The Tigers and Indians will conclude their season series on September 1. This is unusual as teams play 19 games against their divisional rivals, and most of the Tigers' and Indians' remaining games are against Kansas City, Minnesota, and Chicago.
FanGraphs recently integrated the data from coolstandings.com into their playoff odds report, so they have reports from multiple computer models. The Tigers' odds of winning the American League Central Division have climbed above 98%, with the Indians' odds falling below 2%.
The 2006 Minnesota Twins had a less than 2% chance of winning the division at one point in the season, yet win it they did. The 2009 Twins had a 6% chance of winning the division on September 6, and while it took 163 games it happened again. Tigers' fans are used to their team relinquishing large leads in September.
The Tigers and Indians have similar schedules the rest of the way. Their strongest opponent is next, as Detroit faces Boston and Cleveland faces Baltimore. But by next weekend, their only opponent with a record over .500 is Kansas City.
The Indians will have 26 games remaining, with a weighted-average opponent's winning percentage of .448. On average, they will face a team like Toronto or Seattle. While the Tigers are through with Houston, Cleveland has four games with the Astros. Their schedule is conducive to a hot streak. The Fangraphs' model shows the Indians expected to win 55% of their remaining games, ahead of their pace to date.
But the Tigers would likely need to slump to be caught by the Indians. Fortunately the Tigers' schedule is not much more difficult with a weighted average opponent's winning percentage of.464, roughly the Angels or Rockies. The Tigers are expected to win 59% of their remaining games.
The computer models do consider the opponents for the remaining games, and a 98% chance entering September is quite acceptable. The race is not over, but the odds are good.