2011 MLB Playoff Shifts: Red Sox, Yankees, Indians, Phillies

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When the calendar flips to June it means its time in baseball when the playoff race really starts to take shape.  Appropriately, a few expected contenders are now sitting atop the projected standards in the AL.  Texas made the biggest leap this week jumping 32.6 percentage points in playoff probability to return to favored status in the AL West. 

The Rangers have gotten Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton back in the lineup, and are now 71 percent likely to win their division.  On the flipside, the Angels dropped 28.7 percentage points this week, and are now only 14.8 percent likely to win the division.  The Mariners and A’s are both just 1.5 games back in real standings, but have just a combined 6.3 percent chance to win the West.

Many in New England panicked after the Red Sox started slowly this year, but Boston now sits in first place on Memorial Day.  Boston jumped 24.5 percentage points in playoff probability this week, and are the new favorites in the AL East at 61.4 percent.  Much of those gains came at the expense of Tampa Bay and New York which dropped a combined 27.5 percentage points.  Like Texas, Boston has re-acquired its position as favorites to make the playoffs and in its own division.

The Tigers are hovering around .500, but wins over Boston and Tampa Bay show that they are starting to play much better baseball.  They are also starting to chip away at the front-running Indians who still lead the division by six games.  Detroit gained 22 percentage points in playoff probability by showing it was capable of beating good teams.  Cleveland meanwhile lost 14.8 percentage points showing many more chinks in the armor getting outscored by 18 runs in 6 games this week.  The Indians still continue to lead the Central because of the weakness of their competition, but it was starkly clear this week that against the best teams in the American League they still aren’t up to the level their gaudy record would indicate.

American League Weekly Review Playoff % Chance
Team 23-May 29-May % Diff Win Div
Texas Rangers 41.0% 73.6% 32.6% 71.0%
Boston Red Sox 56.7% 81.2% 24.5% 61.4%
Detroit Tigers 26.7% 48.7% 22.0% 38.7%
Toronto Blue Jays 3.3% 6.1% 2.8% 1.8%
Minnesota Twins 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Oakland Athletics 2.3% 2.3% 0.0% 1.8%
Baltimore Orioles 0.1% 0.0% -0.1% 0.0%
Seattle Mariners 6.8% 5.4% -1.4% 4.5%
Chicago White Sox 4.8% 1.7% -3.1% 1.4%
Kansas City Royals 7.4% 1.3% -6.1% 0.9%
Tampa Bay Rays 59.5% 47.4% -12.1% 22.1%
Cleveland Indians 81.6% 66.8% -14.8% 59.1%
New York Yankees 53.8% 38.4% -15.4% 14.8%
Los Angeles Angels 55.8% 27.1% -28.7% 22.6%


The Buster Posey injury was the big story last week.  There was plenty of talk about changing the rules regarding collisions at the plate, but the bigger concern for the Giants is on the field.  San Francisco lost 32.3 percentage points in the projected playoff race according to AccuScore simulations.  Posey leaves a big hole in the lineup as the team only has three players with an OPS over .700 with at least 100 at-bats.  Arizona steps into the void this week making the biggest jump in baseball with 37.3 percentage points.  The Diamondbacks won six times on the road last week, and the offense has really started to click with guys like Juan Miranda, Miguel Montero, and Kelly Johnson.  They are now the projected favorites in the NL West at 53.1 percent.   Colorado continues to lose ground with its lack of pitching depth starting to become exposed.

The only other team in the National League to make significant gains this week was the Brewers.  They went 5-1 picking up a game on the first place Cardinals and 3.5 games on the Reds.  Milwaukee is now 58.5 percent likely to make the postseason, and is a solid contender for the Central division and the Wild Card.  The Cardinals continue to roll along however and are still projected for the playoffs 82.6 percent of the time.  Milwaukee’s success comes at the expense of Cincinnati which lost 18.1 percentage points.  The Reds are really struggling with injuries to their pitching staff.  They have allowed the most runs in the National League negating their top rated offense.

National League Weekly Review Playoff % Chance
Team 23-May 29-May % Diff Win Div
Arizona Diamondbacks 17.7% 55.0% 37.3% 53.1%
Milwaukee Brewers 33.9% 58.5% 24.6% 32.5%
Philadelphia Phillies 78.7% 84.0% 5.3% 71.1%
Atlanta Braves 42.0% 44.3% 2.3% 20.2%
San Diego Padres 0.3% 2.6% 2.3% 2.5%
Los Angeles Dodgers 0.9% 1.7% 0.8% 1.6%
Pittsburgh Pirates 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0%
Houston Astros 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Washington Nationals 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0%
New York Mets 0.2% 0.1% -0.1% 0.0%
Chicago Cubs 0.4% 0.2% -0.2% 0.1%
St. Louis Cardinals 83.9% 82.6% -1.3% 66.3%
Florida Marlins 26.8% 21.5% -5.3% 8.7%
Colorado Rockies 23.6% 8.4% -15.2% 7.7%
Cincinnati Reds 21.9% 3.8% -18.1% 1.1%
San Francisco Giants 69.5% 37.2% -32.3% 35.1%