Updated Playoff Odds for All 30 MLB Teams at the Midway Point
Now that the second half of the 2013 MLB season is underway, there is a more defined picture of the direction each team is taking in terms of postseason possibilities.
There's always the chance that teams that stumbled in the first half can turn things around and make things interesting. The Los Angeles Dodgers, for example, closed out the first half by winning eight of their last nine games to creep withing striking distance of first place in the NL West standings. By no means can they be counted out of anything at this point.
Only seven teams are currently more than 10 games behind in their division races. While none of them are mathematically out of it, they all face long odds in reaching the postseason.
That leaves 23 teams left to fight for 10 available playoff spots, and with a full half-season left, anything can happen.
Here is an updated look at playoff odds for all 30 MLB teams.
Note: All team and player statistics courtesy of MLB.com.
Arizona Diamondbacks: 2-1
The NL West is competitive, with only 3.5 games separating all five teams entering play on Tuesday. However, only one team is above .500—the Arizona Diamondbacks.
It's likely that whoever wins the division will be the only team represented in the playoffs. The St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds are the front-runners for the two available wild-card spots as of right now, and it's entirely possible that three teams—the Pittsburgh Pirates included—could represent the NL Central.
The Diamondbacks will have to retain their current division lead in order to qualify, and that's no small task. The Los Angeles Dodgers are surging of late, and the Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants are hanging for dear life.
Starting pitching for the Diamondbacks simply needs to be better. Patrick Corbin has been outstanding, but he's the only starter who's been consistent throughout the season. Arizona needs Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill and Wade Miley to deliver in the second half in order to hang on to its slim lead.
Atlanta Braves: 2-1
The Atlanta Braves have the largest lead of any of the current division leaders. It could have been even larger if it weren't for an offense that has sputtered at times.
There's no question the Braves are loaded with power. But they've also been shut out 11 times and are currently second-to-last in the National League in batting with runners in scoring position (.232).
The Washington Nationals are seven games behind the Braves, but they have Bryce Harper back after he sat out a month with knee bursitis. They will threaten the Braves in the second half if Atlanta's offense continues its inconsistent ways.
Baltimore Orioles: 4-1
With their current record of 47-37, the Baltimore Orioles are nearly on pace to match last year's mark of 93-69. They have an excellent chance for a second straight postseason berth, but a few things will need to happen in the second half in order for that to happen.
The pitching staff's 4.44 ERA is the second-worst in the American League. It's a tribute to the Orioles offense that the team has managed some success thus far, but that's simply not sustainable if the second half brings a similar performance.
Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez have been the rocks in the Orioles rotation, but more is needed from their starting mates. Wei-Yin Chen had another pain-free outing in a rehab start on Saturday, per Brittany Ghiroli and Derek Wetmore of MLB.com, and could be back soon. Jason Hammel's 7-5 record is a bit deceptive—it comes with a 5.19 ERA and .276 BAA.
The bullpen has also had its share of inconsistency throughout the season as well.
The offense has without a doubt been the strength of the O's throughout the season. The pitching staff will need to carry its weight throughout the final three months for the Orioles to appear in the postseason once again.
Boston Red Sox: 2-1
With their lead in the American League East, the Boston Red Sox are in a solid position as they enter the final three months of the regular season. But they'll face stiff challenges from a competitive division.
The health of the starting rotation, a more stable bullpen and continued clutch hitting from the offense will be the deciding factors for the Red Sox in the second half.
If Clay Buchholz can come back strong, Jon Lester can turn around a disappointing last six weeks and remain healthy and John Lackey can continue to look strong in his return from Tommy John surgery, it's a rotation that will be challenging for opponents.
General manager Ben Cherington will likely be looking for upgrades to help stabilize his bullpen over the next few weeks. That will go a long way in deciding Boston's playoff fate as well.
There's no question that the Red Sox have an excellent chance of reaching the postseason for the first time since 2009. But they'll need their offense to continue its outstanding production and the pitching staff to stabilize and stay healthy.
Chicago Cubs: 60-1
The Chicago Cubs are moving forward with their long-term plan of rebuilding, but it won't help them in the short-term, more specifically as it relates to a postseason berth this year.
The Cubs will close out their first half on Tuesday against the Oakland Athletics. They're currently 15.5 games behind in the National League wild-card race and have virtually no shot of winning the NL Central title.
