It’s officially now a three-team race for the two American League Wild Card spots. With the recent hot streaks by the Rays, Indians and Rangers, all the other would-be contenders have been left in the dust. There are now three games left in the regular season to decide what’s next.
Looking back in the past, here are the days I’ve updated the playoff odds here at WFNY: Sept. 7, Sept. 15, Sept. 16 and Sept. 23. I also featured how the different formulas are composed back in The Diff on Sept. 18. The website Cool Standings, linked below, has some fantastic historical data, too.
Baseball Prospectus: (link)
Rays — 97.8%, 91.7-70.3 final record
Indians — 67.1%, 90.6-71.4 final record
Rangers — 35.2%, 89.7-72.3 final record
Rays — 97.2%, 91.8-70.2 final record
Indians — 81.5%, 90.7-71.3 final record
Rangers — 21.3%, 89.6-72.4 final record
Cool Standings (link)
Rays — 94.8%, 91.6-70.4 final record
Indians — 85.8%, 91.0-71.0 final record
Rangers — 19.4%, 89.6-72.4 final record
At first, I was a little surprised to see the Rays having 95-plus percent odds. Then I remembered: Oh, they have a two-game lead over the Rangers and a tie still gets them into post-regular season baseball. The only situation in which Tampa Bay misses out entirely: If they get swept, Texas sweeps and the Indians win at least two, as well. The odds are that, then, are probably close to 5 percent. Makes more sense.
As I’ve shared many times, Baseball Prospectus is the most pessimistic because it continues to rely heavily upon the preseason predictions from the PECOTA system. So the Indians-Twins matchup isn’t as much as a mismatch as this season has indicated on run differential, which is the sole influence in the Cool Standings’ formula. FanGraphs uses a hybrid of both approaches to come up with its odds.
MLB recently re-announced their tiebreaker policy for the American League Wild Card spots. Kirk wrote about the tiebreaker situations a few days back. The Indians formally opted to be “Club A” in the case of a three-way tie for the two spots, meaning they’d host a game in Cleveland on Monday for the right to play in Wednesday’s actual Wild Card game. A possible second tiebreaker game would occur on Tuesday.