" is a valid option)
- The division title (again, Braves fans, "never" is a valid option)