By: Alan Payton
The other day here at BetAdvisor.com, I looked at updated American League futures odds for Major League Baseball at its All-Star Break. And the favorites were the Kansas City Royals. So could we see a “Show-Me” World Series between Kansas City and its Missouri cousin St. Louis? The Cards are the 3.75 favorites to win the National League pennant. The last time the Royals won the World Series, incidentally, was in ’85 against the Cardinals.
Cards Rolling Behind Quartet Of Pitchers
The Cardinals are perhaps the best-run franchise in baseball these days so I guess you can’t call it a huge surprise that they have the best record in the major leagues at 56-33 and with a 2.5-game lead over Pittsburgh in the NL Central. The Cards are 1.25 to win the Central again. It is a tad shocking that the Cardinals are so good because they lost ace pitcher Adam Wainwright in late April to an Achilles’ injury that’s likely going to cost him the rest of the season, although Wainwright keeps saying he is trying to return late in the campaign. In addition, first baseman Matt Adams suffered a potential season-ending injury in late May.
But the Cards keep chugging along with the best team earned run average in MLB at 2.71. They have an amazing four starters with an ERA under 3.00: Carlos Martinez (10-2, 2.52), Lance Lynn (6-5, 2.90), Michael Wacha (10-3, 2.93) and John Lackey (7-5, 2.99). Might the team make a deal before the July 31 trade deadline to add a fifth starter and keep the innings down for the youngsters Martinez and Wacha?
Nationals Can’t Get Healthy
The spring overall favorite to win the National League was Washington as many projected this stacked team would reach triple-digit wins after adding Max Scherzer via free agency. The Nationals are now 4.20 to win the National League. They have a two-game lead in the East Division. Washington has had a major problem with injuries all season. Currently on the disabled list are five pretty good players: third baseman Anthony Rendon (only played 18 games all season), first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, outfielders Denard Span and Jayson Werth and starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg.
Once the Nationals get healthy, they will probably pull away in the NL East. They have a two-game lead over the New York Mets. The Nationals are huge 1.125 favorites to take the division. The Mets have a great young pitching staff but are offensively challenged. They can’t hang with Washington all year but have a shot at one of the NL wild-card spots.
Dodgers Will Add An Arm
Finally, in the NL West the Los Angeles Dodgers lead second-place San Francisco by 4.5 games. The Dodgers are 1.1538 to win the division and 4.00 to win the pennant. They did well in acquiring catcher Yasmani Grandal from the Padres in the Matt Kemp deal this offseason, but the trade for Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins has been a disaster as he has been one of the worst every-day players in baseball. The Dodgers also have lost two starting pitchers, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy, to season-ending injuries. They have money to spend and a deep farm system so it’s expected that L.A. will trade for a starting pitcher, someone like the Reds’ Johnny Cueto, Phillies’ Cole Hamels, Marlins’ Dan Haren or Oakland’s Scott Kazmir. Landing one of those guys would likely make L.A. the NL favorite.