AccuScore: Rangers take control in AL West

Jonathan Lee
Yahoo! Sports

AccuScore provides baseball predictions and projections by calculating the precise probability teams have of winning each game, their division, and making the playoffs. Using projected starting lineups, baseball predictions are created by simulating each game of the season one play at a time, up to 10,000 to 20,000 times. VisitAccuScore for weekly updates for all baseball and sports predictions.

American League

It was a short week of games because of the All-Star break with most teams playing only three games. One team that played four was the Texas Rangers, who swept Seattle on the road to make the biggest jump in playoff probability this week. The Rangers were already heavy favorites in the AL West, and now they have rattled off 11 wins in a row to take a complete stranglehold on the division. The real standings show only a four-game lead, but that gap is much wider according to AccuScore projections. Texas currently has a 96.6 percent chance of winning the division, jumping 13.1 percent in playoff probability this week. The Angels are the closest competitors, but a 1-3 series against Oakland hurt them significantly (down 12.5 percent). Seattle is just about done, currently riding a nine-game losing streak, and should seriously think about selling off some of its parts.

Ian Kinsler hit a pair of home runs for the Rangers on July 16.
(Getty Images)

Boston and New York continue to duel for the lead in the AL East, but in reality it doesn't matter who wins the division crown. Both teams are likely safely in the postseason with both teams gaining ground in the projected standings and over 88 percent in playoff probability. Tampa Bay is just simply in the wrong division. The Rays are clearly a top-five team in the American League, but appear boxed out of the postseason. They are just 10.3 percent likely to grab a playoff spot.

The Central is still the one race that is completely muddled. The Indians and Tigers are currently tied for the division lead with Cleveland the only team with a positive run differential (+3). Chicago also might be creeping back into the race, finally taking two of three from Detroit on the road to gain a modest 2.5 percent this week. Cleveland still leads the projected division race for now, winning the Central in 54.5 percent of simulations with Detroit taking it 41 percent of the time. Both teams have holes to fill heading toward the trade deadline.

American League Weekly Review Playoff % Chance
Team 11-Jul 17-Jul % Diff Win Div
Texas Rangers 83.8% 96.9% 13.1% 96.6%
Boston Red Sox 93.8% 98.3% 4.5% 74.3%
Chicago White Sox 1.2% 3.7% 2.5% 3.7%
Detroit Tigers 39.6% 41.1% 1.5% 41.0%
New York Yankees 88.6% 89.7% 1.1% 24.6%
Minnesota Twins 0.4% 0.7% 0.3% 0.7%
Kansas City Royals 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Oakland Athletics 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Baltimore Orioles 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Toronto Blue Jays 0.1% 0.0% -0.1% 0.0%
Seattle Mariners 1.2% 0.1% -1.1% 0.1%
Cleveland Indians 59.1% 54.6% -4.5% 54.5%
Tampa Bay Rays 15.2% 10.3% -4.9% 1.2%
Los Angeles Angels 17.0% 4.5% -12.5% 3.3%

National League

As with most weeks, the National League has proved more stable in the projected standings than the American League. One of the only teams to gain any kind of ground was Arizona, which used a series win over the Dodgers to jump 6.8 percent in playoff probability. The Diamondbacks continue to hang around in the NL West race trailing the Giants by just 3.5 games in the real standings. They made yet another change at first base, calling up Brandon Allen(notes) and sending down Juan Miranda(notes) in an endless search of productivity. San Francisco is still the clear leader in the NL West, winning the division 81.8 percent of the time. Colorado, expected by many baseball experts to be contenders, continues to flounder with just a 0.1 percent chance of bouncing back from a nine-game deficit.

The only other team to make gains was St. Louis. The Cardinals actually lost their series last week against the Reds, but Pittsburgh and Milwaukee both split their sets. That left the Cards in decent shape. They have also gotten healthier in recent days with the return of Albert Pujols(notes) and David Freese(notes) to bolster the lineup. While the Pirates are a nice story playing well deep into July, AccuScore still doesn't think they can keep it up, giving them just a 1-percent chance at actually winning a playoff spot. Milwaukee is actually still the favorite to win the division according to projections, but it had the steepest drop this week, losing 6.9 percent in playoff probability. The nagging hamstring issues of Ryan Braun(notes) has to be concerning to the team.

The NL East is home to probably the two best teams in the league. Philadelphia is still leading the way winning the division 75.7 percent of the time with Atlanta winning 24 percent. Both teams are in the driver's seat for a ticket to the postseason with the Braves 85.4 percent likely to keep playing after the regular season ends.

National League Weekly Review Playoff % Chance
Team 11-Jul 17-Jul % Diff Win Div
Arizona Diamondbacks 17.4% 24.2% 6.8% 18.0%
St. Louis Cardinals 36.9% 40.8% 3.9% 38.6%
Philadelphia Phillies 96.9% 97.9% 1.0% 75.7%
Pittsburgh Pirates 0.2% 1.0% 0.8% 1.0%
Houston Astros 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Florida Marlins 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0%
Colorado Rockies 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 0.1%
San Diego Padres 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Chicago Cubs 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Los Angeles Dodgers 0.1% 0.0% -0.1% 0.0%
Cincinnati Reds 4.4% 4.2% -0.2% 3.9%
New York Mets 0.4% 0.2% -0.2% 0.0%
Washington Nationals 4.9% 3.4% -1.5% 0.2%
San Francisco Giants 86.1% 84.2% -1.9% 81.8%
Atlanta Braves 87.4% 85.4% -2.0% 24.0%
Milwaukee Brewers 65.2% 58.3% -6.9% 56.4%