This time, someone has to win the AL Central

Over the weekend, I predicted that nobody would clinch the AL Central in the regular season. This turned out to be correct. But now of course someone has to win the AL Central, as they’re going to a one-game playoff in the Metrodome Tuesday.

And it looks like things are stacked in the Twins’ favor. Winning the season series against the Tigers gives them home field advantage, which is always nice. But the real boon to the Twins looks like the pitching matchup.

Scott Baker really seems like an underrated pitcher – he’s been a solidly above-average pitcher over the past few seasons. And Rick Porcello… really doesn’t. Looking at measures like FIP and xFIP tells the story of a below-average pitcher. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing – a starter that can put up innings and pitch somewhat close to the league average is still a valuable back-of-the-rotation piece.

But Tigers fans may feel like they’re sending a number two starter up there with a win-or-die game on the line, and they aren’t. And that makes the Twins the clear favorite to win this game, and the division, with an estimated .634 win percentage for the one-game playoff, using the same crude model I used last time. (Emphasis – crude model. The only thing I bothered to project was the starting pitchers’ RA. Everything else is based off single-season stats, unregressed.)

But a caveat. This of course means the Tigers have a 37% chance to WIN, which isn’t anything to sneeze at. Probabilities aren’t cetainties, and the Tigers are far from eliminated at this point.

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Vegas Watch
Vegas Watch

Pretty close to the odds once again, which are -165/+157 (.615).  It might be that you’d get down to that if you regressed everything.