AccuScore: Rangers take Texas-sized 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 after nine weeks of play. Visit AccuScore.com for daily updates to the season forecast and all game forecasts updated twice a day.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Texas led the American League with a 10.6 percentage-point improvement in playoff probability after going 4-2 including taking two of three over Tampa Bay. It is surprising to see Texas with such a solid 64 percent lead in the AL West race considering they are just 0.5 a game ahead of the Angels (3.1 percent improvement this week) and one game ahead of Oakland. Texas’ remaining opponents currently have a combined winning percentage under 47 percent which is three points lower than the Angels and Oakland opponent percentages. Texas plays three series against the Angels from late June to early August. Ultimately, head-to-head games will have the largest impact on who wins the division.

The Yankees are two games behind Tampa Bay and in the season forecast they are just two percentage points behind the Rays in the race to win the division. The Yankees went a strong 5-2 while Tampa Bay was just 3-4. At a 78 percent chance of making the playoffs the Yankees have the second-best chance of making the playoffs in the AL (third highest in MLB) despite being second to Tampa Bay. The Red Sox went a solid 4-2 in Week 9 but taking two of three from Baltimore does not help a team much because Boston was ’supposed’ to go 3-0 at home against the lowly Orioles. At 90 wins Boston has the fourth-best forecasted win total in the A,L but they have just the sixth best playoff percentage.

No AL Central team improved its playoff probability because they all were under .500 for the week. Minnesota holds a 3.5 game lead in the division and in the season forecast the Twins are finishing an average of three wins ahead of the Tigers at the end of the season. With either Tampa Bay or the Yankees poised to take the wild card, the Twins, Tigers, Angels, Rangers and A’s playoff chances are basically the same as their chance of winning their division.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

WEEK 9 REVIEW

PLAYOFF

% CHANCE

TEAM

31-May

7-Jun

% DIFF

WIN DIV

Texas Rangers

53.9%

64.5%

10.6%

64.4%

New York Yankees

68.8%

78.2%

9.4%

44.0%

Boston Red Sox

16.5%

23.3%

6.8%

6.8%

Los Angeles Angels

10.0%

13.1%

3.1%

13.1%

Baltimore Orioles

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

Cleveland Indians

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

Kansas City Royals

1.4%

1.0%

-0.4%

0.8%

Chicago White Sox

1.0%

0.2%

-0.8%

0.2%

Seattle Mariners

1.5%

0.4%

-1.1%

0.4%

Minnesota Twins

70.0%

67.8%

-2.2%

64.9%

Toronto Blue Jays

14.6%

12.4%

-2.2%

3.2%

Detroit Tigers

40.8%

38.4%

-2.4%

34.1%

Tampa Bay Rays

86.4%

78.5%

-7.9%

46.0%

Oakland Athletics

35.3%

22.3%

-13.0%

22.1%

NATIONAL LEAGUE

The Dodgers are still half a game behind San Diego but by the end of the season the Dodgers are expected to take the NL West with a nearly 58 percent chance. San Diego still has not convinced AccuScore’s computers that it is a legitimate contender despite having the best record in the NL. The Padres remaining schedule is tougher than it has been to this point and they have more road games than home games. The Rockies were a decent 3-3, but losing two of three to Arizona combined with the strong Dodgers’ performance took a big toll on the Rockies playoff chances.

St. Louis is tied with the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central after the Cardinals went 4-2 and picked up over 11 percentage points. The Reds improved slightly after a 3-3 week because the Cubs and Brewers were just a 3-9 combined. The Cardinals are currently forecasted to finish three or four games ahead of Cincinnati by the end of the season, but Cincinnati is clearly well-positioned to take the wild card with a 32.7 percent chance of winning the wild card (29.8 percent to win the division). These teams are getting helped by the poor play from the rest of the division. No other team has better than a 30 percent chance of even finishing .500 this season.

The Atlanta Braves were 5-2 to continue their hot play, but they still only have a 24 percent chance of making the playoffs. They hold a two-game lead on Philadelphia after they swept Philly to start the week. Even though the Phillies bats went silent for a while, AccuScore still believes they are the team to beat in the NL East. Florida went just 3-4 this week but picked up 3.7 percent in the playoff race. This can be attributed to the call-up of Michael Stanton(notes) whose bat could help Florida win two to four more games this year than they would have without him.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

WEEK 9 REVIEW

PLAYOFF

% CHANCE

TEAM

31-May

7-Jun

% DIFF

WIN DIV

Los Angeles Dodgers

54.0%

65.9%

11.9%

57.9%

St. Louis Cardinals

75.6%

86.8%

11.2%

69.1%

Atlanta Braves

18.9%

24.3%

5.4%

18.5%

Florida Marlins

12.8%

16.5%

3.7%

12.4%

Cincinnati Reds

59.9%

62.5%

2.6%

29.8%

San Diego Padres

20.6%

21.7%

1.1%

14.2%

San Francisco Giants

17.3%

18.2%

0.9%

12.1%

New York Mets

6.1%

6.3%

0.2%

4.7%

Houston Astros

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

Pittsburgh Pirates

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

Arizona Diamondbacks

1.5%

0.3%

-1.2%

0.2%

Milwaukee Brewers

2.1%

0.3%

-1.8%

0.1%

Philadelphia Phillies

71.4%

66.4%

-5.0%

61.6%

Washington Nationals

10.0%

3.6%

-6.4%

2.7%

Chicago Cubs

10.9%

2.8%

-8.1%

1.0%

Colorado Rockies

38.9%

24.4%

-14.5%

15.6%