Right now, the panic button is being punched on overdrive in Red Sox Nation — and rightfully so. One week, Boston got swept by a tandem of the Rays and the Yankees. The next, it took three of four from Detroit and one from Texas before falling flat once again in the final two games of the series against the Rangers.
Statistically speaking, though, there may not be cause for panic.
Clay Davenport at Baseball Prospectus compiled each team's odds of winning its division and of winning the wild card, and while Boston has just a 3.67 percent chance of being crowned champions of the AL East, it has a 38.22 percent chance of taking the AL wild card — the best odds of any team in the American League.
New York is pretty much a lock to win the East with a 94.25 percent chance.
The Rays have a 2.08 percent chance of winning the division and a 26.85 percent chance of winning the wild card.
The Rangers, currently leading the wild-card race by a half-game, have a 20.64 percent chance of pulling out the win.
The odds were obtained by doing a Monte Carlo simulation of the rest of the season a million times. The Monte Carlo method relies on random sampling and repeated computation to produce results.
Of course, we all know the least-probable outcome is possible. Anyone remember 2004?