Where Are All The Playoff Races?

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?”

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Raul Ibanez and JROD: What Baseball Needs

Phillies Padres BaseballRaul Ibanez is having a career year, having already hit 21 home runs and driven in 58 runs. Over his career, Ibanez has averaged 23 homers a year and yet this year he has almost hit that many in less than sixty games. Add to the fact that Ibanez is 37 years old, and something seems a little off here. This is what another blogger, JROD, looked in to in his article The Curious Case of Raul Ibanez: Steroid Speculation Perhaps Unfair, but Great Start in 2009 Raising Eyebrows.

JROD examined Ibanez’s year to the finest detail. He looked at the ballparks in which Ibanez homered in and examined their “HR Factors”. He looked at the dimensions of his new home ballpark since he signed this year with the Phillies in the offseason. He looked at the pitchers that Ibanez had homered off of, checking to see if Ibanez had just seen a lot of bad pitchers early on in the season. As he went through these stats though, nothing stuck out as that out of the ordinary. Certainly there was nothing that would explain the increase Ibanez’s home run rate from a homer every 23.9 plate appearances (2006-2008) to a homer every 12.1 plate appearances.

At the end of this specific, well-researched article, JROD threw out one possible explanation for Ibanez’s dramatic increase in home runs: Steroids. He did not claim that he had any first-hand knowledge that the Phillies’ outfielder was on the juice, but he just said that you cannot ignore that it is a possibility. Unfortunately, baseball has reached the point where great starts like this are not something to be in awe of, but something to be suspicious of. JROD never said that Ibanez used steroids, he just said, “it would be foolish to dismiss the possibility that “other” performance enhancers could be part of the equation”. Continue reading “Raul Ibanez and JROD: What Baseball Needs”

2009 National League East Preview

Here is the first division preview for the upcoming season and I begin with the NL East:

Predicted Standings
1. New York Metsdavid-wright3
2. Florida Marlins
3. Philadelphia Phillies
4. Atlanta Braves
5. Washington Nationals

Best Hitter: Hanley Ramirez
Best Pitcher: Johann Santana

Mets

The Mets return the same offense as last year with David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Beltran leading the team. Johan Santana leads the starting rotation and is followed by Mike Pelfrey and Oliver Perez. Santana is an ace, but Pelrey and Perez could put the Mets in a tough situation if either doesn’t live up to expectations. However, their bullpen is key as the Mets have two proven closers in Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz. There won’t be many times this year when the Mets blow a lead after the 7th inning so if an opponent wants to win, it is going to have to beat the Met’s starters. Continue reading “2009 National League East Preview”