Is the American League East already a three-team race?

April 06, 2011|By Matt Vensel

We're less than a week into the 2011 MLB season, but recent history shows that the undefeated Orioles are in pretty good shape to return to the playoffs at season's end. Meanwhile, the winless Red Sox and Rays are already on the ropes.

According to data provided to USA Today by the Elias Sports Bureau, 20 teams have started a season 4-0 since 1995, which was the beginning of the wild-card era. Twelve of those teams -- that's 60 percent -- have made the playoffs.

Meanwhile, 25 teams got off to a 0-4 start in that span, and only two -- eight percent -- made it to the postseason: the 1995 Reds and 1999 Diamondbacks.

Guess who managed those Diamondbacks. That's right, Buck Showalter. The Orioles skipper tried to keep things in perspective on Monday when he was asked about starting 2011 with a four-game winning streak.

"I've had 100-win teams that have lost four or five games in a row at some point that season, and I've had a 95-loss team that won four or five in a row," he said. "So you try to keep a grip on reality."

With 158 games left, we shouldn't rule out the Red Sox and Rays yet. Those stats are pretty interesting, though.

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