MLB Reflection: Two Months Into the Season

| by Hardball Times

A month ago, I looked at how THT Forecasts saw the season playing out, and with another month of the season now almost gone (and a new update to Forecasts today) I figured now would be a good time to take another look.

The AL East is now looking extremely competitive. A month ago, THT Forecasts thought the Yankees would ultimately prevail in the division, but now the Rays are actually projected to come out on top with an even 100 wins. The Yankees fall three games behind them at 97, but the real story is the resurgent Red Sox, who project to challenge both teams with 95 wins. The Wild Card will just about certainly come from the East, but it's no longer clear which team will actually have the honor. Could the Yankees miss the playoffs a year after winning the World Series?

In the AL Central, the Twins have found some separation from the Detroit Tigers, and we now project them to win the division with 89 wins to Detroit's 81. The Tigers are still only 3.5 games back in the real standings, but the Twins do appear to have the advantage going forward. In the AL West, we see Texas eking out the division over the A's with 83 wins to Oakland's 80, but as in the East this should be a race to the finish. Can Billy Beane finally make it back to the playoffs?

The situation in the NL East has changed just as much as in its American League counterpart. Whereas a month ago the Phillies were favored to win the division comfortably, we now actually have the Braves favored by one game -- 92 to 91. The Phillies shouldn't worry too much, though; even if they lose the division, THT Forecasts still has them winning the Wild Card.

In the NL Central, the Cardinals are still expected to run away with the division, with a projection of 96 wins. Though the Reds lead the Central right now with a 30-21 record, THT Forecasts still sees them finishing with only 86 wins, which would correspond to roughly .500 ball the rest of the way. Cincinnati will have to stay hot if it wants to be in contention come September.

The NL West, meanwhile, has become the most exciting division in baseball. THT Forecasts still favors the upstart San Francisco Giants, keeping steady with a prediction of 90 wins, but the Padres, Rockies and Dodgers are all projected to finish within a few games of the Giants, a margin of error all-too-small to make any confident predictions with about 110 games still left to play. The West is likely to come down to the wire, and if the Braves and Phillies (and/or Reds) continue to play well, the stakes in this division race will be extremely high.

I plan to continue to track how this season evolves with the help of THT Forecasts. See you next month!

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