Things are likely to get worse before they get better. Several of the Cubs' current veterans could be on their way to parts unknown in the next several weeks as the trade deadline nears. Matt Garza, David DeJesus, Alfonso Soriano are all possible targets.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com lists the Cubs as one of the top sellers who will likely trade off multiple pieces. If that happens, expect the Cubs to battle with the Milwaukee Brewers for the cellar in the NL Central
Chicago White Sox: 75-1
As of right now, the Chicago White Sox are barely ahead of the Houston Astros in the battle for the worst team in the American League.
Only 4.5 games separate the two teams at the bottom. While the White Sox weren't expected to win 100 games, not many projected them to be as awful as they've been thus far.
The offense has been woeful. The team is battling the Seattle Mariners for last place in runs scored in the American League, and that shows no signs of changing. Paul Konerko is simply not the hitter he once was, and only two regulars—Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez—have averages above .280.
Injuries to Jake Peavy and Gavin Floyd have hurt, but the pitching overall isn't the issue. Without potent bats in the lineup, the White Sox simply can't compete.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported last week that the White Sox will be active and that only Chris Sale and Konerko are considered untouchable. That information doesn't bode well for the short-term future.
Cincinnati Reds: 3-1
The Cincinnati Reds are currently engaged in a dogfight with the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central, and it's a race that threatens to be a fight to the finish.
Cincinnati Enquirer beat writer John Fay tweeted on Sunday that the bullpen is more of a priority for the Reds in the weeks leading to the trade deadline despite the fact that starter Johnny Cueto was placed on the disabled list for the third time this season.
However, a right-handed bat is also needed. The Reds have a .649 OPS from the right side of the plate, the second-worst mark in the National League.
If the team can somehow find that bat and make upgrades in the bullpen, the NL Central has an excellent chance of having three teams in the postseason.
Cleveland Indians: 5-1
The Cleveland Indians find themselves atop the American League Central and sit seven games above .500 after play on Tuesday.
Now, they'll have to find a way to avoid a second-half collapse that plagued them the past two seasons.
Manager Terry Francona has his troops believing they can win, and they've received stellar performances from Jason Kipnis and Justin Masterson.
If the Indians are buying in a few weeks, they'll likely be on the search for starting pitching. Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer believes that should be general manager Chris Antonetti's priority.
For a second it appeared that the Indians had depth in their starting rotation with Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Corey Kluber, Scott Kazmir, Carlos Carrasco, Zach McAllister, Brett Myers and Trevor Bauer.
There's nothing wrong with the backbone of that rotation, but things can change quickly.
Kazmir had back spasms in his last start. Carrasco is still having trouble making big pitches at the right time. McAllister and Myers are on the disabled list. McAllister isn't expected to return until after the All-Star break. If and when Myers returns, he'll be in the bullpen.
A rotation that featured depth at the beginning of the season is showing cracks, and Antonetti will need to shore up those breaks in the next few weeks.
Colorado Rockies: 15-1
The Colorado Rockies were a surprise team coming out of the gates in 2013, finishing the month of April with a 16-11 record. But they've come back down to earth since, and the culprit has been their pitching staff.
It's a vastly improved group considering last year's woeful numbers, but the team still has the third-worst ERA in the National League. An injury to Rafael Betancourt and a horrible first half by Wilton Lopez hasn't helped the bullpen.
Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin and Tyler Chatwood have been solid in the rotation, but beyond that trio, the Rockies have issues.
According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the Rockies, like the rest of the teams in the NL West, are targeting pitching as the trade deadline nears.
According to Renck:
Colorado, according to several with knowledge of the situation, is prepared to add payroll. But it could be more along the lines of 2009, when the Rockies acquired Rafael Betancourt, one of their best trades, and Joe Beimel, who was a useful bullpen piece.
The Rockies need help in their rotation and bullpen. It's why they talked with the Marlins about Ricky Nolasco before cooling when Miami wanted Colorado to absorb nearly all of the $6 million remaining on the right-hander's deal. It's why the Rockies have interest in the Cubs' Matt Garza and Scott Feldman and the Brewers' Yovani Gallardo.
Renck also pointed out that the Rockies will be wary of adding rental-type players for fear that they'll lose prospects if the players they acquired don't re-sign.
