As summer rolls around, the baseball season is getting into full swing and with roughly a third of the MLB season complete, the pennant races are starting to take shape.
The Picture so Far
In the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers, winners of three of the last four National League pennants, have a real fight on their hands in the West division. The upstart San Diego Padres are fulfilling their significant potential and currently top the division with a 32-18 record.
Hot on their heels are not only the Dodgers but the surprise package San Francisco Giants. Both teams have records of 30-19 and the NL West looks set to be the most exciting divisional race in baseball.
Elsewhere in the National League, the fancied New York Mets have yet to put real distance between themselves and their NL East rivals but they have had major injury issues and should be able to pull away from the others with a healthier squad.
In the NL Central, the three main contenders – the Milwaukee Brewers, St Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs – have all failed to set the world, and their tight division, alight.
Ultimately, it seems likely that the NL West will again hold the key to the National League pennant race, with the reigning Dodgers set to duke it out all season with the Padres.
Can the Dodgers Get the Job Done?
San Diego have a huge amount of potential and can count on their superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. At
18/5 for the pennant, they represent the value to atone for their NLDS defeat last season and dethrone LA.
In the American League, AL East hot favourites the New York Yankees have recovered after a stuttering start, but they will have to contend with the defending AL East champion Tampa Bay Rays and their bitter rivals the Boston Red Sox.
The Yankees should have the firepower to win the division and to fail to do so would be a massive disappointment.
White Sox Leading the Central Way
In the AL Central, the Chicago White Sox have capitalised on a strong pitching staff to lead the division with a 28-20 record. However, tensions between their veteran manager Tony La Russa and the players are not a recipe for success.
In the AL West, the Los Angeles Angels again seem intent on wasting the talents of Shohei Otani and Mike Trout with a terrible pitching staff leading them to a 22-27 record.
Houston Get the Nod
As a result, the division looks like a two-horse race between the Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros. The Athletics may well take the division but their play-off record is hopeless and they can be opposed for the pennant.
Similarly, despite the Yankees prominence in the betting, they are
13/5 favourites to win the American League, there have been enough negatives so far this season to take them on.
As such, the Houston Astros are the selection at
6/1. They were beaten by the Rays in last year’s ALCS but their lineup is stacked with firepower throughout. In Zak Greinke and Lance McCullers they have two aces who can carry them through the postseason.
*All odds correct at time of writing