This post is part of a series tracking the postseason series win probabilities throughout the 2014 MLB Playoffs. Click here to enjoy the full series of posts.
Storm clouds gather over the World Series hopes of the once-AL favorites and owners of Major League Baseball's best record, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. In a second consecutive game, the Angels lost at home to the underdog Kansas City Royals, sending their WS odds plummeting to a paltry 24-1. Meanwhile, the Baltimore Orioles—now bosting 3-1 odds to win it all—are soaring to new heights with their second straight victory over the Detroit Tigers.
There was plenty of excitement in the NL's first LDS slate as well, with the San Francisco Giants surprising the Nationals in Washington, and the St. Louis Cardinals completing a stunning comeback on the road against Clayton Kershaw and the heavily favored Los Angeles Dodgers.
The American League picture for the remainder of the playoffs has become clearer, while the National League view is decidedly foggier. The Orioles and Royals now have a better than 80% chance of advancing to the American League Championship series, the former sporting 1-1 odds to take the AL Pennant. On the other hand, the Senior Circuit is now essentially a level playing field for all four teams (as far as World Series hopes are concerned).
The Royals broke serve twice against LA of Anaheim, taking a 2-0 series lead back home with them to Kauffman Stadium. The Angels will need to win two on the road just to force a fifth game back home. The good news for Halos fans is that, if they do, they'd be favored to advance to the ALCS. In the meantime, however, even money has the Royals sweeping Los Angeles.
The Tigers are in a slightly better position, in that they take their 0-2 deficit back with them to Detroit. Still, the Birds nearly have an even money shot to complete the sweep on the road. Even if Detroit forces a fifth game, which they must if they are to advance, they still won't be favored.
Stephen Strasburg & Co. faltered at home against San Francisco, leaving them in a precarious position vis-à-vis their playoff chances. The numbers give San Fran the best chance of winning the NLDS now, with the most likely outcome being a Giants a victory in Game 4 by the Bay; a 20% chance at a sweep remains on the table. The Nats still have a 15% chance of sweeping the remainder of the series, however, and would be favored if they forced a fifth game at Nationals Park.
The numbers in the Cardinals-Dodgers series nearly mirror those in the Giants-Nationals series. St. Louis' best bet, at 24% is a victory in Game 4 at home, while the Dodgers would be heavily favored if they forced a fifth game at Dodger Stadium. St. Louis enjoys 4-1 odds in completing the sweep.
The recent successes of Baltimore and San Francisco make a six-game, Orioles-over-Giants World Series the most likely outcome. The odds of an All-Cali series have taken a major hit with the Angels' second loss, while a Show Me State Showdown has become much more likely with the success of Kansas City and St. Louis. A rematch of the 1944 World Series, between the Cardinals and the then-St. Louis Browns (now Baltimore Orioles) is now more likely than ever.
Stop by tomorrow for updated ratings, probabilities and charts following today's NLDS match-ups.