SI Vault
 
Consider This by Baseball Prospectus
Jon Heyman
May 21, 2007
With interleague play moving away from matchups in which all teams in a division play essentially the same clubs from the other league (with a few exceptions for natural rivalries), the schedule is increasingly affecting a team's chance of making the postseason. Look at the NL East, where the surging Braves ended the week in first place. Over the next month Atlanta will play the Twins, Indians, Red Sox and Tigers, four teams that combine for a projected winning percentage (PWP) of .577, based on records through Saturday. (PWP is calculated by using actual and PECOTA-projected records, and counting repeated series each time.) This is the most difficult interleague slate in baseball. The Mets don't have it much easier. They play the Tigers, Yankees, Twins and A's. The combined PWP of those squads, .537, presents the second-most-difficult interleague gauntlet. The unfairness is evident when examining the Phillies, who have played well since starting the season 3--10 and have to be considered a threat in the NL East to New York and Atlanta. Philadelphia plays the Blue Jays, Royals, White Sox, Tigers and Indians (a combined .493 PWP). That makes it a lot easier for Philly to close a large gap (seven games at week's end) in the standings. This inequity shows up in most divisions. In the AL Central the Indians' interleague opponents have a .463 PWP, while the Twins get foes with a .523 PWP and the Tigers have to face opponents with a .512. That's what comes of Cleveland's natural rivalry with the Reds, as well as missing the Mets. In the NL Central, the Cubs (whose opponents' PWP is .472) and the Cardinals (.470) play two of the five easiest interleague schedules, which might help them catch the front-running Brewers (a somewhat soft .491).
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
May 21, 2007

Consider This By Baseball Prospectus

View CoverRead All Articles

With interleague play moving away from matchups in which all teams in a division play essentially the same clubs from the other league (with a few exceptions for natural rivalries), the schedule is increasingly affecting a team's chance of making the postseason. Look at the NL East, where the surging Braves ended the week in first place. Over the next month Atlanta will play the Twins, Indians, Red Sox and Tigers, four teams that combine for a projected winning percentage (PWP) of .577, based on records through Saturday. (PWP is calculated by using actual and PECOTA-projected records, and counting repeated series each time.) This is the most difficult interleague slate in baseball. The Mets don't have it much easier. They play the Tigers, Yankees, Twins and A's. The combined PWP of those squads, .537, presents the second-most-difficult interleague gauntlet. The unfairness is evident when examining the Phillies, who have played well since starting the season 3--10 and have to be considered a threat in the NL East to New York and Atlanta. Philadelphia plays the Blue Jays, Royals, White Sox, Tigers and Indians (a combined .493 PWP). That makes it a lot easier for Philly to close a large gap (seven games at week's end) in the standings. This inequity shows up in most divisions. In the AL Central the Indians' interleague opponents have a .463 PWP, while the Twins get foes with a .523 PWP and the Tigers have to face opponents with a .512. That's what comes of Cleveland's natural rivalry with the Reds, as well as missing the Mets. In the NL Central, the Cubs (whose opponents' PWP is .472) and the Cardinals (.470) play two of the five easiest interleague schedules, which might help them catch the front-running Brewers (a somewhat soft .491).

1