AccuScore: Red Sox pull into the thick of things

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

AMERICAN LEAGUE

The Boston Red Sox went 6-0 and picked up a whopping 32.8 percentage points in the playoff probability race. They actually caught Tampa Bay and are now sitting pretty at a 56.6 percent chance of making the playoffs. A perfect week would typically not have this big of an impact when it comes in interleague games, but with the Yankees going just 3-3 and the Rays 2-4, Boston pulled to within 1.5 games of the best record in the league. The reason Tampa Bay is slipping is their relatively weak home record. They are forecasted to win just 58 percent of their remaining home games while Boston and New York are at over 60 percent.

The Texas Rangers also had a perfect 6-0 week, and all the games were on the road. The Rangers have had the easiest schedule in the AL based on the combined winning percentage of their opponents. Despite this fact, their remaining schedule is not any harder than the rest of the AL West, so they are in good shape to win the division at 80.8 percent. The Angels are the other major threat to win the division. They need to win the AL West to make the playoffs as their chances of earning a Wild Card is just 0.3%. Oakland went 2-4 to fall further back (their playoff chances dropped in half this week) and Seattle is down to their last 0.1 percentage points. It is probably time for them to trade Cliff Lee(notes) and try to re-stock the team.

Even though Detroit had a better win-loss record at 5-1 than the Twins at 4-2, the Twins were the team to slightly improve their playoff chances. The Twins took two of three from Colorado and two of three on the road in Philadelphia (beating Roy Halladay(notes)). These wins were more impressive than Detroit’s wins over Washington and Arizona. The White Sox went 6-0, but only picked up 0.9 percentage points. They are still 5.5 back of Minnesota and like Detroit, their wins over Pittsburgh and Washington were not high quality wins like Minnesota’s.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

WEEK 11 REVIEW

PLAYOFF

% CHANCE

TEAM

14-Jun

21-Jun

% DIFF

WIN DIV

Boston Red Sox

23.8%

56.6%

32.8%

24.7%

Texas Rangers

61.5%

81.0%

19.5%

80.8%

Minnesota Twins

64.6%

68.1%

3.5%

63.8%

Chicago White Sox

0.4%

1.3%

0.9%

1.2%

Baltimore Orioles

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

Cleveland Indians

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

Detroit Tigers

41.4%

41.2%

-0.2%

34.9%

Kansas City Royals

0.4%

0.1%

-0.3%

0.1%

Seattle Mariners

0.4%

0.1%

-0.3%

0.1%

Toronto Blue Jays

4.6%

3.9%

-0.7%

0.9%

Oakland Athletics

12.0%

5.6%

-6.4%

5.5%

New York Yankees

89.5%

80.0%

-9.5%

54.5%

Los Angeles Angels

26.8%

13.9%

-12.9%

13.6%

Tampa Bay Rays

74.6%

48.2%

-26.4%

19.9%

NATIONAL LEAGUE

The Atlanta Braves have a 2.5-game lead thanks to their 5-1 week and they picked up over 25 percentage points this week. They had quality wins over Tampa Bay, which has had a dominant road record this year. The Mets nearly kept pace, going 4-2 and their road sweep in Cleveland and even winning one against the Yankees helped them improve 9 percent in the playoff race. Atlanta and the Mets’ improvement were at the expense of the Marlins (minus-9 percent) and the Nationals (minus-11 percent). The Phillies went 3-3 and managed to finish the week relatively unchanged.

The Cardinals were a solid 4-2 but their playoff chances improved 11 percent because Cincinnati was just 1-5. The Reds were swept by the lowly Mariners and dropped two of three at home to the Dodgers, a team they are competing with for a possible wild-card berth. The NL Central is the only division in the league with six teams, and it’s also the only division with four teams that have a combined 5 percent chance of making the playoffs. This division is clearly a two-team race, which is why front-running St. Louis has the highest playoff odds in the NL by far despite having a projected win total not much higher than the rest of the NL division leaders.

The Dodgers were 2-4, but they still improved their playoff chances by 4.2 percent. At first glance this seems like a calculation error, but the wins came on the road against a playoff contender (Cincinnati). The Padres also improved their chances thanks to the Rockies dropping nearly 13 percentage points. Colorado was a respectable 3-3, but two of their three wins were at home against the Brewers. Milwaukee is just 29-40 and a playoff contender like Colorado needed a sweep to keep up in the highly competitive playoff race where nine teams have better than a 20 percent chance of making the postseason.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

WEEK 11 REVIEW

PLAYOFF

% CHANCE

TEAM

14-Jun

21-Jun

% DIFF

WIN DIV

Atlanta Braves

31.4%

56.8%

25.4%

44.3%

St. Louis Cardinals

62.8%

73.9%

11.1%

65.8%

New York Mets

17.6%

26.7%

9.1%

17.2%

Los Angeles Dodgers

46.3%

50.5%

4.2%

40.4%

San Diego Padres

20.0%

23.8%

3.8%

15.6%

Chicago Cubs

2.8%

4.0%

1.2%

2.9%

Milwaukee Brewers

0.2%

1.0%

0.8%

0.7%

Philadelphia Phillies

41.8%

42.5%

0.7%

29.4%

Arizona Diamondbacks

0.1%

0.2%

0.1%

0.2%

Houston Astros

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

Pittsburgh Pirates

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

San Francisco Giants

44.2%

38.6%

-5.6%

28.4%

Florida Marlins

18.7%

9.8%

-8.9%

5.7%

Washington Nationals

16.6%

5.4%

-11.2%

3.3%

Colorado Rockies

36.5%

23.6%

-12.9%

15.4%

Cincinnati Reds

60.7%

43.2%

-17.5%

30.6%