Watch Now: Highlights: Rangers at Padres (1:38)
Not only has the 11-1 stretch made the Rays a virtual lock for the postseason, it’s improved their AL East title odds considerably. Sportsline had Tampa at 25.0 percent to win the division before the season. It was down to 4.3 percent following the 6-8 start. Now it’s up to 40.2 percent, so that’s a 35.9 percentage point gain in two weeks. No other team improved their division odds close to as much as the Rays the last 14 days.
49.8%
The Rays are getting an MVP performance from Brandon Lowe, plus Willy Adames appears to be having a breakout season. The pitching has not been as formidable as expected — Tampa has a team 105 ERA+, putting them in the middle of the pack — though Tyler Glasnow started to turn things around last time out and Blake Snell is finally getting stretched out. The Rays were a good bet to make the postseason before the season. One month in, they’re now close to a lock.
68.2%No team has seen their postseason odds drop as much as the Angels the last two weeks and only the Red Sox (minus-53.2 percentage points) have seen their odds drop more since Opening Day. The second American League wild-card team is currently on pace to win 31 games. The Angels would have to go 23-11 in their final 34 games to get to 31 wins. Can they do it? Sure, it’s possible. Right now though, the Halos have given us zero reason to believe they have that kind of run in them. 17.5%
One month usually isn’t much in baseball. This season though, one month represents nearly half the season (363 of 900 scheduled games have been played, or 40.3 percent). The postseason outlook has changed quite a bit. Here, according to Sportsline, are five teams that have significantly moved their postseason odds this year, either good or bad.

San Diego Padres

Preseason odds Aug. 7 odds Aug. 21 odds Change since Opening Day Change last two weeks
27.7% +33.4% +15.7% 61.6% 84.8%

51.2%
The top three seeds are the division winners and the next three seeds are the second-place teams. The final two spots go to the remaining teams with the best records. The first round (Wild Card Round) is a best-of-three series with all three games at the higher seed’s ballpark. The second round (LDS) is a best-of-five and the final two rounds (LCS and World Series) are best-of-sevens.

Tampa Bay Rays

Preseason odds Aug. 7 odds Aug. 21 odds Change since Opening Day Change last two weeks
+20.8% -40.4% 9.4% 33.3% +40.5%

The good news: Colorado is still in postseason position and within striking distance of second place in the NL West. The bad news: the Rockies will play 10 of their final 35 games against the powerhouse Dodgers, plus another seven games against a talented Padres team. Those seven games against San Diego are an opportunity to wrestle away second place. Those 10 games against a Dodgers team has outscored their opponents by 2.4 runs per game? A potential nightmare.
What a difference a week makes. Last Sunday the Blue Jays blew a seventh-inning lead in the second game of a doubleheader and lost in extra innings to the Rays. It was their ninth loss in their last 13 games and it dropped them to 7-11 on the season. Toronto has rebounded with five consecutive wins though, including turning a 7-0 first inning deficit into a 9-8 win in the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Phillies. It was a character win, for sure.
The Blue Jays are hardly perfect, and they’ll be without Bo Bichette (knee) and Ken Giles (elbow) for a while, cutting into their postseason odds. What they have going for them is weak competition. Right now the race for the second American League wild-card spot is between the Blue Jays, a Rangers team that just got dunked on all week by the Padres, an Orioles team that isn’t trying to contend, and maybe the RoyalsTigers, and Angels? Not the most imposing competition, to be sure.

Toronto Blue Jays

Preseason odds Aug. 7 odds Aug. 21 odds Change since Opening Day Change last two weeks
99.5% The 2020 MLB season is now four weeks old and that means the Aug. 31 trade deadline is a little more than a week away. Clubs have 10 days to evaluate their roster and seek out upgrades. This will be an unusual trade deadline in an unusual season, so it’s difficult to know what to expect. Could be busy, could be slow. Neither would surprise me. 47.4% +34.7% 76.3%

