AccuScore: Rockies take impressive leap

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 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 is the AccuScore.com analysis of the 2010 MLB season through May. Visit AccuScore.com for daily updates to the season forecast and all game forecasts updated twice a day.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

The Boston Red Sox had the most impressive wins of the week, sweeping Tampa Bay on the road, but they still lost ground in the playoff race. They only managed a split at home against Kansas City. They were a heavier favorite on a percentage basis in two of their home losses to the Royals than they were underdogs in Tampa Bay, so a loss to the Royals at home more than negated the benefits of an upset win in Tampa Bay. The Yankees also went 4-2 with two quality wins over Minnesota, which helped them improve more than 9 percentage points. It also hurt Boston that Toronto and Oakland both had good weeks.

The Texas Rangers slipped a half game back of Oakland after the Rangers went just 1-4 and Oakland went 4-2. Even though Texas is currently second in the AL West, they still have the best chance of winning the division at 53.6 percent. It is still early in the season, but currently the combined winning percentage of Texas’ remaining opponents is 47 percent compared to 50 percent for Oakland. The Angels lost Kendry Morales(notes) after he broke a foot celebrating a game-ending grand slam. This loss combined with the resurgence of Vladimir Guerrero(notes) in Texas seems to indicate the Angels may be cursed this year.

Detroit went 1-4 and ordinarily this would drop a team 5 percent or more. Instead they somehow picked up 3 percentage points. This improvement is tied to better performance in future game simulations because Max Scherzer(notes) had a great game and might become much better the rest of the season than he was earlier. Detroit has more home games than road games the rest of the season and their remaining opponents have won just 47 percent of their games. Even though the Tigers improved, they are still well behind Minnesota who still have nearly twice as good a chance of taking the AL Central at 65 percent than Detroit.

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEEK 8 REVIEW PLAYOFF % CHANCE
TEAM 24-May 31-May % DIFF WIN DIV
New York Yankees 59.5% 68.8% 9.3% 29.7%
Oakland Athletics 26.3% 35.3% 9.0% 35.0%
Toronto Blue Jays 8.1% 14.6% 6.5% 3.7%
Detroit Tigers 37.8% 40.8% 3.0% 33.0%
Seattle Mariners 0.8% 1.5% 0.7% 1.5%
Baltimore Orioles 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Cleveland Indians 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Los Angeles Angels 10.5% 10.0% -0.5% 9.9%
Chicago White Sox 1.5% 1.0% -0.5% 0.8%
Kansas City Royals 2.2% 1.4% -0.8% 1.2%
Boston Red Sox 21.3% 16.5% -4.8% 3.7%
Minnesota Twins 75.7% 70.0% -5.7% 64.9%
Tampa Bay Rays 92.2% 86.4% -5.8% 62.9%
Texas Rangers 64.2% 53.9% -10.3% 53.6%

NATIONAL LEAGUE

The Colorado Rockies had a good week at 4-2, but they dropped two of three to the Dodgers, so the 28 percentage point improvement is shocking to see. This improvement is tied to the potentially dominant one-two punch of Ubaldo Jimenez(notes) (0.88 ERA) and the healthy Jeff Francis(notes) (2.89 ERA), along with Colorado’s typical second half surge. AccuScore still thinks San Diego is not going to maintain their lofty 60 percent winning percentage. They are 31-20, but are projected to go just 54-58 the rest of the way. The Dodgers dropped nearly 8 points after going just 3-3, but they still lead the NL West projections. Arizona is the only team out of contention in the West after their winless week.

The Cincinnati Reds continue to win games they are supposed to win. They were 5-2 vs. lowly Pittsburgh and Houston and saw their playoff chances improve nearly 14 percent. Ordinarily taking five of seven from two bad teams would not help this much, but when your main competition for the division, St. Louis, went 3-3, and a potential wild-card competitor, Philadelphia, was just 2-4, it helps quite a bit. The Cardinals are still the 59 percent favorite for the division win over the Reds at 37 percent. St. Louis has five more home games than road games remaining while Cincinnati has nine more road games than home games.

The Atlanta Braves capitalized on Philadelphia’s down week. As Philly went 2-4 and dropped more than 12 points, the Braves went 5-1 and picked up nearly all of Philadelphia’s loss. Even though Atlanta leads Philadelphia by a half-game, AccuScore still expects Philadelphia to finish the season with a six-game lead in the NL East. The Phillies are an impressive 15-11 on the road this season (just 13-10 at home). If they start winning closer to 60 percent of their home games while winning just over 50 percent of the road games, no other NL East team will be able to keep up.

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEEK 8 REVIEW PLAYOFF % CHANCE
TEAM 24-May 31-May % DIFF WIN DIV
Colorado Rockies 11.1% 38.9% 27.8% 28.5%
Cincinnati Reds 46.1% 59.9% 13.8% 35.9%
Atlanta Braves 7.7% 18.9% 11.2% 13.3%
New York Mets 4.2% 6.1% 1.9% 4.1%
Milwaukee Brewers 1.1% 2.1% 1.0% 1.0%
Houston Astros 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pittsburgh Pirates 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Chicago Cubs 12.0% 10.9% -1.1% 4.3%
San Francisco Giants 18.7% 17.3% -1.4% 11.4%
Florida Marlins 16.2% 12.8% -3.4% 9.3%
San Diego Padres 24.5% 20.6% -3.9% 14.2%
St. Louis Cardinals 79.5% 75.6% -3.9% 58.8%
Los Angeles Dodgers 61.9% 54.0% -7.9% 45.0%
Washington Nationals 18.4% 10.0% -8.4% 6.9%
Philadelphia Phillies 83.8% 71.4% -12.4% 66.5%
Arizona Diamondbacks 14.7% 1.5% -13.2% 0.8%