Updated 2016 MLB Playoff Odds with 3 Weeks Remaining

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 14, 2016

Updated 2016 MLB Playoff Odds with 3 Weeks Remaining

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    David Banks/Getty Images

    Roughly three weeks are left in the 2016 MLB regular season, and while the playoff picture is taking shape, there is still a lot to be decided before October.

    In the American League, 10 legitimate contenders remain. The Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers have a strong hold on their respective division leads, but the AL East is now a four-team race, and the two wild-card spots are wide open.

    The National League picture is not as congested, but six clubs are still in position to reach the postseason. The Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals are locks to claim their respective division crowns, while the Los Angeles Dodgers are a safe bet to be playing in October in some capacity.

    Meanwhile, the wild card now looks like a three-team race between the San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets, as the Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins have both fallen off.

    At any rate, what follows is a look at each club's chances of reaching the postseason, with the following factors taken into account:

    • Current standings
    • Recent performance
    • Future schedule
    • Injury concerns

    So, with the regular season set to wrap up on Oct. 2, here is an updated division-by-division look at the playoff chances of all the remaining contenders from where they stood one week ago.

AL East

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    Red Sox SP Rick Porcello
    Red Sox SP Rick PorcelloBob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    Contenders

    Boston Red Sox (81-63, 2 games up in division)

    The decision to move Dustin Pedroia into the leadoff spot and Mookie Betts down to hit cleanup was a brilliant one by Red Sox manager John Farrell.

    The team has gone 4-2 with a plus-24 run differential over the past week and 20-13 overall since making the switch on Aug. 10, averaging 6.12 runs per game during that span.

    Add to that the impressive recent performances of Rick Porcello, David Price and Drew Pomeranz atop the starting rotation, and this team looks ready for October.

    Postseason Chances: 93 percent (+7 percent)

    Toronto Blue Jays (79-65, tied for WC lead)

    A starting rotation that had been so good all season for the Blue Jays has begun to falter at the worst possible time.

    While their 3.87 starter's ERA is still tops in the AL, the current six-man staff has gone 1-6 with a 6.17 ERA and 1.519 WHIP in 11 games this month. As a result, the team is 3-8 with a minus-25 run differential in September, and its postseason chances have taken a significant hit as a result.

    Postseason Chances: 71 percent (-14 percent)

    Baltimore Orioles (79-65, tied for WC lead)

    While the Blue Jays starting rotation has hit a rough patch, the Orioles staff is getting hot at the right time, and the team's postseason odds have spiked as a result.

    Excluding two terrible starts from Wade Miley, the rest of the rotation has gone 7-0 with a 3.02 ERA and 1.099 WHIP this month.

    Chris Tillman returned from the disabled list Sunday with six innings of one-run ball, which should open the door for the team to bump the struggling Miley to the bullpen.

    Postseason Chances: 70 percent (+23 percent)

    New York Yankees (77-67, 2 games back in WC)

    The Yankees have improved their postseason chances with a 5-2 record over the last week, but a sputtering offense is cause for concern.

    They are hitting .222 as a team and averaging just 3.58 runs per game since the start of September, and with a wildly inconsistent starting rotation behind Masahiro Tanaka, it's hard to count on the pitching staff to pick up the slack.

    Postseason Chances: 15 percent (+10 percent)

    Non-Contenders

    Tampa Bay Rays (61-83)

AL Central

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    Indians SP Carlos Carrasco
    Indians SP Carlos CarrascoPatrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

    Contenders

    Cleveland Indians (83-61, 6 games up in division)

    The Indians are essentially a lock for the playoffs at this point, but their projected postseason rotation was dealt a blow earlier this week when Danny Salazar went down with a forearm strain.

    "There's no reason to speculate," manager Terry Francona told reporters when asked about Salazar's postseason availability. "The one thing we want to do is get him healthy, make sure he knows he's healthy—because that's important—and then if it fits somewhere, good. But the biggest thing is to get him healthy."

    Trevor Bauer will likely step into the No. 3 starter role for the playoffs, while Josh Tomlin and Mike Clevinger will now be auditioning for a potential postseason start, per Mike Axisa of CBSSports.com.

