AccuScore: Angels and Cardinals lift off

AccuScore uses past performance statistics to describe how players perform under different environmental, matchup, and game-situation conditions. Using projected starting lineups AccuScore simulates each game of the season one play at a time. By repeating the simulation 10,000 to 20,000 times per game AccuScore calculates the precise probability teams have of winning each game, winning their division, and making the playoffs. Visit AccuScore.com for weekly updates to the season forecast and all game forecasts.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

The Angels were this week’s big winners after a road sweep of the White Sox, and the injury to Texas’ Josh Hamilton(notes). Los Angeles was a distant second last week to what looked like a dominant Rangers team, but now it looks to be on even ground. The Angels jumped over 30 percentage points in playoff probability, and are now basically even with the Rangers to win the AL West. The Mariners and Athletics combine for just 5.1 percent odds in the division.

The Yankees and Rays went a combined 9-2. New York established itself as the clear favorite going forward while Tampa Bay rebounded from a brutal start to inch towards .500. Boston meanwhile dropped another three games to division rivals and fell another 15.5 percent in playoff odds to just 22.3 percent. The Sox are already 4.5 games behind the Yankees, and need the pitching to become consistent and quickly. Baltimore and Toronto are on a combined eight-game losing streak, and already look resigned to wait for yet another season.

The Indians might be the biggest story in the American League. Cleveland has the best record in the AL, and while the Royals are also surprising, AccuScore views the Indians are far more legitimate. Cleveland jumped over 16 percent in playoff odds this week, and now has a one-in-five chance at winning the Central. The Royals meanwhile only make the playoffs in 3 percent of simulations. The White Sox won just once this past week, but are still in good shape as the favorite in the division.

American League Weekly Review Playoff % Chance
Team 11-Apr 17-Apr % Diff Win Div
Los Angeles Angels 37.9% 68.4% 30.5% 48.8%
New York Yankees 53.8% 72.4% 18.6% 66.2%
Cleveland Indians 10.8% 27.2% 16.4% 20.0%
Tampa Bay Rays 3.6% 20.0% 16.4% 13.1%
Detroit Tigers 32.5% 36.1% 3.6% 28.3%
Kansas City Royals 1.1% 4.1% 3.0% 2.8%
Oakland Athletics 9.2% 11.5% 2.3% 5.0%
Seattle Mariners 0.6% 0.3% -0.3% 0.1%
Baltimore Orioles 8.9% 3.1% -5.8% 2.0%
Chicago White Sox 57.1% 47.7% -9.4% 39.9%
Boston Red Sox 37.8% 22.3% -15.5% 14.0%
Texas Rangers 83.1% 66.4% -16.7% 46.1%
Minnesota Twins 33.5% 12.9% -20.6% 9.0%
Toronto Blue Jays 30.0% 7.5% -22.5% 4.8%

NATIONAL LEAGUE

The Cardinals bats came alive in a big way, coinciding with Matt Holliday’s(notes) return from an appendectomy. They won two road series against the West, and made a 24 percent jump in playoff probability. Conversely, the Reds lost twice at home to Pittsburgh bringing them down to 53 percent likely to make the playoffs. Cincinnati is still the favorite in the Central, but the Cardinals re-established themselves as a contender.

The Rockies are red hot, and are trying to run away from the rest of the NL West early. They have opened up a four-game lead on the Giants, but still trail in AccuScore’s projected standings. Colorado did gain 6.4 percentage points this week, but San Francisco also gained 7.4 percentage points. The Giants kept pace by going 4-2 against division competition. The Rockies did go 6-1, but it was against the Cubs and Mets, two of the worst projected teams in the league. The Dodgers ran into the St. Louis buzz saw, and needed the late-game heroics of Matt Kemp(notes) on Sunday just to avoid a four-game home sweep. Los Angeles is struggling on offense, and made the biggest fall in the league, losing 21.1 percentage points in playoff probability.

The NL East basically maintained the status quo with the Phillies inching over 90 percent likely to reach the postseason. Philly in the postseason looks like the one lock in baseball this year barring any serious injuries.

National League Weekly Review Playoff % Chance
Team 11-Apr 17-Apr % Diff Win Div
St. Louis Cardinals 17.4% 41.4% 24.0% 32.0%
San Francisco Giants 51.4% 58.8% 7.4% 50.4%
Colorado Rockies 38.5% 44.9% 6.4% 35.3%
Philadelphia Phillies 88.1% 91.5% 3.4% 83.6%
Florida Marlins 17.8% 19.8% 2.0% 5.5%
Washington Nationals 2.1% 3.8% 1.7% 0.9%
Milwaukee Brewers 29.3% 30.0% 0.7% 21.4%
Houston Astros 0.5% 0.9% 0.4% 0.6%
Pittsburgh Pirates 1.5% 0.3% -1.2% 0.2%
New York Mets 1.4% 0.0% -1.4% 0.0%
Chicago Cubs 5.3% 3.2% -2.1% 2.2%
Arizona Diamondbacks 7.2% 5.0% -2.2% 3.6%
Atlanta Braves 33.9% 31.4% -2.5% 10.0%
San Diego Padres 9.0% 5.3% -3.7% 3.8%
Cincinnati Reds 65.3% 53.3% -12.0% 43.6%
Los Angeles Dodgers 31.4% 10.3% -21.1% 6.8%