Major League Baseball has officially hit the halfway mark as the Summer Classic was played earlier this week. The American League continued their dominance over the National League in the All-Star Game with a seventh straight victory.
With the second half of the MLB season now underway, what should we expect for the lead up to the playoffs? Which teams will win their respective divisions and make the postseason?
The Los Angeles Dodgers have lost back to back World Series. They have come alive this season. The Dodgers were the first MLB team to reach 60 wins. As of this writing, they are blowing away the NL West as the Arizona Diamondbacks are 12.5 games behind them in the division.
Los Angeles is the bookies’ favorite to win the World Series post-All-Star Game at odds of +280.
The NL Central is far closer with the Chicago Cubs just 1.5 games up on the Milwaukee Brewers. In fact, every team in the NL Central has a shot at making the playoffs. The division’s fifth place team, the Cincinnati Reds, are just 5.5 games out of first place.
The Atlanta Braves are beginning to pull away in the NL East. Now 6.0 games up on the Washington Nationals, the big news is more of the lack of challenge from both the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets than the Braves’ great play.
The American League remains the strongest part of MLB. The New York Yankees are the first AL team to win 58 games. New York is +350 to win the World Series, which is the second-best odds according to top sportsbooks.
Last season’s World Series winners, the Boston Red Sox, are 9.0 games out of first place. Boston is +2800 to win the Fall Classic at this point in the season.
Perhaps the shock team in the AL East is the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays are 6.5 games behind the Yankees and playing some great baseball in the competitive AL East. Tampa Bay is +2500 to win the World Series.
AL Central leaders, the Minnesota Twins and AL West leaders the Houston Astros are +1200 and +400 to win the World Series, respectively.
As it stands, only one division is really close and that is the NL Central. It is the only division in which any of the teams in it could win it.
The wildcard race should be very interesting in the second half of the season. Tampa Bay and the Cleveland Indians lead the AL wildcard race right now. But the Red Sox recent surge of five straight wins should propel them into the top two of the wildcard. Boston’s recent improved play has them gaining on the competition.
Right now, the NL wildcard is occupied by the Nationals and Phillies. They have the best shots at making the postseason unless the likes of Arizona or Milwaukee can stay consistent. Arizona has won four straight games. The Brewers have lost three straight as of this writing.
Picks to make the postseason:
- East: New York Yankees
- Central: Minnesota Twins
- West: Houston Astros
- Wildcard: Cleveland Indians; Boston Red Sox
- East: Atlanta Braves
- Central: Chicago Cubs
- West: Los Angeles Dodgers
- Wildcard: Arizona Diamondbacks; Washington Nationals