The Detroit Tigers are 25-26 and haven’t crossed the .500 mark so far this season. And they are only one game behind the leaders of their section.
The Chicago Cubs have the worst record in the National League, but are only four and a half games away from a playoff spot.
As ‘Memorial Day’ approaches in the United States, some of the worst teams in the Major Leagues can still dream of participating in the fall classic. In fact, FanGraphs reports that only five Major League Baseball clubs have less than a 5% chance of making the playoffs: Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, Washington Nationals, Cincinnati Reds, and Washington Rockies. Colorado. And even the Reds are just four games out of first place in the National League Central.
As of May 29 last year, no less than 11 teams had less than a 5% chance of advancing to the postseason playoffs.
Several factors explain the current situation.
First of all, the ugliest teams are really, really ugly, The Athletics are 10-45 and they could obviously threaten the modern record of 120 losses set by the New York Mets in 1962. Royals, currently at 16-38, are also in very bad shape.
This means that other teams that may be involved in the playoff race will share more wins between them. The Seattle Mariners, for example, would be in trouble if they didn’t go 7-0 so far this season against the A’s.
Moreover, mediocre clubs are all gathered in the same sections. The Minnesota Twins lead the American Central Division at 27-26, and that means even the Tigers, who aren’t playing for .500, are still in the game. The Cleveland Guardians (23-29) are seven and a half games away from the last bye given to teams drafted from the American, but only three and a half games from leading their section. And even the Chicago White Sox are only six games behind the Twins, despite being 11 games below respectability (.500).
The same scenario occurs in the Central Division of the National, where five and a half games separate the leaders, the Milwaukee Brewers (28-25), from the last, the Cubs.
Although it will obviously take an excellent record to hope to win the pass offered to the third team drafted from the American, the parity is very real in the National. Currently, the holders of the third bye offered to a team drafted from the National are the San Francisco Giants (27-26), and nine teams are four and a half games behind them.
The Philadelphia Phillies erased a 5-0 sixth-inning deficit against the Arizona Diamondbacks last Wednesday. Trea Turner tied the game with a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning, and Alec Bohm’s single in the 10th gave the Phillies a 6-5 win. The probability of the Diamondbacks winning the game in the ninth inning was 98.6 percent, according to Baseball Savant.