A sluggish start saw Tampa’s postseason odds drop the first two weeks of the season — the Rays went 6-8 in their first 14 games — but they’ve since bounced back with a vengeance. The Rays have won 11 of their last 12 games, including sweeping the Yankees at Yankee Stadium earlier this week to move a half-game up in the AL East. Following a 10-game road trip, Tampa now gets to go home for a seven-game homestand against the Blue Jays and Orioles. American League
No. 1 Athletics (18-8, .692) vs. No. 8 Blue Jays (12-11, .522)
No. 2 Rays (17-9 .654) vs. No. 7 White Sox (15-11, .577)
No. 3 Twins (17-9, .654) vs. No. 6 Astros (15-10, .600)
No. 4 Indians (16-9, .640) vs. No. 5 Yankees (16-9, .640)  
-41.8%

Los Angeles Angels

Preseason odds Aug. 7 odds Aug. 21 odds Change since Opening Day Change last two weeks
Four straight wins over the Rangers were preceded by five consecutive losses, but, overall, the Padres have their heads above water at 15-12, and they have a bona fide MVP candidate in Tatis. The bullpen is an unexpected cause for concern, especially now that Drew Pomeranz is dealing with a shoulder issue, but only nine of their final 33 games are against no-doubt contenders. The Padres have banked against the toughest part of their schedule and now just need to avoid a prolonged slump to reach October. -27.7% National League
No. 1 Dodgers (19-8, .704) vs. No. 8 Diamondbacks (13-13, .500)
No. 2 Cubs (16-8, .667) vs. No. 7 Rockies (13-12, .520)
No. 3 Braves (14-11, .560) vs. No. 6 Marlins (9-9, .500)
No. 4 Padres (15-12, .556) vs. No. 5 Cardinals (7-7, .500)  
Anyway, the Angels have crashed hard the last two weeks, losing 10 of their last 13 games and getting outscored more than two runs per game in the process. Trout and Anthony Rendon have been great. Dylan Bundy, David Fletcher, Brian Goodwin, and Tommy La Stella have been very good as well. The rest of the team though? Forget it. Just about all falling short of expectations, especially Justin Upton, who’s been one of the worst players in baseball this year (.094/.169/.188). 60.9%

It pains me that in a 60-game season with an expanded postseason field, Mike Trout (probably) still won’t get to play in October. What a shame. MLB should let the Angels rent Trout out to another team for the stretch run. Trout for a prospect and a player to be named later, then Trout goes back to the Angels as the player to be named later in the offseason. Something like that. Why not? We’re already playing seven-inning games and giving teams free baserunners in extra innings. Let’s get Trout in the postseason.
+23.2%
+14.7%

Colorado Rockies

Preseason odds Aug. 7 odds Aug. 21 odds Change since Opening Day Change last two weeks
The season does not end today, thankfully, but here’s what the 16-team postseason field would look like if it did (seeding based on winning percentage to account for the difference in games played): 28.2% MLB and the MLBPA agreed to an expanded 16-team postseason this year to a) make money, and b) create a more representative postseason. Sixty games is not always enough time for a team’s true talent to shine. An expanded postseason field allows talented clubs to recover from a shaky start and still get a shot at a World Series championship. It has been an up-and-down season for the Rockies. No team improved their postseason odds more the first two weeks of the season than Colorado, and it wasn’t close either. In the two weeks since, only the Angels and Red Sox have seen their postseason odds drop more. Oy vey. That’s what going 11-3 in your first 14 games and 2-9 in your next 11 games will do. The Rockies have lost seven of their last eight games and been outscored 55-39 in the process. No team improved their postseason odds the last two weeks as much as the Blue Jays. That’s thanks to these five straight wins and also their top competition fading a bit. The Blue Jays are a flawed team. No doubt about it. They also have more high-end young talent than their competitors and a legitimate stopper in Hyun-Jin Ryu. All the Blue Jays have to do is be the eighth-best team in the American League to reach the postseason, and, right now, they’re showing they’re up to the task.

26.9%
The Slam Diego Padres were at it again Thursday night, becoming the first team in MLB history to hit a grand slam in four straight games. Fernando Tatis Jr. drew the ire of the Rangers by swinging 3-0 with the bases loaded and his team up seven runs in the eighth inning Monday night. The Padres responded by grand-slamming Texas into oblivion the rest of the week. No team in MLB has improved their postseason odds as much since Opening Day as San Diego.