AccuScore: The Padres are for real

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 after 12 weeks of play. Visit AccuScore.com for daily updates to the season forecast and all game forecasts updated twice a day.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

The White Sox’s winning streak finally came to an end but they had a 5-1 week and saw their playoff probability jump nearly 16 percentage points. The Twins still lead the AL Central but after going just 1-5 their playoff chances dropped nearly 14 points. While these playoff percentage swings are substantial, they are not as big as they would have been had the 5-1 White Sox and 1-5 Twins played within the AL or in the AL Central. The upcoming week could have huge AL playoff ramifications. The Twins are at home vs. the Tigers and Rays. The Twins must go 4-2 against their main division rival and a key wild-cardard rival if they want to continue to lead the AL Central. Even a respectable 3-3 week could result in a drop of 10 playoff points because the matchups are so important.

The Rangers continue to roll and their playoff chances jumped 14 percentage points all the way to 95 percent. They have had the easiest schedule in the league based on their opponent’s combined winning percentage, but it’s not like they should be ashamed. They did what they were supposed to do when the schedule is on your side – beat the bad teams. Texas’ success hurt the Angels, lowering their chances by 8.5 points despite the Angels’ 4-2 record.

The New York Yankees scored four runs in the ninth inning against Jonathan Broxton(notes) on Sunday and took two of three from the Dodgers. This capped a 4-2 week and the Yankees have re-established themselves as the clear leader in the AL East with a 71 percent chance of winning the division. The Red Sox were just 3-3 and saw their playoff chances drop nearly 6 percent. Even though the Red Sox won two games without Dustin Pedroia(notes), AccuScore indicates that the Red Sox’s playoff chances take a minus-10 hit if Pedroia is out six to eight weeks. The Rays are clearly struggling but they are going back on the road where they have dominated with a 24-12 record. There is a huge two-game series in Boston and the Rays could turn things around quickly if they can win both.

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEEK 12 REVIEW PLAYOFF % CHANCE
TEAM 21-Jun 28-Jun % DIFF WIN DIV
Chicago White Sox 1.3% 17.0% 15.7% 14.8%
Texas Rangers 81.0% 95.0% 14.0% 94.7%
New York Yankees 80.0% 89.8% 9.8% 71.2%
Toronto Blue Jays 3.9% 5.1% 1.2% 0.9%
Baltimore Orioles 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Cleveland Indians 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Kansas City Royals 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 0.1%
Seattle Mariners 0.1% 0.0% -0.1% 0.0%
Detroit Tigers 41.2% 40.4% -0.8% 35.3%
Oakland Athletics 5.6% 1.3% -4.3% 1.0%
Boston Red Sox 56.6% 50.8% -5.8% 15.9%
Tampa Bay Rays 48.2% 40.8% -7.4% 12.0%
Los Angeles Angels 13.9% 5.4% -8.5% 4.3%
Minnesota Twins 68.1% 54.3% -13.8% 49.8%

NATIONAL LEAGUE

The Phillies got a real gift when they got to play their road games vs. Toronto at home. Their 5-1 week was timed perfectly with 2-4 weeks from a key NL East competitor, Atlanta, and two key wild-card competitors, the Dodgers and Giants. The combined winning percentage of the Phillies’ remaining opponents is significantly lower than their opponents to date and AccuScore expects Philadelphia to close the 2.5 game gap in the NL East over the next month and eventually take the division. The Mets also had a good 8.7 percentage point improvement, but with five more road games than home games remaining, their schedule is not as favorable as that of the Phillies.

There were some unexpected results in the NL Central. The Reds were 5-1 and re-took the division lead but saw their playoff chances dip slightly by 2.7 percentage points. The Cardinals were 3-3 but saw a 8.2 point improvement. Both teams performed to expectations this week with the Cardinals going 3-3 on the road and the Reds going 5-1 against weak Oakland and Cleveland. The reason St. Louis is our favorite in the division is the fact that the Cardinals have five more home games than road games the rest of the season while Cincinnati has 10 more road games. This plus-15 home game advantage for the Cardinals should ultimately translate into a four- or five-game lead at the end of the season.

AccuScore has to finally accept that the Padres are for real after a 5-1 week and a 17.7 point improvement. It was especially impressive that the 5-1 came on the road. The Padres were helped out by the struggles of the Dodgers and Giants who were both 2-4. The Dodgers and Giants play a series that starts Monday and the Rockies and Padres play a series. By Thursday it is possible that our top four in the NL West could be re-arranged significantly based on the outcome of these series.

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEEK 12 REVIEW PLAYOFF % CHANCE
TEAM 21-Jun 28-Jun % DIFF WIN DIV
Philadelphia Phillies 42.5% 63.6% 21.1% 51.2%
San Diego Padres 23.8% 41.5% 17.7% 31.9%
New York Mets 26.7% 35.4% 8.7% 23.4%
St. Louis Cardinals 73.9% 82.1% 8.2% 74.1%
Colorado Rockies 23.6% 28.9% 5.3% 21.0%
Milwaukee Brewers 1.0% 2.7% 1.7% 1.5%
Arizona Diamondbacks 0.2% 0.2% 0.0% 0.1%
Houston Astros 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pittsburgh Pirates 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Florida Marlins 9.8% 8.7% -1.1% 5.0%
Washington Nationals 5.4% 2.8% -2.6% 1.5%
Cincinnati Reds 43.2% 40.5% -2.7% 23.7%
Chicago Cubs 4.0% 1.2% -2.8% 0.7%
Los Angeles Dodgers 50.5% 45.0% -5.5% 35.8%
San Francisco Giants 38.6% 16.2% -22.4% 11.2%
Atlanta Braves 56.8% 31.2% -25.6% 18.8%