Resetting the AL postseason race

7/14/2011 - MLB
Michael Young and Elvis Andrus have improved Texas' offense -- and its odds of making the playoffs. Jason O. Watson/US Presswire

This season's American League playoff picture primarily tells a tale of rich teams getting richer; four of the five clubs with the most improved odds of making the playoffs at midseason entered Opening Day as the favorites in their division.

Although no division leader holds a lead greater than one game in the loss column, which would seem to suggest tight races all around, our playoff odds indicate that three clubs have already come close to punching tickets to October, leaving the Central as the league's most likely locus of a dogfight down the stretch.

As has been the case in every season since 2006, two AL playoff berths almost certainly will be reserved for teams from the East, leaving occupants of the league's less privileged divisions with little choice but to come in first or start their offseasons early. As play resumes for the second half, let's examine how each team's stock has risen or fallen relative to the expectations of our preseason PECOTA projections.