Why the Pirates will (probably) win their 82nd game on the road

After defeating the Giants on the road last night, the Pirates are 75-52 and only 7 wins away from ending their 19-year “futility” streak. I’m sure there are some Pirates fans who still think that the Pirates will somehow continue their streak and fail to win just 20% of their remaining 35 games. That said, the more optimistic/realistic fans are wondering when the fateful event will finally happen.

To find out, I’ve again looked at the historical record of the 200 teams in the modern history of baseball with the most similar expected winning percentages at the same point of the season.  In particular, I looked at how many games it took for the “similar” teams to win 7 games.

The 2001 Boston Red Sox and the 1999 Philadelphia Phillies were the worst in the sample and took 31 games to win 7. If this years Pirates perform similarly I expect lots of extra business for Pittsburgh-area cardiologists. On the flip side, the 2007 Indians, 1982 Orioles, and 2002 Athletics each took only 8 games. The 25-percentile of the sample is 12 games, and the 75% is 17 games.

Unfortunately, the Pirates have a 9 game road trip from September 2 – 11, which are games 10-18. In the sample, 160 teams, or 80% won their 7th game during that period. That’s too bad for long-suffering Pirates fans who deserve to see their suffering end in person. On the other hand, a Pirates fan that road-trips to St. Louis for the September 6-8 series, has more than a 30% chance of watching the futility-end during that playoff-crucial series.


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