The team would also be aided by shortstop Troy Tulowitzki returning to health, as he is currently on the disabled list with a rib fracture. His current prognosis has him returning by late-July/early August.
The Rockies have a chance in an underperforming division. But they'll need some shrewd maneuvering and good health in order to play in October.
Detroit Tigers: 2-1
The Detroit Tigers were the prohibitive favorites to win the AL Central title at the start of the 2013 season. But the upstart Cleveland Indians and a very shaky bullpen have them sitting in second place.
The offense has delivered, as the team is third in the American League in runs scored and first in batting average. The rotation has done its part as well—second in the AL in ERA and first in WHIP, winning percentage and opponents' OPS.
But the bullpen is 11th in ERA and fourth in the league with 15 losses. The ineffectiveness of Jose Valverde and the closer-by-committee approach has left the relief corps in a state of disarray.
According to Jason Beck of MLB.com, the Tigers sent scouts to keep an eye on Miami Marlins relievers during their series with the San Francisco Giants.
Bobby Parnell, Francisco Rodriguez, Brandon Lyon and Kevin Gregg are other relievers who could be made available, so expect the Tigers to be active in revamping their bullpen over the next few weeks.
If they're successful in reloading, the AL Central title is theirs for the taking.
Houston Astros: 200-1
After starting the season 11-30, the Houston Astros have played surprisingly good baseball, with a 19-24 mark since May 15.
Their pitching staff featured the fourth-best ERA (3.57) in the American League in the month of June as well.
Still, the Astros are clearly in full rebuild mode and have no shot at a playoff berth this season. But the fact that they're at least trying to compete with a roster that's seen tremendous turnover already is a positive sign.
Kansas City Royals: 15-1
The fact that the Detroit Tigers haven't run away with the AL Central has given the Kansas City Royals hope despite an under-.500 record to this point.
Still, the Royals will have some major challenges.
Beat writer Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star addressed fans' questions on Monday, saying that it's unclear if the Royals will be buyers at this point. He also characterized the team's chances of pulling off a major deal as "slim."
Aside from Wade Davis, the starting pitching has been stellar, and the bullpen has largely gotten the job done as well. The team's 3.60 ERA leads the American League.
It's the offense that's the chief concern. The team is 12th in the American League in runs scored, and no one in the lineup has more than seven home runs.
All the pitching in the world isn't enough to propel the Royals to the playoffs if they can't put forth a consistent offensive attack.
Los Angeles Angels: 25-1
The Los Angeles Angels are surging of late, but the hole they dug themselves in at the beginning of the season—much like last year—may be to much to overcome once again.
They're currently 8.5 games in back of the Texas Rangers in the AL West and 6.5 games back in the wild-card race. Certainly not insurmountable, but it's a long road back.
The offense has showed signs of life, finishing second in the AL in runs scored for the month of June. The pitching was better as well, but injuries are a major concern.
Starters Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson are both on the disabled list, reliever Sean Burnett is on the shelf with a left elbow injury and Ryan Madson may not pitch at all in 2013, according to Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times.
The Angels are in need of several moves to shore up their pitching staff, but as late as last week, general manager Jerry Dipoto was hesitant in characterizing his team as either a buyer or seller.
“We are not a buyer, we are not a seller," he said, via Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com We’re the Angels, who are sitting here trying to win a game today. Our sense of urgency has to be today, tomorrow and every day.”
That's a given at this point. The Angels will have to win at least 60 percent of their remaining games to have a realistic shot at a postseason berth.
Not impossible, but the odds are indeed long.
Los Angeles Dodgers: 20-1
The Los Angeles Dodgers have almost the same exact record as their brethren to the east, the Los Angeles Angels. But courtesy of a division that's been mediocre at best, they're just 2.5 games out of the lead in the NL West.
It appears as if the Dodgers will be active on the trade front in the next few weeks as well. They've already acquired Chicago Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol in exchange for Matt Guerrier and the Cubs' fourth international bonus slot, valued at $209,700.
They're rumored to be interested in Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, and they've als been tied to rumors involving Miami Marlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco, per Mark Saxon of ESPN.
They certainly appear to be primed for a fight over the final three months, but it will also take good health—Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford—and better play overall for their playoff hopes to improve.
Miami Marlins: 300-1
With the worst record in baseball, it's safe to say the Miami Marlins have virtually no shot at a postseason berth this year.
