Accuscore: Dodgers, Rays boost chances

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

AMERICAN LEAGUE

The Tampa Bay Rays may have been fighting in the dugout a week ago, but Week 13 saw them go 4-2 against key playoff competitors in Boston and Minnesota. By beating playoff competition on the road, the Rays improved their playoff chances by more than 13 percentage points. They are the only American League team to see a significant improvement in their playoff chances this week. The Rays are only two games behind the Yankees, but AccuScore simulations still strongly favor the Yankees to win the AL East at 65 percent to Tampa Bay’s 19 percent and Boston’s 16 percent. Interestingly, the Rays’ poor home record is the cause for concern.

The Rangers were just 2-4 this week and their playoff chances dipped more than five percentage Points, but by splitting a pair of games against the Angels on the road, they were able to minimize the damage that a 2-4 week can have. In simulations the Rangers are finishing with slightly fewer wins than both Tampa Bay and Boston, but their chances of making the playoffs are much higher. The Angels are just 3.5 games back of Texas, but the Rangers are expected to increase this gap to 7-plus games by the end of the season. The reason why the Angels are only making the playoffs in 8.5 percent of simulations is their remaining home schedule includes Tampa Bay, Boston and two series with the Rangers. Of course if LA can take five of seven from Texas in their games after the All-Star break (last two weekends in July) they can quickly close the gap. Anything worse than going 4-3 could give Texas a very comfortable cushion down the stretch.

The Twins, Tigers and White Sox all had mediocre weeks at 3-4, 3-3, and 3-3 respectively. The Twins dropped more than three percentage points, but despite their poor play recently, AccuScore still favors the Twins to take the division at 48.6 percent. The Tigers have only played seven games against the AL East while Minnesota has played 21. When the Tigers start playing the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox, AccuScore expects them to start falling behind Minnesota. Minnesota is also doing well in the Central with a 19-10 record and there is a good chance that by the end of the season the Twins will beat the White Sox and Tigers at a plus-.500 rate in head-to-head matchups, which would also help Minnesota separate.

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEEK 13 REVIEW PLAYOFF % CHANCE
TEAM 28-Jun 5-Jul % DIFF WIN DIV
Tampa Bay Rays 40.8% 53.9% 13.1% 18.8%
Los Angeles Angels 5.4% 8.5% 3.1% 7.8%
Oakland Athletics 1.3% 2.5% 1.2% 2.4%
Seattle Mariners 0.0% 0.7% 0.7% 0.6%
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% 0.0% -0.1% 0.0%
Chicago White Sox 17.0% 16.2% -0.8% 14.8%
Detroit Tigers 40.4% 39.4% -1.0% 36.6%
Boston Red Sox 50.8% 49.5% -1.3% 16.2%
New York Yankees 89.8% 87.8% -2.0% 64.9%
Minnesota Twins 54.3% 51.2% -3.1% 48.5%
Toronto Blue Jays 5.1% 0.7% -4.4% 0.1%
Texas Rangers 95.0% 89.6% -5.4% 89.3%

NATIONAL LEAGUE

The Reds went 5-2 this week and managed to win three of four on the road against the Cubs. Up to this point in the season the Reds have rode an imbalanced schedule with 11 more home games than road games to take the division lead. While taking three of four on the road is good regardless of the opponent, the Reds will have to show they can play .500 baseball vs. good teams on the road if they expect to win the NL Central. Despite being 1.5 games back, the Cardinals are still the favorite to win the Central at 60 percent to just under 40 for the Reds.

The Dodgers were 5-1 this past week and because it included a road sweep of rival San Francisco, they saw their playoff chances jump over 20 percentage points. San Diego continues to have the best record in the NL after another solid 4-3 week, although three of the four wins were against lowly Houston, and they did drop two of three at home to Colorado. Despite having the best record in the NL, AccuScore continues to demonstrate a lack of faith in their ability to sustain this great performance during the second half of the season, giving the Padres just a 48 percent chance of making the playoffs.

The Phillies had a bad 2-5 week and saw their playoff chances drop by more than half. They dropped two of three to the Reds, one of their main potential wild-card competitors and dropped two of three to lowly Pittsburgh. Ordinarily, a 2-5 week would not result in a 35 percentage point drop, but the negative impact from the injuries to Chase Utley(notes) and Placido Polanco(notes) is an additional factor. Right now the Braves and Mets are neck and neck for the projected division title, with the Braves finishing one game ahead of the Mets by year end.

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEEK 13 REVIEW PLAYOFF % CHANCE
TEAM 28-Jun 5-Jul % DIFF WIN DIV
Cincinnati Reds 40.5% 61.6% 21.1% 39.2%
Los Angeles Dodgers 45.0% 65.3% 20.3% 52.6%
Atlanta Braves 31.2% 40.7% 9.5% 34.6%
San Diego Padres 41.5% 48.4% 6.9% 32.0%
New York Mets 35.4% 37.4% 2.0% 31.7%
Florida Marlins 8.7% 9.6% 0.9% 7.7%
Washington Nationals 2.8% 3.5% 0.7% 2.7%
Houston Astros 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pittsburgh Pirates 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Arizona Diamondbacks 0.2% 0.0% -0.2% 0.0%
Chicago Cubs 1.2% 0.3% -0.9% 0.1%
Milwaukee Brewers 2.7% 0.6% -2.1% 0.3%
Colorado Rockies 28.9% 24.0% -4.9% 13.6%
St. Louis Cardinals 82.1% 76.0% -6.1% 60.4%
San Francisco Giants 16.2% 3.7% -12.5% 1.8%
Philadelphia Phillies 63.6% 28.7% -34.9% 23.3%