Major League Baseball’s’ All-Star break is this week as all 30 teams get a chance to rest up before grinding through the ‘dog days’ of summer. Looking at the standings, there are around eight teams in each league, or a little over half that can still legitimately entertain thoughts of winning this year’s World Series. Out of those 16 teams, there are maybe four or five that realistically have a chance to actually do it.
Bodog.com has Philadelphia at even money (1/1) to win the National League Pennant and at 11/4 to win it all. The Phillies have the best record in baseball at 57-34 and have a pitching staff that has more than lived up to expectations. Roy Oswalt has been plagued with sore back this season, but the combination of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels has won 31 games so far and showing little sign of slowing down.
The Boston Red Sox remain the odds-on-favorite to win the American League at 3/2 and the second-favorite to win the World Series at 7/2. They are clinging to a half-game lead over New York in the AL East with an overall record of 55-35, but come into the All-Star break with nine wins in their last 10 games. The Red Sox recipe for success this season has been to pound teams into submission with an average of 5.36 runs per game; the highest average in the Majors.
The Yankees have tried to employ the same strategy with an average of 5.17 runs per game and seem poised to battle their rivals right down to the final week of the season for the AL East title. New York is the second favorite to win the AL Pennant at 3/1 and the third favorite at 6/1 to win a world title. It may actually have a slight edge in overtaking the Red Sox with a better overall pitching staff that is ranked fourth in the AL with a team ERA of 3.46.
Last season’s World Series runner-up, the Texas Rangers are the third favorite to win the AL at 15/2 and fourth favorite to win the MLB championship this season at 14/1. They have a battle on their hands in the AL West with just a one-game lead over Los Angeles at the break. Texas is ranked eighth in the AL in pitching with a 3.93 ERA, and has had to rely heavily on a lineup that is punching out an average of close to five runs a game.
The Atlanta Braves trail the Phillies by 3.5 games in the NL East, which is the largest deficit in any of the six division races, but have been able to keep their rivals within striking distance behind the second-best pitching staff in the Majors. The Braves are a bit of an anomaly when it comes to the odds, as they are the fourth favorite at 8/1 to win the National League behind Philly, Milwaukee (7/1) and San Francisco (7/1), but the fifth favorite to win the World Series at 15/1 with the same odds at the Brewers and slightly better odds than the defending world champion Giants (16/1). Right now, Atlanta has a solid grasp on the Wildcard spot in the NL with a five-game lead over Arizona, so the likelihood it gets into the postseason looks pretty good.