They've already been tied to several trade rumors for some of their veterans, including Ricky Nolasco and Ryan Webb, per Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.
Giancarlo Stanton's name will continue to be a hot topic as the trade deadline nears as well, despite the Marlins' insistence that he's not going anywhere—at least for now—according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Talk of a postseason berth for the Marlins honestly isn't likely until 2015 at the earliest.
Milwaukee Brewers: 150-1
The Milwaukee Brewers just can't catch a break this season.
On Tuesday, starting pitcher Wily Peralta was well on his way to an outstanding outing when he was helped off the field with what the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Todd Rosiak tweeted was an apparent hamstring injury in the sixth inning.
The Brewers eventually won the game 4-0, but the injury poured salt in the wound for the team.
With a record of 33-49, the Brewers are one of the worst teams in the majors. They've been beset by injuries to Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, Mat Gamel and now Peralta.
Their starting rotation is the worst in the National League, and they're one of the teams listed by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com as likely to be one of the top sellers at the trade deadline.
Definitely not a fun year for Brewers fans.
Minnesota Twins: 60-1
The Minnesota Twins briefly flirted with the .500 mark before losing eight of their last 11 games.
They're just 7.5 games out in the AL Central, but at eight games under .500 and with a starting rotation that's the worst in the American League, their chances for a postseason berth are slim.
The Twins have a bright future, with good young arms in Kyle Gibson, Trevor May and Alex Meyer. They also have prospects Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano to look forward to. But in the short term, they'll experience some pain before growth.
New York Mets: 75-1
The New York Mets are on their way to a 90-loss season, and their hopes for a postseason berth this fall are pretty much a pipe dream at this point.
Still, Matt Harvey is a stud, and they have the All-Star Game coming to town in less than two weeks.
So things aren't totally bleak in Queens.
New York Yankees: 6-1
It's a strange sight indeed to see the New York Yankees just five games above .500 this late in the season.
But it's also a credit to management that they've been able to keep their heads above water with the rash of injuries suffered by key contributors.
Some of those stars are making their way back. Alex Rodriguez has started rehabbing in games, according to Ron Aiken of ESPNNewYork.com. Derek Jeter is running the bases and close to appearing in rehab games, per Erik Boland of Newsday, and Curtis Granderson could be back by late July.
And according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, Michael Pineda is rehabbing at Double-A Trenton. So there are reinforcements on the horizon.
It still may not be enough to catapult the Yankees above the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox, but considering their resilience thus far, they simply can't be counted out.
Oakland Athletics: 2-1
With their 49-35 record, the Oakland Athletics have absolutely shown that last year was no fluke.
They're getting help from the old (Bartolo Colon), the new (Jed Lowrie) and the scrap heap (Nate Freiman).
Their bullpen has been outstanding, the starting pitching has held up very well and their offense has provided more than enough support when called upon.
It appears that they'll be battling with the Texas Rangers to the very end in the AL West, though the loser of that battle could still be playoff-bound as well.
Philadelphia Phillies: 30-1
It's not quite time to write off the Philadelphia Phillies, but they could be approaching that time within just a few weeks.
At 40-44, the Phillies are treading water only. A number of players have already been mentioned in various trade rumors despite general manager Ruben Amaro's insistence to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that the team is not trading anyone.
The Phils are three games ahead of last year's pace after 84 games and are closer to a playoff berth, but you won't find many that believe they're a postseason team with their current roster in place.
Pittsburgh Pirates: 1.5-1
The Pittsburgh Pirates lost on Tuesday to the Philadelphia Phillies, ending their nine-game winning streak. But their 51-31 record is still the best in the majors, and their outstanding pitching is keeping them at the top.
Courtesy of their 3.11 team ERA, the Pirates have the best pitching staff in the majors. And it's not one-sided—their bullpen has been every bit as good as their starting rotation.
General manager Neal Huntington will likely make some tweaks to his roster, but he may have learned from the last two years that screwing with team chemistry may not be in their best interest.
Avoiding the second-half collapse is the goal for the Pirates this season. If they're successful, it's not just a 20-year streak of consecutive losing seasons that will end—the playoffs will be well within their grasp.
San Diego Padres: 15-1
The San Diego Padres are among the five teams in the NL West within three games of the lead, but they've stumbled recently, losing eight of their last 10 games.
