Do the Dodgers deserve to have best odds to win World Series?
Let’s first address the two big fish that the Dodgers landed via trades over the past month. First, there was the major trade for former Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado over the all-star break that boosted the Dodgers from roughly eighth-best odds to win the World Series to the fourth-best odds. Secondly, they acquired Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier at the non-waiver trade deadline and with that have climbed into a tie for best odds to lift the Commissioner’s Trophy.
The Los Angeles infield is downright scary right now. From left to right you have Machado, Chris Taylor, Dozier and Max Muncy. Additionally, they have Justin Turner, whose health is a big question mark right now, but if he can return from the disabled list to last year’s form, the Dodgers will have the best infield in baseball.
Now, I know Dozier has been struggling in 2018 (.224 average, .708 OPS) but it’s not far off from the first half of last year for him (.242 average, .745 OPS). However, the 31-year-old turned things around in the second half last year (.304 average, .985 OPS) and over his entire career, his batting average is 14 points higher in the back half of the year and his OPS is 53 points higher as well.
The Dodgers have been aggressive in their hunt to return to the World Series for a second straight year and have done a great job overcoming injuries to players like Turner and Corey Seager. They are currently a half-game back of the NL West Division lead and rank second in the NL with a +91 run differential. It’ll be a battle to secure the division, but no doubt about it, the Dodgers are very dangerous and are legitimate challengers for their first World Series title since 1988.
Can the Brewers make a playoff run?
The Milwaukee Brewers are at +1400 to be the last team standing at the end of the season. Currently, they have the most wins in the National League with 63 and share a lead for the top spot in the NL Central Division. Statistically, they are on pace to finish with 93 wins, which would mark their first 90-win season since 2011, when they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS.
The Brewers acquired a pair of infielders ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline in Mike Moustakas and Jonathan Schoop. Their outfield was already pretty solid with Ryan Braun, Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich, so the addition of these hard-hitting infielders gives Milwaukee a much more potent offense – an area they were struggling in. The Brewers have scored 478 runs this season, which ranks ninth in the NL and fourth in their division, yet still had a +53 run differential as they have surrendered the second-fewest runs in the NL at 425. Moustakas and Schoop bring a combined 37 home runs and 100 RBIs to the club and their additions could put the Brew Crew over the edge in the NL Central.
At +1400 the Brewers are providing good value to win the World Series, but they are in for some tough sledding as the top of the NL is a war zone. The big area of concern if Milwaukee wants to make a deep playoff run is the Chicago Cubs, who have an 8-3 record over the Brewers and have outscored them 36-26. With eight meetings remaining this season, Milwaukee will have to find a way to earn some wins and avoid a wild-card spot.
Have the Yankees emerged as the top team in the AL?
All season it has been a three-headed monster in the American League between the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros. However, following the non-waiver trade deadline, did New York do enough to be the team to beat of the big three?
The Yankees acquired pitching depth with their deadline moves, trading for Zach Britton, Lance Lynn and all-star J.A. Happ. Lynn hasn’t had a smooth transition from the NL to the AL as he has a 5.10 ERA with a 7-8 record but was acquired for a long arm in the bullpen which could be valuable as the season approaches the dog days.
Getting Britton was the trade that turned my head as the Yankees’ back end of the bullpen features Britton, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman – good luck scoring on them. From 2014 to 2016, Britton’s ERA was under 2.00 in each season and he was one of the best closers in MLB. We saw the Kansas City Royals ride a strong back end of their bullpen all the way to a World Series title in 2015.
Lastly, the addition of Happ, who dazzled in his debut by tossing six innings of one-run ball on July 29, rounds out a respectable rotation. Happ is a much safer option to throw out for a playoff game than Sonny Gray or CC Sabathia. The 35-year-old has 11 wins on the season and a 4.05 ERA while having a 3-0 record and a 3.86 ERA in three career postseason starts.
The Pinstripes have a six-game lead in the wild-card standings that I don’t anticipate they will blow – although stranger things have happened. They also trail the Red Sox by five games in the AL East Division, a deficit which may be hard to overcome as Boston has been the best team in baseball nearly all season. The Yanks have all kinds of talent from terrific bats to possibly the best bullpen in the majors, but do they have enough to knock off likely both Boston and Houston en route to the World Series? That remains to be seen.
Here’s a look at the World Series odds:
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+450|
|Boston Red Sox||+500|
|New York Yankees||+600|
|San Francisco Giants||+8000|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+8000|
|Los Angeles Angels||+50000|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+90000|
|New York Mets||+90000|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+90000|
|San Diego Padres||+90000|