We are now around four months into the 2017 season of Major League Baseball, with the regular season due to come to a conclusion at the beginning of October. Last season’s World Series winners the Chicago Cubs already look well-placed to compete in post season again, as they sit in second spot in the National League Central Division at the moment. This article will take a look at how the MLB season has gone so far and at which teams might win the World Series this time.
Perhaps not surprisingly the Chicago Cubs are rated one of the favourites at 9/2 by bookmakers, but their defence of the title has not been without some glitches so far. Having lost on the opening day to St Louis, they have subsequently sat around the level of 50-50, despite a high division placing. At first, most pundits and observers expected them to kick into a higher gear once the new season got into its swing, but now that we are close to halfway through the regular season it is getting harder to make the excuse that they are just rusty.
The fact remains that, if we were to compare their record for this season so far with that of 2016, there would be a 12-game drop-off in terms of the standings. It still seems unlikely that they would fail to reach the post-season stage, but many are attributing this as much to the comparatively low standard of the NL Central Division as to their strength. It is not down to personnel, as most of those that led them to the World Series remain with the club, but can be credited to a reduced performance level in both hitting and pitching. Chicago has conceded close to one-run-a-game more in pitching terms, making for solid but unspectacular performance, but has below-average for the league hitting.
In fact, stats suggest that the team over-performed last season and has now regressed to the mean. Another big favourite with the bookies are the Boston Red Sox, who were given odds of 9/2 for the World Series. They currently lie second in the American League East Division and are battling it out with the Yankees to win the division.
Both teams are reportedly keen to sign third baseman Martin Prado from the Miami Marlins and with Pablo Sandoval currently injured, it could be key to the Red Sox’ chances of winning the division and even the World Series. Finally, the Cleveland Indians, who lead the AS Central, are rated 8/1, and the performances of starting pitcher Corey Kluber are a big part of this. He has secured double digits strikeouts in four successive matches recently, pushing his side into genuine contention.
Of course, some fans like to bet on a team to win the World Series, rather than just watching, but if you aren’t sure which side to pick a baseball slot game like Hot Shot will give you the excitement of gambling without needing to.
Any one of these three sides could taste World Series glory, or it could be another team entirely, with the most exciting part of the MLB season still to come.