On June 20th I took a look at the strength of schedule to that point and for the rest of the season for the AL East. With the last third of the season upon us and time dwindling I thought it would be a good time to update this and bring in all the teams that have a reasonable shot of making the post-season. Again, this evaluates opponent winning percentage using the invaluable BP 3rd Order Wins. Here’s a look at where each team has been and where they’re going:
These are ranked by easiest remaining schedule from left to right. Texas may lose their most prolific offensive player, but it might not matter with a soft schedule left to go. Detroit will be similarly difficult to run down as they will essentially face an equal level of competition. The AL East might be getting all the attention, but the Central and West should go down to the wire and the Wild Card races are also shaping up to be a dogfight between the teams that don’t win their division, particularly if the AL East beats each other up over the course of the season. The Rays schedule gets a little more difficult, but it’s not nearly as tough as their division mates outside of Boston and the upstart Royals. FYI, I’m pulling incredibly hard for the Royals as an F You to all the people that immediately decry every move they make simply because of the man pulling the trigger.
As an aside, my perspective since the Myers trade is that the Royals window is right now. Not because they’re necessarily ready to compete, but it’s time to shit or get off the pot for Moustakas, Hosmer and their other young, solid players. If those guys take a step forward then they don’t need Myers and if they don’t then it wouldn’t matter. Of course, Myers has blown away my limited expectations for a 22 year old in his first go around, but I also don’t see him playing this well over the rest of the season. I hope I’m wrong. The Myers I expected wouldn’t have helped as much and if it took him a season or three to reach his potential then you’re looking at a Royals team that’s losing corner stone players in Butler and Gordon just as the young guys are reaching their potential. Dayton Moore was really in kind of a catch-22 so I give him a ton of credit to have the stones to realize this and act while they could.
Back on track here’s a look at each team’s 25-game rolling average opponent winning percentage:
The Rays are firmly out of their easiest portion of the schedule and it steadily ramps up from here. Texas has the weakest stretch coming up in the next couple of weeks, meanwhile you can see just how difficult the close of the season will be for the Royals. The fortunate thing for them is that the reason it’s so difficult is that they play the Tigers a ton down the stretch which gives them a sense of controlling their own destiny. That doesn’t make it easy. Oakland is another team that closes with a very easy schedule. I would not be surprised to see two teams come out of the West and two out of the East with whoever wins the Central being their sole representative.