AccuScore: Deadline deals boost playoff odds

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 season after 17 weeks of play. Visit AccuScore.com for daily updates to the season forecast and all game forecasts updated twice a day.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

The Twins had a great week. Not only were they a perfect 6-0, but their starting pitching continued to be strong – Twins starters have an ERA under 3.00 since the All-Star break. The combination of a great week, the near return of Justin Mourneau and the addition of All-Star reliever Matt Capps(notes) positioned the Twins to take the AL Central with a 67 percent chance. The White Sox were nearly as good at 6-1, but they did not keep up with the Twins in the other areas. The big losers in the division were the Detroit Tigers, who were just 1-6, are seven games out of first place and down to less than 1 percent chance of making the playoffs.

The Red Sox are still long shots to make the playoffs at 28.8 percent but they did have a strong 5-1 week and saw their playoff chances improve by nearly 12 percent. They had an impressive three-game sweep in of the Angels and the healthy return of Josh Beckett(notes) should at least give them a shot at the wild card. The Red Sox have a good shot at finishing with the third-best record in the AL and finish in third place in the AL East. The Yankees dropped two of three to the Rays. The combination of Tampa Bay going 6-1 and Boston 5-1 dropped the Yankees playoff probability by more than 11 percentage points. The Yankees and the Rays are still strong favorites to win the AL East and the AL wild card.

The Texas Rangers have not given Cliff Lee(notes) much run support but with him and their eight-game lead, they are winning the division at nearly a 99 percent rate in simulations. Interestingly, when they do not win the division they have no chance of making the playoffs as a Wild Card. The Angels and Oakland were just 2-4 this week and now only have a combined 1.4 percent chance of making the playoffs.

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEEK 17 REVIEW PLAYOFF % CHANCE
TEAM 26-Jul 2-Aug % DIFF WIN DIV
Minnesota Twins 55.7% 69.6% 13.9% 67.3%
Boston Red Sox 17.0% 28.8% 11.8% 8.3%
Texas Rangers 95.5% 98.7% 3.2% 98.7%
Chicago White Sox 32.9% 35.9% 3.0% 32.1%
Tampa Bay Rays 77.3% 78.5% 1.2% 36.2%
Baltimore Orioles 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Cleveland Indians 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Kansas City Royals 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Seattle Mariners 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Toronto Blue Jays 1.1% 0.2% -0.9% 0.0%
Oakland Athletics 1.7% 0.5% -1.2% 0.5%
Los Angeles Angels 5.9% 0.9% -5.0% 0.8%
New York Yankees 97.7% 86.3% -11.4% 55.5%
Detroit Tigers 15.1% 0.6% -14.5% 0.6%

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Roy Oswalt(notes) may have gotten rocked in his first start for Philadelphia, but his addition and a strong 5-2 week helped the Phillies boost their playoff chances by 9 percent. They are still 2.5 games behind Atlanta and have just 28 percent chance of winning the NL East. The NL East is now a two-team race with Florida and the Mets having just an 8.8 percent chance of closing the 6.5 game gap.

The Phillies are still long shots for the playoffs because the Padres and Giants are both up this week. San Diego was just 3-3 but with Ryan Ludwick(notes) and Miguel Tejada(notes) the offense is improved enough to show a 5.6 percent improvement in simulatinos. The Giants are up 3.7 percent because of their 5-2 week, which included a sweep of the Dodgers. The Dodgers also dropped two of three to the Padres and saw their playoff chances drop by 10 percent. The dip would have been greater, but the addition of Ted Lilly(notes) helped them add 4 percent in playoff probability. The Rockies were a decent 4-3, but with the upgrades in the rest of the division, they are down to just a 10 percent chance of making the playoffs.

The Cardinals added Jake Westbrook(notes) and went 4-2 which helped them improve to a 69.8 percent chance of winning the NL Central. Cincinnati is a half-game behind the Cardinals and they went 4-2 as well, but they are only winning the division in 30.1 percent of simulations. The Reds have five more road games than the Cardinals. With the surge by the Padres, Giants and Phillies,the Reds are down to a 41 percent chance of making the playoffs.

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEEK 17 REVIEW PLAYOFF % CHANCE
TEAM 26-Jul 2-Aug % DIFF WIN DIV
Philadelphia Phillies 27.5% 36.7% 9.2% 28.4%
San Diego Padres 64.9% 70.5% 5.6% 49.4%
San Francisco Giants 60.9% 64.6% 3.7% 37.8%
St. Louis Cardinals 72.7% 76.1% 3.4% 69.8%
Cincinnati Reds 40.2% 41.3% 1.1% 30.1%
Florida Marlins 6.2% 6.3% 0.1% 5.1%
Arizona Diamondbacks 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Houston Astros 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pittsburgh Pirates 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Washington Nationals 0.1% 0.0% -0.1% 0.0%
Milwaukee Brewers 0.4% 0.0% -0.4% 0.0%
Chicago Cubs 0.5% 0.0% -0.5% 0.0%
New York Mets 6.9% 4.5% -2.4% 3.7%
Colorado Rockies 14.5% 10.3% -4.2% 4.1%
Atlanta Braves 73.2% 68.2% -5.0% 62.9%
Los Angeles Dodgers 31.9% 21.6% -10.3% 8.7%