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August 16, 2010

Playoff Odds Update

Twins Looking Like a Postseason Lock

by John Perrotto

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The Twins can put some distance between themselves and the White Sox when they host a three-game series between the American League Central's top two teams beginning Tuesday night at Target Field in Minneapolis.

The Twins moved into first place in the division last week by taking two of three from the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field and now hold a three-game lead. Not surprisingly, the Twins have been the biggest gainers in Baseball Prospectus' Playoff Odds Report during the past two weeks.

BP's Monte Carlo simulation, a randomly repeated method, gives the Twins a 78.7 percent chance of reaching the postseason for the second straight season and the sixth time in the past nine years. That is a gain of 25.1 percent from their 53.6 figure after games of Aug. 1.

Catcher Joe Mauer continued to lead the way for the Twins, as he hit .420/.482/.560 during the two-week period. Right fielder Jason Kubel added five homers for Minnesota, which went 9-4, while left-hander Brian Duensing went 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA in three starts.

The Philadelphia Phillies rode Roy Halladay to a 9-3 record. He won all three of his starts these past two weeks, posting a 2.45 ERA. Resurgent closer Brad Lidge went 5-for-5 in save opportunities and pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings in six games. The Phillies improved their playoff odds by 10.1 percent in the process.

The Gainers

Here is a look at the top five gainers in the past two weeks.

 

Team

Odds on 8/16

Odds on 8/2

Net Gain

Twins

78.7

53.6

25.1

Phillies

42.7

31.9

10.8

Braves

83.6

76.0

7.6

Padres

84.1

79.4

4.7

Cardinals

73.6

68.9

4.7

 

On the flip side of the coin, the biggest losers the past two weeks were, somewhat unsurprisingly, the White Sox. On August 1, their playoff odds were 46.3percent; today they're 24.8 percent. That's a drop of 21.5 percent.

J.J. Putz played a big hand in the White Sox's fall as he lost three times in seven relief appearances while posting a 9.00 ERA. Chicago went 6-8 in that span.

The other big drop (19.7) was by the Colorado Rockies, who are falling back in what now seems like a two-team National League West race. The Rockies saw their chances take a big hit despite splitting 12 games as Huston Street blew two saves and suffered two losses in seven appearances with a 4.91 ERA.

The Losers

 

Team

Odds on 8/2

Odds on 8/16

Net Loss

White Sox

46.3

24.8

21.5

Rockies

26.2

6.5

19.7

Rays

83.5

75.2

8.3

Marlins

8.0

2.3

5.7

Mets

4.4

1.8

2.6

 

A version of this story originally appeared on ESPN Insider Insider.

John Perrotto is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see John's other articles. You can contact John by clicking here

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