AccuScore: Tigers boost playoff chances

AccuScore uses statistics to describe how players perform under different environmental, match-up, and game-situation conditions. Using projected starting lineup,s AccuScore simulates each game of the 2009 season one at bat 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, making the playoffs, advancing in the playoffs and winning the World Series. Here’s the AccuScore.com analysis of the 2009 MLB season after seven weeks of play.

AMERICAN LEAGUE
The Detroit Tigers had a good week (4-2), which ordinarily would have resulted in a modest plus-1.5 to 3 percent boost in playoff chances. However, when the Kansas City Royals only went 2-4, the Tigers got a big boost in their chances of winning the division (up 10 percentage points) and this boost helped the Tigers lead the American League in increased playoff odds. It also helped that the Tigers’ two losses of the week were to Colorado, and not to any division or league rival.

The Yankees are the clear winner in the American League East parlaying a 5-2 week into a plus-9.6 percentage point increase. Even though they lost twice to the Phillies, like the situation with Detroit, an interleague loss is not nearly as damaging as losses to division or league rivals. The Yankees did not improve as much as some might have thought after sweeping a division rival. Because that division rival was last-place Baltimore at home, the Yankees only won three games they were clearly supposed to win.

After seven weeks things could not have been going better for the Toronto Blue Jays. They appeared in the top three of this list in five of the first six weeks. Unfortunately a 1-6 week including getting swept by division rival Boston had a major minus-14 percentage point impact on the team’s playoff chances. The damage was not as severe as it could have been. Realistically, the odds indicated they were supposed to win one of three in Boston. By getting swept they lost one more game than they were supposed to. They were swept at Atlanta, but inter-league losses are not as damaging.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

WEEK 7 REVIEW

PLAYOFF

% CHANCE

TEAM

18-May

25-May

% DIFF

WIN DIV

Detroit Tigers

30.8%

44.4%

13.6%

39.0%

New York Yankees

28.1%

37.7%

9.6%

23.5%

Boston Red Sox

39.4%

42.8%

3.4%

28.6%

Minnesota Twins

29.4%

32.6%

3.2%

26.8%

Seattle Mariners

10.3%

13.4%

3.1%

9.8%

Oakland Athletics

5.2%

7.2%

2.0%

5.6%

Baltimore Orioles

8.1%

9.8%

1.7%

4.5%

Los Angeles Angels

46.3%

46.6%

0.3%

38.8%

Cleveland Indians

11.1%

10.4%

-0.7%

8.0%

Tampa Bay Rays

31.8%

28.5%

-3.3%

16.4%

Texas Rangers

55.5%

52.2%

-3.3%

45.8%

Chicago White Sox

16.5%

12.0%

-4.5%

9.1%

Kansas City Royals

32.8%

22.0%

-10.8%

17.0%

Toronto Blue Jays

54.6%

40.3%

-14.3%

27.0%

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE
The St. Louis Cardinals impressively swept the Chicago Cubs and their solid 5-2 week helped them improve their playoff chances by nearly 17 percentage points. Wins over division rivals, especially ones expected to win the division like the Cubs, are especially valuable. Last week the Cardinals had under a 14 percent chance of winning the division, but with the Cubs collapsing, they now are over 28 percent, second to the division leading Brewers. Speaking of the Cubs, they were an awful 0-6 which translated into a nearly minus-13 percentage point drop in playoff odds.

The San Francisco Giants actually had a bigger drop in playoff chances than the Cubs did, despite winning one game the past week. The reason why the Giants’ odds dropped more is the fact that their division rivals like San Diego (6-0), Arizona (5-2), the LA Dodgers (4-2) and Colorado (4-3) all had winning weeks. The San Diego Padres are still forecasted for a sub-.500 season (78 wins projected) despite going 6-0 and hitting .500 for the year. The Padres are second on this list, but you may see them near the bottom sometime soon.

The Philadelphia Phillies are clearly concerned about closer Brad Lidge’s failures, but they were still able to go 4-2 and improve their playoff chances by over 10 percentage points. This increase is directly tied to their chances of winning the division which improved from 25 percent last week to 35 percent this week. In addition to having a good week, they were helped by the Mets getting swept by the Dodgers, Washington going 1-6 and the Marlins going 1-5. Even though the Mets are near the bottom of this list, they are still neck-and-neck with the Phillies. For the season, the Mets are projected for 85 wins and the Phillies 86. This division should go down to the wire.

The Brewers only went 3-4 causing a negative 8-point drop in playoff chances. Most of this drop is due to their chances of winning the division dropping by 7.5 points. This is clearly tied to the improvement by the Cardinals, the team they are currently tied with for the division lead.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

WEEK 7 REVIEW

PLAYOFF

% CHANCE

TEAM

18-May

25-May

% DIFF

WIN DIV

St. Louis Cardinals

24.1%

40.7%

16.6%

28.5%

San Diego Padres

5.6%

19.1%

13.5%

13.6%

Philadelphia Phillies

30.8%

41.3%

10.5%

35.0%

Arizona Diamondbacks

16.6%

21.5%

4.9%

16.0%

Pittsburgh Pirates

3.6%

7.4%

3.8%

3.4%

Atlanta Braves

21.8%

24.1%

2.3%

18.3%

Colorado Rockies

8.2%

10.5%

2.3%

7.5%

Washington Nationals

3.1%

4.7%

1.6%

3.4%

Cincinnati Reds

21.6%

22.8%

1.2%

13.6%

Florida Marlins

20.1%

17.8%

-2.3%

13.0%

Houston Astros

16.2%

12.4%

-3.8%

6.4%

Los Angeles Dodgers

65.7%

59.6%

-6.1%

54.9%

Milwaukee Brewers

56.4%

48.4%

-8.0%

36.5%

New York Mets

46.3%

36.8%

-9.5%

30.3%

Chicago Cubs

34.3%

21.5%

-12.8%

11.7%

San Francisco Giants

25.7%

11.5%

-14.2%

8.0%