How ridiculously good is the American League at the top in 2018? And how ridiculously bad is the AL at the bottom? Well, the latter is a story for another day.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
Never in MLB history has one league had three 100-win teams in a single season, but the Junior Circuit has three on pace to top triple digits this year: the Boston Red Sox (106 victories), Houston Astros (103) and New York Yankees (102).
Shoot, there could be a fourth in the AL as the Seattle Mariners had been on pace for 100 victories but fell off slightly right before the All-Star break. There have never been four teams overall in MLB history to win 100 games in a single season.
The Astros are +400 favorites to become the first team since the 2000 Yankees to repeat as World Series champions. Houston hasn’t made a big trade ahead of the July 31 non-waiver deadline but are expected to make a move to bolster the bullpen. That appears to be the only question mark on the team. Houston has the best record at the All-Star break by the defending world champions since the 2006 Chicago White Sox.
The Yankees lost out on the Manny Machado sweepstakes and would be stuck playing in the AL Wild Card Game as things stand. They are +450 to win the World Series, same price as the Red Sox even though Boston leads New York by 4.5 games in the AL East. At 68-30, the Red Sox have tied the franchise record for most wins through 98 games, matching the 1946 club. It’s the first time Boston has the best record in the majors at the All-Star break since 2007 – that team won the World Series.
The biggest news in baseball during the break was the Los Angeles Dodgers landing Baltimore Orioles All-Star third baseman Machado in a trade for five prospects. The Dodgers beat out the Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers for a three-month rental of Machado.
That deal boosted Los Angeles’ World Series odds to +650, shortest in the National League even though four other clubs in the Senior Circuit have better records. The Dodgers seem very unlikely to re-sign Machado this offseason when he hits free agency because they already have one of the top young shortstops in the game: Corey Seager. Alas, he was lost to a season-ending injury in late-April.
The Phillies (+1500) and Brewers (+2000) will now turn their trade focus elsewhere, and it should be an active market ahead of the deadline with so many teams selling. The Chicago Cubs (+700) also are expected to do something, adding either a starting pitcher or reliever. The Cubbies have the NL’s best record and had its shortest World Series odds before the Machado trade.