MLB Playoff Shifts: Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Indians, Cardinals

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Once again it looks like the Wild Card will be coming out of the AL East. The Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays are all within a half game in the standings, and only the surprising Indians have a better record in the American League. Boston and New York made the biggest jumps in the projected playoff standings as both won five times in the past week. Tampa was only one of the three to have to go on the road during interleague, and the Rays actually were the biggest losers of the week falling 25.7 percentage points in playoff probability. Still, all three teams are top contenders and are projected between 53.3 percent and 60.7 percent likely to make the postseason.

The Rangers went only 3-4 this week, but all their games were on the road and both Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton have returned to health. Texas made solid gains climbing 9.7 percentage points. The Angels meanwhile have fallen back to reality and .500 overall. They also dropped 25.7 percentage points in AccuScore's projected standings and could be vulnerable for more losses with the injury to Howie Kendrick. The Seattle Mariners are actually the hottest team in the AL West having won five games in a row and have come off the mat from virtually no shot at the playoffs (0.1 percent last week) to long shot (7.9 percent this week).

The Central division meanwhile continues to be a one-team show featuring Cleveland and nobody else. The Indians have the best record in baseball and hold a seven game lead in the division. Their closest competitor to date has been the Tigers who won only once this past week and as a result dropped 16.1 percentage points.

American League

Weekly Review Playoff % Chance
Team 16-May 22-May % Diff Win Div
Boston Red Sox 27.5% 57.8% 30.3% 33.0%
New York Yankees 38.5% 53.3% 14.8% 29.7%
Texas Rangers 20.9% 30.6% 9.7% 28.6%
Seattle Mariners 0.1% 7.9% 7.8% 7.4%
Chicago White Sox 1.3% 4.6% 3.3% 2.8%
Oakland Athletics 1.4% 2.8% 1.4% 2.7%
Toronto Blue Jays 2.6% 3.5% 0.9% 1.0%
Baltimore Orioles 0.0% 0.1% 0.1% 0.0%
Minnesota Twins 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Kansas City Royals 7.0% 7.0% 0.0% 3.5%
Cleveland Indians 83.6% 82.4% -1.2% 77.5%
Detroit Tigers 42.9% 26.8% -16.1% 16.1%
Los Angeles Angels 87.8% 62.7% -25.1% 61.3%
Tampa Bay Rays 86.3% 60.6% -25.7% 36.3%


Even through various injuries to both pitchers and position players and major struggles by Albert Pujols, St. Louis keeps on winning. The Cardinals went 6-1 this week including taking a 2-game set from the Phillies. They jumped 21.9 percentage points, and are now the most likely team in baseball to be playing postseason baseball at 84.1 percent. Behind St. Louis there was more churn in the NL Central. Cincinnati lost five games in a row while Milwaukee won three in a row. As a result the Reds dropped 16.1 percentage points while the Brewers jumped 9.5 percentage points.

The drama in Los Angeles focuses mostly on the ownership of the McCourts, but the on-field struggles might be just as bad. The Dodgers have the second worst run differential in baseball, and they now have project to make the playoffs in just 1.0 percent of simulations. The Diamondbacks meanwhile have rocketed past the Dodgers having won six straight games. Arizona now has a 14.7 percent chance at winning the West, but the Giants are still the clear favorite. San Francisco is on a win streak of its own (five in a row) and is 65.7 percent likely to win the division.

Both the Phillies and Braves lost more than 10 percentage points in the projected playoff race, but the pair are still the favorites in the NL East. Philadelphia is more than likely to win the division (64.7 percent), but Atlanta is still the leading Wild Card contender. The losses by both teams are as a result of teams like Arizona, Milwaukee, Colorado, and Florida making in-roads to the Wild Card race.

National League Weekly Review Playoff % Chance
Team 16-May 22-May % Diff Win Div
St. Louis Cardinals 62.2% 84.1% 21.9% 73.8%
Arizona Diamondbacks 6.7% 18.4% 11.7% 14.7%
Milwaukee Brewers 23.9% 33.4% 9.5% 16.1%
Colorado Rockies 13.3% 22.6% 9.3% 18.3%
San Francisco Giants 64.3% 69.0% 4.7% 65.7%
Florida Marlins 22.2% 26.4% 4.2% 13.0%
New York Mets 0.0% 0.2% 0.2% 0.1%
Pittsburgh Pirates 0.0% 0.1% 0.1% 0.0%
Houston Astros 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Washington Nationals 0.2% 0.0% -0.2% 0.0%
Chicago Cubs 1.1% 0.5% -0.6% 0.2%
San Diego Padres 2.4% 0.4% -2.0% 0.4%
Philadelphia Phillies 88.5% 78.3% -10.2% 64.7%
Los Angeles Dodgers 15.5% 1.0% -14.5% 0.8%
Cincinnati Reds 39.2% 23.1% -16.1% 9.9%
Atlanta Braves 60.4% 42.5% -17.9% 22.2%