Major League Baseball Playoff Shifts: Week 8
The Atlanta Braves capitalized on Philadelphia’s down week.
By Stephen Oh
The Colorado Rockies had a good week at 4-2, but they dropped 2 of 3 to the Dodgers, so the +28 percentage point improvement is shocking to see. This improvement is tied to the potentially dominant one-two punch of Ubaldo Jimenez (0.88 ERA) and the healthy Jeff Francis (2.89 ERA) along with Colorado's typical second half surge. AccuScore still thinks San Diego is not going to maintain their lofty 60 percent winning percentage. They are 30-20 as of 5/31 but are projected to go just 54-58 the rest of the way. The Dodgers may have dropped nearly 8 points after going just 3-3, but they still lead the NL West projections. Arizona is the only team out of contention in the West after their horrible winless week.
The Cincinnati Reds continue to win games they are supposed to win. They were 5-2 vs lowly Pittsburgh and Houston and they saw their playoff chances improve nearly 14 percent. Ordinarily taking 5 of 7 from two bad teams would not help this much, but when your main competition for the division, St. Louis is just 3-3 in the week and a potential Wild Card competitor, Philadelphia was just 2-4, it helps quite a bit. The Cardinals are still the 59 percent favorite for the division win over the Reds at 37 percent. St. Louis has 5 more home games than road games remaining while Cincinnati has 9 more road games than home games.
The Atlanta Braves capitalized on Philadelphia's down week. As Philly went 2-4 and dropped over 12 points the Braves went 5-1 and picked up nearly all of Philadelphia's loss. Even though Atlanta is only a half game behind Philadelphia as of 5/31 AccuScore still expects Philadelphia to finish the season with a 6 game lead in the NL East. The Phillies are an impressive 15-11 on the road this season (just 13-10 at home). If they start winning closer to 60 percent of their home games while winning just over 50 percent of the road games no other NL East team will be able to keep up.
The Boston Red Sox had the most impressive wins of the week sweeping Tampa Bay on the road, but they still lost ground in the playoff race. They only managed a split at home vs Kansas City. They were a heavier favorite on a percentage basis in 2 of their home losses to KC than they were underdogs in Tampa Bay so a loss to KC at home more than negates the benefits of an upset win in TB. The Yankees also went 4-2 with two quality wins over Minnesota which helped them improve over 9 percentage points. It also hurt Boston that Toronto and Oakland both had good weeks.
The Texas Rangers slipped a half game back of Oakland after the Rangers went just 1-4 and Oakland went 4-2. Even though Texas is currently second in the AL West they still have the best chance of winning the division at 53.6 percent. It is still early in the season, but currently the combined winning percentage of Texas' remaining opponents is 47 percent vs 50 percent for Oakland. Texas has the easier schedule based on this stat. The Angels probably lost Kendry Morales after he broke a foot celebrating a game winning Grand Slam. This lost combined with the painful resurgence of Vlad Guerrero in Texas seems to indicate the Angels may be cursed this year.
Detroit went 1-4 and ordinarily this would drop a team -5 percent or more, instead they somehow picked up 3 percentage points. This improvement is tied to better performance in future game simulations because Max Scherzer had a great game and may be able to be much better the rest of the season than he was to start the season. Detroit has more home games than road games the rest of the season and their remaining opponents have won just 47 percent of their games. Even though Detroit improved they are still well behind Minnesota who still have nearly twice as good a chance of taking the AL Central at 65 percent than Detroit.