    Postseason Chances: 99 percent (+1 percent)

    Detroit Tigers (77-67, 2 games back in WC)

    One of the hottest teams in baseball a few weeks ago, the Tigers have stumbled a bit of late with a 4-6 record in their last 10 games.

    The road ahead is not an easy one, most notably the seven games they have left against the division-leading Indians.

    The two teams have squared off 12 times already this season, with the Tigers going a pitiful 1-11 with a minus-43 run differential, so their fortunes will need to change considerably if they're going to make a late push.

    Postseason Chances: 27 percent (-18 percent)

    Kansas City Royals (74-70, 5 games back in WC)

    After going 20-9 in the month of August, the Royals have gone just 5-8 in their last 13 games, and their playoff hopes are fading as a result.

    They appeared to be in great shape when they kicked off a 14-game stretch against the Twins, White Sox, Athletics and White Sox again on Sept. 5, but so far, they've been unable to capitalize on that soft spot in the schedule.

    They're 4-4 to this point, and they enter play Wednesday having lost the first two games of their series at home against the Athletics. Anything short of a 5-1 or 6-0 finish to that stretch could spell an end to their playoff hopes.

    Postseason Chances: 2 percent (-12 percent)

    Non-Contenders

    Chicago White Sox (70-74)

    Minnesota Twins (54-91)

AL West

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    Rangers C Jonathan Lucroy and 3B Adrian Beltre
    Rangers C Jonathan Lucroy and 3B Adrian BeltreRonald Martinez/Getty Images

    Contenders

    Texas Rangers (87-59, 9.5 games up in division)

    The Rangers have the AL West crown locked up, but there's still plenty to play for with home-field advantage carrying some extra value in their case.

    With a 47-22 record and a plus-47 run differential, the Rangers have been the most dangerous home team in the AL, especially when compared to their 40-37 record and minus-24 run differential on the road.

    Veteran starter Colby Lewis returned to action Sunday after missing nearly three months, and the team would love nothing more than for him to pitch his way into the No. 3 starter spot for the playoffs.

    Postseason Chances: 99 percent (+0 percent)

    Seattle Mariners (77-68, 2.5 games back in WC)

    The Mariners are the hottest team in baseball right now.

    A 3-11 record leading up to the last version of this article caused their postseason chances to shrink considerably, but they've rattled off a seven-game winning streak this past week to pull within striking distance of a wild-card spot once again.

    The starting rotation has been the biggest weakness this season, so a three-hit shutout from Taijuan Walker on Tuesday night was an incredibly promising sign.

    The Mariners get the Twins, a struggling Astros team and the Athletics to close out the season, so don't count them out for a postseason berth just yet.

    Postseason Chances: 19 percent (+17 percent)

    Houston Astros (75-70, 4.5 games back in WC)

    The Astros are fading fast with a 1-6 record over the past week.

    They suffered a heartbreaking loss Tuesday night when closer Ken Giles blew the save against the division-leading Rangers.

    Now they'll look to avoid the sweep Wednesday before traveling to Seattle to take on a red-hot Mariners team. The final nail could be in this coffin before the start of next week.

    Postseason Chances: 5 percent (-14 percent)

    Non-Contenders

    Los Angeles Angels (63-81)

    Oakland Athletics (62-82)

NL East

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    Nationals CF Trea Turner
    Nationals CF Trea TurnerBrad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

    Contenders

    Washington Nationals (86-59, 9 games up in division)

    The Nationals have the NL East title well in hand, and they don't have a real shot at chasing down the Cubs for home-field advantage, so the rest of the season will be about resting guys and staying healthy.

    One thing they will need to sort out is who starts behind Max Scherzer and Tanner Roark in the event Stephen Strasburg misses the postseason.

    Strasburg received a platelet-rich plasma injection to treat a flexor mass strain in his throwing elbow, but there's still no timetable for his return, according to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post.

    Gio Gonzalez, A.J. Cole and Mat Latos are currently filling out the Nationals rotation.

