Baserunners intuitively round the bases rather than running in straight lines. But they might not do it enough.
The 2010 World Series starts tomorrow (Wednesday) and statistically, the Texas Rangers are in a good position to defeat the San Francisco Giants, according to mathematician Bruce Bukiet from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
"I have crunched the numbers for the World Series and it looks like the Texas Rangers should have a 65 percent chance of defeating the San Francisco Giants," Bukiet told LiveScience.
His prediction comes despite the Giants having the home field advantage — Texas is 0-9 at AT&T Park and has lost 11 straight games in San Francisco in the past.
Bukiet, an associate math professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, has a set of models he developed to predict the outcome of baseball seasons and playoff series. The model takes into account various factors — including hitters, the bench, starting pitcher, lineup, relievers and home-field advantage — to determine the probability of whether or not a team will beat its competitor.
Earlier in the season, Bukiet's predictions of which teams would make the playoffs panned out, with six out of the eight teams he suggested making it. The two that didn't were the Cardinals and the Dodgers. He also predicted that the New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, the Rangers and the Giants would come out on top in the playoffs to vie for the league championships.
Bukiet also predicted that the Rangers would beat out the Yankees for a spot in the World Series. "I had the Rangers in the second round to beat the Yankees," Bukiet said. "It surprised me, but that was what the math said and the math was right."
As for how the World Series will turn out, Bukiet said, "When I did the math, I got 65 percent in favor of the Rangers, which was the most dominant of the Series according to my math.
Bukiet was surprised that a certain advantage did nothing to bolster the Giants chances as well. "The Giants have home-field advantage and yet have only a 35 percent chance of winning the Series, which is pretty unusual," he said.
According to his math, there is a 23 percent chance that the Rangers will win the Series in five games, although the most likely number of games that it will take to win the Series will be seven.
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