Max Scherzer is going for a record of 14 wins with no losses tonight, and the baseball world is watching. What are the odds that he could do this?
Let's overly simplify this to get a feel for it. Let's say his odds of a win in any given game where he has a decision is 60%. Then the answer is 0.6 to the 14th power, or 0.078%. That is one in 1,276 seasons.
If the odds of him winning are 65%, the odds jump all the way to 0.24%, or one in 416.
But the Tigers have five starters. Any one of them could go 14-0 and we would be having the same discussion. So it is probably more appropriate to multiply the results by five. At a 60% win rate, the odds are 0.39% or one in 255. At a 65% win rate, the odds are 1.2% or one in 83. But how many teams have five pitchers who all win at that rate?
If we consider all of baseball, there are 30 teams with five starting pitchers and the average winning rate is around 50%. The odds for any one pitcher are 0.03%, or one in 3,277. With 150 pitchers, that is about once every 22 seasons. It has been 27 years since Roger Clemens achieved the feat, so we may be in the right ballpark.
My college kid wants me to use the Monte Carlo method for more accurate results. If Max gets a couple more wins, it will be worth it.