2011 MLB Playoff Shifts - Week 5

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For the second consecutive week both the Angels and Rays made leaps of over 20 percentage points in AccuScore’s projected playoff probabilities.  Tampa Bay got All-Star third baseman Evan Longoria back from injury which helped it continue a hot streak that spans the past month. 

The Rays have gone 20-8 since opening the season 0-6 to take the lead in the AL East.   They leapt 29.4 percentage points in the playoff race, and are now 62.3 percent to win the division.  The Yankees are in a virtual tie with the Rays, and both lead the Red Sox who are still toiling below .500.

Los Angeles of Anaheim made another significant jump this week by notching two wins each against Boston and Cleveland, both of whom are playoff contenders.  Much of those  gains were made at the expense of preseason favorite Texas which is starting to really struggle with injuries.  Closer Neftali Feliz just returned from the DL, but slugger Nelson Cruz is now out.  The Rangers need to get him and Josh Hamilton back in the lineup and hitting to compete seriously with the Angels.

The AccuScore computers have faith in the Indians projected them to win the weak Central 85.6 percent of the time.  The computers have been reluctant to believe in the Royals, but this week brought some change to that as Kansas City rose nine percentage points.  Detroit has crept close to .500, but Minnesota and Chicago have continued to struggle boosting the unlikely runs by the upstart Indians and Royals.

American League Weekly Review Playoff % Chance
Team 2-May 8-May % Diff Win Div
Tampa Bay Rays 55.7% 85.1% 29.4% 62.3%
Los Angeles Angels 69.1% 92.1% 23.0% 89.7%
Kansas City Royals 3.4% 12.4% 9.0% 5.3%
Cleveland Indians 82.6% 89.0% 6.4% 85.6%
Detroit Tigers 16.2% 16.9% 0.7% 8.4%
Seattle Mariners 0.4% 0.1% -0.3% 0.0%
Baltimore Orioles 0.7% 0.1% -0.6% 0.0%
Toronto Blue Jays 1.6% 1.0% -0.6% 0.2%
Minnesota Twins 4.6% 1.2% -3.4% 0.6%
Chicago White Sox 4.2% 0.1% -4.1% 0.1%
Oakland Athletics 7.9% 2.3% -5.6% 1.1%
New York Yankees 75.8% 69.7% -6.1% 34.1%
Boston Red Sox 30.2% 12.3% -17.9% 3.4%
Texas Rangers 47.7% 17.7% -30.0% 9.2%

The Braves started the season slowly, but are proving their mettle as top contenders.  They have an underrated rotation and the best one-two relief punch in the league in Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel.  Atlanta swept a four-game set from the Brewers this week and took two of three from the league-leading Phillies.  Their only loss was in the debut of flame-throwing rookie Julio Teheran, one of the biggest prospects in baseball.  Players like Teheran could boost the Braves down the stretch.  The Braves made the biggest jump in playoff odds this week to take control of the projected Wild Card race.  Even with the gains by Atlanta, the Phillies improved their own playoff odds by continuing to win.  The counterweight to the two NL East favorites was a 22.7 percentage point drop by the Marlins.

Milwaukee was supposed to contend, but at this point stand just a game ahead of lowly Houston and trail St. Louis by 5.5 games.  The Astros are the first team in either league to reach 0.0 percent in playoff probability.  Being right next to them in the standings is not a good place for the Brewers to be.  Meanwhile, St. Louis continues to win and is now 77.4 percent likely to win the Central. 

The Dodgers and Rockies combined to win just three games in the past week causing both to drop in the projected standings.  L.A.’s lack of offense and ownership issues has the team flailing.  Colorado has hit a rough patch, and now trails the Giants in the race for the division.  The Rockies are projected to win the West in 37.6 percent of simulations while San Francisco is now winning 39.2 percent of the time.

National League Weekly Review Playoff % Chance
Team 2-May 8-May % Diff Win Div
Atlanta Braves 28.5% 65.4% 36.9% 21.5%
St. Louis Cardinals 74.4% 81.9% 7.5% 77.4%
Philadelphia Phillies 85.3% 92.6% 7.3% 74.8%
Cincinnati Reds 11.4% 16.4% 5.0% 9.6%
Arizona Diamondbacks 6.3% 10.9% 4.6% 10.4%
San Diego Padres 1.3% 2.8% 1.5% 2.7%
Chicago Cubs 0.6% 1.6% 1.0% 0.9%
San Francisco Giants 40.0% 40.7% 0.7% 39.2%
New York Mets 0.2% 0.4% 0.2% 0.0%
Pittsburgh Pirates 0.0% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1%
Houston Astros 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Washington Nationals 1.0% 0.7% -0.3% 0.1%
Los Angeles Dodgers 17.3% 10.6% -6.7% 10.1%
Colorado Rockies 48.0% 39.1% -8.9% 37.6%
Florida Marlins 40.2% 17.5% -22.7% 3.7%
Milwaukee Brewers 45.3% 19.5% -25.8% 12.0%