It’s August 3rd so let’s take a look at what to expect for MLB playoff races during the next two months .
In the AL East, the Red Sox lead the Yankees by just one game, but the Yankees are up seven games in the Wild Card race. Cool Standings gives the Sox a 97.3 percent chance of making the postseason while the Bronx Bombers have a 97.7 percent chance. Tampa Bay? They are 10 games back in the Wild Card and have just a 1.3 percent chance of playing baseball in October.
The AL Central boasts zero teams with a positive run-differential (yikes!). The race is tight though as Detroit leads Cleveland by three games. Of course, that’s a decent chunk and gives the Tigers much better odds to make the playoffs than the Indians have (61.3 percent vs. 24.4 percent). In the past two months though, Cleveland is 21-32. To put that in perspective, Kansas City was 22-32 in that time. Yes, the Indians just acquired Ubaldo Jiminez but there’s still a lot of questions around his velocity. Given the Indians performance the past two months, a 24.4 percent chance of making the playoffs seems generous.
In the West, there actually is a good race. Texas and Los Angeles are just a game apart. The teams have gone back and forth all year, but Texas upgraded its bullpen at the deadline while the Angels did nothing. Cool Standings gives Texas 62.7 percent odds at reaching the postseason while the Angels have just a 39.0 percent chance.
So in the American League, I only see the AL West as a real playoff race. Detroit is going to pull away and Boston and New York will battle for the AL East, with the loser earning a playoff berth via the Wild Card. That’s pretty weak overall. Continue reading “Where Are All The Playoff Races?”
The Texas Rangers are currently 48-39 and just a game and a half behind the Angels in the AL West. Not just are the Rangers firmly in contention to win the division, but I contend that they are in fact the favorite. Here’s why:
- Texas is 7-2 versus the Angels this year and have outscored them 58-43 in those games. The key is the 58 runs which is an average of over eight runs a game. The Rangers have destroyed the Angels’ pitching and have proven themselves as the better team
- Texas is 6-3 versus the Mariners. Third in the division at 46-42, the Mariners are in contention as well, but the Rangers have handled Seattle well this year. Overall, the Rangers are 18-8 against teams from the AL West. Half way through the season, the Rangers have proven themselves as the best team in the AL West based on games between the teams. The Angels are 11-16 and the Mariners are 16-15 against teams in their own division. Continue reading “Why The Rangers Will Win The AL West”
Last, but not least, the AL West:
1. Los Angeles Angels
2. Oakland Atheltics
3. Texas Rangers
4. Seattle Mariners
Best Hitter: Vladimir Guerrero
Best Pitcher: Joe Saunders
The Angels lost some key members of their 2008 team, but still have a strong starting staff and experienced lineup that gives them a great shot to repeat as AL West champions. With Torri Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero. and Chone Figgins, the Angels’ lineup will not have a problem scoring runs. Add in Bobby Abreu and Juan Rivera and this batting order puts fear into opposing pitchers. The rotation may be a little more shaky with Joe Saunders leading the staff, but Dustin Moseley and Shane Loux are question marks in the 2-3 spots. The health of John lackey is also a concern for the Angels as he will start the year on the DL. The loss of K-Rod in the offseason will hurt Los Angeles as well, but picking up Brian Fuentes leaves the Angels with a more-than competent closer to hold leads and bring the Angels back to the playoffs.
Oakland’s acquisition of Matt Holliday in the offseason gives the A’s a strong offense, but a rotation of unknown pitchers leaves the Athletics with a lot of question marks. Holliday, Mark Ellis, and Jack Crust lead the offense, and even though it is not as powerful as the Angel’s offense, Oakland will still score plenty of runs. The rotation is the concern as prospects Trevor Cahil and Brett Anderson will get thrown into the fire right away and how they react to being in the majors will likely make-or-break the A’s season. If they excel, look for Oakland to compete for the division title, but if they struggle, the Athletics are going to be looking at the bottom of the division. Continue reading “2009 American League West Preview”