It’s that time again. With 18 games left in the regular season, I wanted to take a look at how the odds stack up.
Heading into the final series of the season against the Houston Astros, the Rangers have all but clinched the AL West crown for a second straight year. Barring a disastrous collapse, there should be a champagne celebration at some point over the next couple of weeks.
Taking a look at Baseball Prospectus, the current odds of the Rangers making the postseason sit at 100%. FanGraphs takes that number down a notch to 99.9%. Both sites have the divisonal odds at higher than 99%.
If you’re more inclined to look at Vegas-style odds, you can do that too, with the Rangers holding the best odds in the American League at 1/15.
In other words, the Texas Rangers are going to the postseason. It’s now a matter of who they’ll play in the ALDS and whether or not they can wrap up the league’s best record over the Cleveland Indians.
To get a better idea of how that might play out, we can look at the remaining schedules. After the current three-game series in Houston, Texas won’t play another team currently above .500 the rest of the way, and 12 of those 15 games are at home.
Meanwhile, Cleveland will play 13 games against the Tigers and Royals, two teams fighting for wild card spots, with 8 of those 13 games coming on the road.
Just looking at the schedules, it’s tough to argue that Cleveland doesn’t have the harder path to the league’s best record.
Of course, there’s a reason they play the games, and any number of factors could play into whether or not Texas eventually seals the deal on the AL’s best record. Currently on pace to win 95-96 games, a hot or cold streak could put them on pace to win 92 or 98.
For my money, I’d imagine once the West is clinched, we’ll see some guys get rest, and I’d be more willing to wager on the lower of those win figures than the higher. That said, with the way this season has gone, it wouldn’t surprise me too terribly if the Rangers go ahead and buck the odds to win 98 games.