AccuScore: They might be Giants again

Jonathan Lee, AccuScore

AccuScore provides baseball predictions and projections by calculating the probability teams have of winning each game, their division and making the playoffs. Using projected starting lineups, baseball predictions are created by simulating each game of the season one play at a time, 10,000 times. Visit AccuScore for weekly updates for all baseball and sports predictions.

American League

It's the return of the contenders this week as both Boston and Los Angeles made significant jumps back up the projected playoff standings. The Red Sox and Angels were part of a small group of favorites in the AL at the start of the season, but that group has since expanded to include about half the league.

The Angels have been revitalized through the addition of phenom Mike Trout at the top of the lineup and the real version of Albert Pujols finally showing up. In the past week, they won home series against the contending Rangers and Yankees, and gained 22.6 percentage points in the AccuScore projections. They are now nearly 60 percent likely to make the postseason, which is more than four times higher than just two weeks ago. Star pitcher Jered Weaver did land on the DL last week with a back injury, but he is expected to miss only two or three starts.

The Red Sox have rebounded mostly because they were never such a bad team to begin with. Boston is finding production in unlikely places with players like Daniel Nava, Scott Podsednik and Kelly Shoppach helping patch up the holes in the lineup caused by injuries. Another boost has been Josh Beckett's recent performance along with Felix Doubront's consistency. Beckett has allowed just seven runs combined over his last four starts going at least seven innings in each of those outings. Doubront has been unexpectedly solid and is projected to continue pitching at least at league average for the rest of the season.

American League Weekly Review Playoff % Chance
Team 28-May 3-Jun % Diff Win Div
Los Angeles Angels 36.3% 58.9% 22.6% 18.8%
Boston Red Sox 11.3% 30.7% 19.4% 7.5%
Chicago White Sox 39.8% 52.6% 12.9% 38.2%
New York Yankees 61.8% 71.6% 9.8% 31.9%
Seattle Mariners 2.6% 3.6% 1.1% 0.5%
Kansas City Royals 3.3% 3.5% 0.2% 2.2%
Minnesota Twins 0.0% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1%
Oakland Athletics 2.6% 1.0% -1.6% 0.1%
Toronto Blue Jays 14.6% 12.3% -2.3% 2.4%
Texas Rangers 98.2% 94.4% -3.8% 80.5%
Cleveland Indians 14.7% 9.6% -5.2% 5.8%
Tampa Bay Rays 93.2% 85.0% -8.2% 56.3%
Detroit Tigers 78.3% 65.4% -12.9% 53.7%
Baltimore Orioles 42.4% 10.3% -32.1% 1.8%

National League

The magic has seemed to have finally worn off for the Dodgers, which has allowed San Francisco to jump right back into the race for the NL West. Los Angeles suffered through a 1-6 week including the first four-game sweep at home at the hands of Milwaukee. Even more significant was the loss of superstar Matt Kemp for likely another month due to a hamstring injury. As a result, the Dodgers have dropped nearly 17 percentage points in the AccuScore projections. Possible Kemp replacements include Scott Van Slyke, Alex Castellanos and Tony Gwynn Jr. but none are forecast to hit better than .250 the rest of the season, creating a gaping hole in the lineup.

The Giants, meanwhile, took care of business at home going 5-1 beating up on Arizona and Chicago. They still have issues up and down the lineup, but the pitching staff remains in great shape which will keep them in ball games every night. Surprisingly, Tim Lincecum continues to struggle, and his forecast has gotten steadily worse each week. He is now projected for a 3.43 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, still good numbers but not what fans have come to expect from the two-time Cy Young winner. San Francisco is now one of the frontrunners for a wild-card spot, and is 40.4 percent likely to wrest away the NL West crown. And that number could go up sharply if Lincecum were to return to his previous performance levels or a trade were made to solidify the offense.

National League Weekly Review Playoff % Chance
Team 28-May 3-Jun % Diff Win Div
San Francisco Giants 50.5% 68.3% 17.8% 40.4%
Miami Marlins 21.4% 36.7% 15.3% 14.6%
Cincinnati Reds 53.5% 67.1% 13.6% 53.6%
New York Mets 10.0% 16.8% 6.8% 5.3%
Arizona Diamondbacks 4.8% 8.1% 3.3% 2.8%
Pittsburgh Pirates 4.4% 7.2% 2.8% 4.2%
Philadelphia Phillies 59.2% 61.8% 2.6% 33.7%
Milwaukee Brewers 1.6% 3.8% 2.2% 1.9%
Colorado Rockies 0.1% 0.5% 0.4% 0.2%
San Diego Padres 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Chicago Cubs 1.6% 0.6% -1.1% 0.4%
Washington Nationals 69.3% 64.4% -4.9% 36.0%
Houston Astros 8.4% 1.5% -7.0% 0.9%
Atlanta Braves 43.2% 27.7% -15.5% 10.2%
Los Angeles Dodgers 95.1% 78.3% -16.8% 56.5%
St. Louis Cardinals 75.8% 55.3% -20.5% 39.0%