Big Names Striking Out in Early MLB Running

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It's been a fascinating MLB season so far and there could be plenty more twists and turns to come!

MLB baseball

With a little over a third of the MLB regular season gone, the landscape in the professional ranks of ‘America’s favourite pastime’ has a slightly unexpected look to it.

The defending World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers entered the year as heavy favourites to claim back-to-back titles, such is the strength of their roster. While they remain the 16/5 favourites to keep their crown, it hasn’t been plain sailing so far for the Dodgers, who currently sit third in the National League West, three games back on the San Francisco Giants.

However, LA’s slow start looks relatively successful when compared with the New York Yankees, who entered the season as strong fancies to reign supreme in the American League. Instead, the Yankees are licking their wounds after recently being swept at home by hated rivals Boston, a series which leaves them sat in fourth in the East with a 31-29 record.

With the Yankees stumbling, the Chicago White Sox are now the 16/5 favourites to win the American League conference, with New York 15/4.

While the top dogs have been slow out of the blocks, the likes of the Giants, Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers have out-performed their pre-season expectations to give themselves a sniff of the playoffs, and potentially a divisional crown.

Dodgers Slump Unlikely to Last

However, with most teams still having around 100 games left to play, there’s scope for plenty of change with the cream of the crop likely to emerge. That would include the Dodgers, whose underlying numbers suggest they have been slightly unlucky not to have a better record than 34-25. LA are the best offensive team in the team, averaging 5.31 runs per game, while they rank in the top 10 in the majority of pitching metrics.

With the inevitable impact of injuries having been minimal so far, the loss of Dustin May being the Dodgers’ only major casualty to date, they looked primed to hit their stride at some point and are 17/10 to win the National League.

The 16/5 San Diego Padres could prove the biggest threat to the Dodgers with their elite run-prevention roster having worked well so far. They are averaging a league-low 3.39 runs against, while Fernando ‘El Nino’ Tatis Jr has lived up to his billing as one of baseball’s most exciting players at the mound, hitting 17 home runs so far.

Also in the mix in the National League are the New York Mets at 7/2, despite their issues with injuries. Powering the Mets to the top of the East Division has been the incredible form of Jacob deGrom, who currently has an ERA of 0.62 after nine starts. The ERA record for a season is 1.12, recorded by Bob Gibson in 1968, and DeGrum could go close to threatening that mark. He’s 10/17 to win a third CY Young award in four years as a result.

Yankees Searching for Answers

There’s been a strong pitching performance from both teams in New York this season, with the Mets’ city rivals the Yankees currently ranked sixth in MLB for team ERA. While the bullpen has out-performed expectations, one hand is not washing the other in the Bronx with the offence currently ranked 27th, averaging 3.72 runs per game.

New York have worked to do if they want to catch AL East leaders and defending Conference champions Tampa Bay, the Rays putting together an 11-game winning run to recover from a slow start. They now boast a 38-23 record, the best in the American League, and since the start of the 2019 season, have the best win percentage in the conference so know how to get the job done. They are 11/2 to retain their AL title.

The White Sox look a viable threat to wrestle the crown away from the Rays after a strong start, although Chicago’s injury history means they are seemingly always one series from disaster. AL West leaders Oakland have been consistent without really flashing with both the batting and pitching ranked 15th and 13th respectively. That makes the A’s vulnerable and with Houston winning five straights, the Astros should click into gear to justify 5/7 favouritism in the AL West before mounting a conference challenge at 23/4.

*All odds correct at time of writing.

Chris is broadcast and written journalist with a wealth of experience, across a number of different sports. As well covering football on the radio, he is a regular online and print contributor on the likes of rugby union, American Football and Formula One.

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