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MLB 2011 Standings Update: The Playoff Odds

Last week, I looked at how the divisional races had started to shape up through the first week of the season. After getting through another series over the weekend, let's look at where the league's teams are sitting in the race for the playoffs.

Over at Cool Standings, they constantly simulate the season, accounting for past performances, projections and strength of schedule to calculate just what the odds of a team making the playoffs are. They've updated them for today and, shockingly, the Astros aren't the team with the furthest chance of making the postseason.

First of all, who's got the best chance? The Philadelphia Phillies, who currently sit with a 7-2 record atop the National League East. The Phillies have a 73.9 percent chance of making the postseason currently and are expected to win 102 games.

The Rangers sit right behind the Phillies at 72.5 percent chance of making the playoffs. Texas also is expected to win just about 100 games. No other team is expected to win 100 or more games and the closest team in expected wins to that mark is the Cincinnati Reds at 95 wins.

In the historically tough American League East, the first-place Baltimore Orioles only have a 15.2 percent chance of making the playoffs and a 10.5 percent chance of winning the East. The New York Yankees sit close behind with a 46.1 percent chance of the postseason, while the Toronto Blue Jays, who are tied with New York at 5-4, have a 37.5 percent chance.

The Cleveland Indians are in a similar situation, having just a 26.9 percent chance at the postseason despite sitting in first place in the AL Central. The Chicago White Sox hold the best odds at the postseason in the division at 49.4 percent.

The most lopsided division appears to be the NL West. Despite sitting in last place, 2 1/2 games behind Colorado, the San Francisco Giants still have the best shot at making the postseason in the division. The Giants' 45.7 percent chance at the playoffs is bolstered by a 10.1 percent chance at the wildcard. Only the Atlanta Braves' 12.4 percent chance at the Wild Card beats those odds. Colorado, meanwhile, leads the West and has the second-best shot in the division at making the postseason at 36.7 percent.

If you're looking at expected wins and losses, the Houston Astros are still not very good. They currently are expected to post the third-worst record in the majors, behind Seattle (54.5 wins) and Pittsburgh (65.6 wins). The Astros are on pace for just under 70 wins, which means they're not quite on pace for their first 100-loss season in franchise history. The low mark right is 97 losses, which the Astros reached in 1965, 1975 and 1991.

For more great baseball content, check out Baseball Nation.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.