They are not a pitching-rich team right now, with a rotation that's ranked 13th in the National League. Andrew Cashner, Eric Stults and Jason Marquis have held their own thus far, but Edinson Volquez continues to underwhelm with his efforts, and no one has stepped up to replace the injured Clayton Richard.
Much like the rest of their brethren in the NL West, the Padres are likely to be looking for starters if they're inclined to be buyers within the next few weeks. Considering how wide open the division is, that's a distinct possibility.
San Francisco Giants: 20-1
The San Francisco Giants are in complete free-fall mode, especially after being on the wrong end of a no-hitter on Tuesday. Courtesy of Homer Bailey's absolute gem, the Giants are in last place in the NL West, but they are only three games out of the lead.
This is a team that's screaming for starting pitching and now is suffering a power outage from its offense as well.
Changes need to be made if the Giants look to even have a chance to defend their World Series championship.
Seattle Mariners: 60-1
The Seattle Mariners are blessed to have two great pitchers in Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma.
The rest of the team, however, is dragging them down.
Despite changes to the offense this offseason, Seattle once again features one of the lowest-scoring offenses in the American League. It's the same-old, same-old in the Northwest. The Mariners have been at the bottom of the league for four straight years in that category.
This is a team destined to be selling in just a few weeks' time, and Mariners fans will once again have to get used to the idea of rebuilding.
St. Louis Cardinals: 2-1
The St. Louis Cardinals have stumbled a bit recently, losing seven of their last 10 games to fall two games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central.
Still, this is a team built for the long haul, possibly more so than any other team in the majors.
The Cardinals have scored more runs than any team in the National League, their rotation is tops in the league and their bullpen is much improved, with closer Edward Mujica leading the way.
Without question, the Cardinals are in a fight in the NL Central with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds. But I don't see any way St. Louis misses the playoffs unless a rash of injuries occurs.
Tampa Bay Rays: 5-1
The Tampa Bay Rays got a big lift on Tuesday with the return of their ace, David Price. Sidelined for six weeks with a left triceps strain, Price was magnificent in his first outing back, blanking the Houston Astros on three hits, striking out 10 and hitting 96 mph several times.
He clearly looked back in form.
Manager Joe Maddon said that for the Rays to have any chance of reaching the postseason, they need a healthy and effective Price. But they also need a solid supporting offense and a sound bullpen.
The Rays have shown since 2008 they can't be counted out, and they're once again showing their mettle.
Texas Rangers: 2-1
The Texas Rangers are playing a game of back-and-forth with the Oakland A's in the AL West right now, and neither team is giving in.
Texas has won seven of 10 after a bit of a swoon in mid- to late-June. Starting rotation depth is still an issue, with Matt Harrison out for the season and Alexi Ogando out until after the All-Star break, per Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram.
They could get reinforcements at some point from Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz, but that's not a given.
General manager Jon Daniels will likely be keeping an eye on the starting pitching market over the next few weeks. If he's successful in bringing aboard a veteran arm, Texas could be a team to beat in the American League.
Toronto Blue Jays: 20-1
The Toronto Blue Jays won 17 of their 26 games in the month of June to get back to the .500 mark, but they still occupy last place and are nine games back in the AL East.
An awful performance by the starting rotation put the Blue Jays in a deep hole to start the season. They've seen better efforts from R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle recently, but they simply can't continue relying on their bullpen to bail them out.
The Blue Jays feature a 2.87 ERA from their bullpen, the best in the American League. But they're also leading in innings pitched, and at some point, those innings will start taking a toll on their arms.
If the rotation can't start pitching more consistently and deeper into games, this team is destined to be waiting for next year.
Washington Nationals: 12-1
In 2012, the Washington Nationals had no trouble finding their way to the postseason, winning 98 games and the NL East title.
This year, however, they're struggling to find their identity, never mind their way to the playoffs.
Tuesday's loss was a perfect example. With Stephen Strasburg on the mound throwing a gem once again, the Nationals scored—oh wait, scratch that; they didn't score at all. They were shut out by Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Wily Peralta, who entered the game with a 5.58 ERA.
As for Strasburg, he's grown used to it; no pitcher in the league receives less run support.
The on-again, off-again ways of the Nationals simply can't continue much longer.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.
Feel free to talk baseball with Doug anytime on Twitter.