    Postseason Chances: 99 percent (+0 percent)

    New York Mets (77-68, 0.5 games up in WC)

    It's shaping up to be an exciting three-team race between the Mets, Cardinals and Giants for the two NL wild-card spots, and the Mets are by far the hottest of that trio right now.

    A 17-6 record over the past 23 games has brought them from two games under .500 to a half-game up on the Cardinals for the second wild-card spot.

    Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman have filled in admirably for a rotation that is without Steven Matz and has also dealt with a banged-up Jacob deGrom. As long as that unheralded duo continues to outperform expectations and the offense doesn't go cold again, the Mets look to be in good shape.

    Postseason Chances: 72 percent (+15 percent)

    Miami Marlins (72-73, 5 games back in WC)

    If the Marlins had lost Tuesday night, they probably would have been bumped to the "non-contenders" section, if that gives you an idea of how faint their playoff hopes are at this point.

    They've gone 4-2 in their last six games, but a 1-10 stretch prior to that all but ended their chances of securing a wild-card spot.

    Postseason Chances: 1 percent (+0 percent)

    Non-Contenders

    Philadelphia Phillies (64-81)

    Atlanta Braves (56-89)

NL Central

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    Cubs SP Kyle Hendricks
    Cubs SP Kyle HendricksDilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Contenders

    Chicago Cubs (92-52, 16 games up in division)

    The Cubs' magic number stands at three after losing to the Cardinals on Tuesday night, which was a blessing in disguise for the home fans.

    With a 10-game homestand awaiting following their series finale in St. Louis on Wednesday, they're now all but assured of clinching the NL Central at Wrigley Field.

    Kyle Hendricks flirted with a no-hitter Monday and briefly lowered his ERA below 2.00 before allowing a ninth-inning home run to Jeremy Hazelbaker.

    His Cy Young candidacy will be one of the big stories over the final few weeks. 

    Postseason Chances: 99 percent (+0 percent)

    St. Louis Cardinals (76-68, 0.5 games back in WC)

    The Cardinals continue to spin their tires in the second half, and they're in danger of losing out on a wild-card spot as a result.

    While they've managed to avoid a prolonged rough patch, a 14-13 record in August and a 6-6 start to September does not paint a picture of late-season momentum.

    Their struggles at home will be put to the test in the season's final week with what will be a pivotal seven-game homestand to close out the year.

    After posting the best home record in baseball a year ago, they're just 33-40 with a minus-six run differential at Busch Stadium in 2016.

    Postseason Chances: 52 percent (-18 percent)

    Non-Contenders

    Pittsburgh Pirates (70-73) (-1 percent)

    Milwaukee Brewers (64-81)

    Cincinnati Reds (62-82)

NL West

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    Dodgers SP Rich Hill
    Dodgers SP Rich HillRob Foldy/Getty Images

    Contenders

    Los Angeles Dodgers (81-63, 4 games up in division)

    The Dodgers have now been in first place in the NL West for the better part of a month, but they've been unable to put a significant gap between themselves and the rival Giants.

    That being said, the return of Clayton Kershaw and three dominant starts from Rich Hillwho is finally over the blister problem that plagued him for much of the summerhave this looking like a different Dodgers club.

    They are 7-4 with a plus-20 run differential so far in September, and their upcoming four-game series with a struggling Diamondbacks team could finally provide them with an opportunity to widen their lead.

    Postseason Chances: 99 percent (+1 percent)

    San Francisco Giants (77-67, 1 game up in WC)

    While the Dodgers get set to take on the Diamondbacks, the Giants are gearing up for a big four-game series at home against another wild-card hopeful in the Cardinals.

    The team needs ace Madison Bumgarner to snap out of his recent funk, as he's posted a 5.59 ERA with a .274 opponent's batting average over his last five starts.

    Manager Bruce Bochy finally pulled the trigger on removing Santiago Casilla from the closer's role after his eighth blown save of the year, so bullpen stability is a concern as well.

    Postseason Chances: 78 percent (+3 percent)

    Non-Contenders

    Colorado Rockies (69-76)

    San Diego Padres (61-84)

    Arizona Diamondbacks (60-84)

    All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted. Standings current through Tuesday.

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