We’re entering the final weekend of MLB’s 2014 season, and there is one division race that appears to be open. Technically, the Detroit Tigers haven’t clinched the AL Central yet, although they’re two games up, and the projections don’t give the Royals much of a chance to win the division.
Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Pirates are sitting a game back in the NL Central from the St. Louis Cardinals, which makes it seem like the Pirates actually have a chance to take the NL Central. Here are the odds for that to happen, heading into the weekend.
Baseball Prospectus: 11.3%
Clay Davenport: 21.3%
Baseball Prospectus has been lower on the Pirates’ chances all season, so it’s no surprise that they’re the lowest on the Pirates overtaking the Cardinals this weekend. Meanwhile, Clay Davenport has been the highest on the Pirates throughout the year, and remains the highest in these projections.
None of the projections are strong, and for good reason. The Cardinals go up against the Diamondbacks this weekend, which means they should be projected to take at least two of three games. That means the Pirates would have to sweep the Reds just to tie the Cardinals, and then would have to beat the Cardinals on Monday in the tiebreaker. Most projection systems aren’t going to predict a four game winning streak.
That’s not saying it’s impossible to win the division. The Pirates have made winning look automatic this month, beating teams they should be beating, and going 16-4 in their last 20 games. Meanwhile, the Cardinals were swept by the Reds and lost two of three to the Cubs, showing that they haven’t been a guarantee to dominate losing teams.
Obviously it would be a lot easier for the Pirates if the Cardinals had another disappointing weekend and lost the series to Arizona. However, the Cardinals swept the Diamondbacks earlier this year, while the Pirates are 6-10 this year against the Reds. So perhaps the low odds are very fitting, despite the recent trends from each team.