October is Here! MLB Playoff Time!

The Boys of summer have entertained us from April through September playing their 162 game regular season. We have now whittled the field down to 6 Division winners and 4 Wildcard teams and it is time to start the MLB playoffs! We start off with the AL Wildcard game tonight and then the NL Wildcard tomorrow. Then the Division Series begin with the AL on Thursday and NL on Friday. This will be the 6th year that this playoff format has been followed. Of the first 5 years with this format the team with the Best Overall Record has won the World Series 3 times including last years Chicago Cubs. They get the advantage of playing the winner of the Wildcard game. In most cases the Wildcard team had to throw their ace in the Wildcard game meaning they would only get to use him once in their Division Series against the #1 Division Winner. Odds get even better for the Best Overall Record team this year. It was that the winner of the All-Star Game would get home-field advantage for the World Series. Now the team with the best record gets it. This gives the Dodgers the best advantage with their 104-58 record this year. As for the Wildcard teams. Things are pretty tough to go from Wildcard team to World Series Champ. The San Francisco Giants did do it in 2014 but only twice has this happened in the past 10 years and only 4 teams out of 20 have made it to the World Series as a Wildcard over the past 10 years. So with that being said, lets take a look at the odds to make it to the World Series and win it all.

ODDS TO WIN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE PENNANT
Los Angeles Dodgers +162
Chicago Cubs +325
Washington Nationals +330
Arizona Diamondbacks +675
Colorado Rockies +1300

ODDS TO WIN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE PENNANT
Cleveland Indians +165
Houston Astros +233
Boston Red Sox +380
New York Yankees +550
Minnesota Twins +1425

ODDS TO WIN THE WORLD SERIES
Cleveland Indians +325
Los Angeles Dodgers +360
Houston Astros +455
Chicago Cubs +775
Washington Nationals +800
Boston Red Sox +850
New York Yankees +1200
Arizona Diamondbacks +1800
Colorado Rockies +3300
Minnesota Twins +3300

So who will win? The Dodgers have the best record in baseball but are just 11-21 since Aug 26th. They have won 8 out of the last 10, so maybe they are back on track. The defending World Series Champion Cubs will try to repeat, something that no one has done since 2000 Yankees won their 3 straight title. The Cubs must also go to Washington to start their playoff run and face maybe the best starting staff in baseball. The Nationals did take a hit with the injury to Ace Max Scherzer (16-6 2.51). Scherzer may not be available to pitch in the NLDS putting more pressure on Stephen Strasburg (15-4 2.52) and Gio Gonzalez 15-9 2.96). If Scherzer can’t go, Tanner Roark (13-11 4.67) will also get more action. As for the Wildcard teams in the NL, it will be tough but both played well down the stretch. Arizona was 24-11 dating back to Aug. 24th and Colorado is 15-11 since Sept. 4th. So who do I like? I would have jumped on Washington if Scherzer was healthy but with his status up in the air, I will lean toward the Dodgers in the National League.

As for the American League we have two 100 win teams in Cleveland and Houston. No one has been hotter than the Cleveland Indians. We all know about the 22 game win streak from Aug. 25th-Sept 14th, but since then the Indians have gone 11-4. With an ace like Corey Kluber (18-4 2.25) and a full pitching staff that has allowed 96 runs less than any other team in the American League. Then we have the Houston Astros and their MLB leading 896 runs scored, 38 runs more than anyone else (NY Yankees). The other division winner, the Boston Red Sox can only throw one of the best pitchers in baseball in Chris Sale (17-8 2.90 and 309 Ks). Sometimes a team can ride a hot arm like that all the way to a title. I can tell you that no one wants to face the wildcard Yankees. The Yanks outscored opponents by 198 runs this year. Can rookie Aaron Judge (52 HRs 114 RBIs) carry the Yanks? Then we have the upstart Twins. They went from league worst 59-103 last year to 85-77 this season. They finished the year going 7-3 to make it to the playoffs. Ervin Santana (16-8 3.28) will lead the way for the Twins. If he gets hot and the other starters can do enough to hand it to a very good bullpen, the Twins to shock some. So my pick, it is hard to go against the hot hand, I will go with the Indians.

So how about my pick for the World Series? Well one of the biggest factors in my pick was the injury to Clayton Kershaw that kept him sidelined for the end of July and all of August. He is healthy now and I believe will have a very good playoff with a rested arm. Don’t miss any of our MLB Playoff selections plus of course RED HOT CFB & NFL, along with the start the the NHL at at http://www.freeplays.com/handicapper.asp?serviceID=8010 . Good Luck!

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