The MLB season is long and arduous. It’s a 162-game marathon filled with doubleheaders, rain delays, a questionably slower pace, and more low-scoring affairs than most sports fans can handle. It’s fair to say that not everyone can handle the commitment it takes to be a true fan of the sport.
Of course, when the postseason rolls around and you just so happen to have a horse in the race, then that pretty much changes everything. Now that we’re heading into the home stretch of the year, we can almost see the finish line that is playoff baseball.
With 10 games or so left to play in the regular season, a handful of teams have emerged as legitimate title contenders — and the oddsmakers have taken notice. As we inch closer to the most exciting part of a Major League Baseball season, here’s a look at who Vegas is picking to win the 2016 World Series.
7. Toronto Blue Jays
Although the Toronto Blue Jays are just 5-5 in their last 10 games, they still have a reason to be excited as we get closer to the month of October. With 10 games left on their schedule, the Blue Jays, led by MVP candidate Josh Donaldson (.284 batting average, 35 home runs, and 94 RBIs and and Cy Young Award hopeful J.A. Happ (20-4, 3.28 ERA), have a 83-69 record and sit atop the AL Wild Card standings. If this group can finish the season out strong, anything is possible come playoff time.
6. Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians are only 6-4 in their last 10 games, but that doesn’t change the fact that they enter the home stretch of the regular season season as one of the best teams in all of baseball. With 10 games remaining on their schedule, the Tribe are 89-63, hold a plus-108 run differential, have the sixth-lowest team ERA in the majors at 3.79, and are seven games up in the Central Division. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but it’s not out of the question that the city of Cleveland could be looking at another pro sports title in the near future. How nuts would that be?
5. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers may have had their ups and downs throughout the 2016 season, but they’re making moves at just the right time. With nine games left on their schedule, the Dodgers are 87-66, hold the fourth-lowest team ERA in the bigs at 3.66, and have a six-game lead atop the NL West division. Los Angeles certainly isn’t the favorite to win the World Series this year, but it’d be foolish to overlook such an experienced group. We’ll known soon enough if the Dodgers have enough firepower to make things interesting in the postseason.
2. (tie) Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are the hottest team in Major League Baseball. This group is 8-2 in its last 10 games, including an eight-game winning streak, have outscored its opponents by 188 runs on the year, and with nine games remaining on the schedule, hold the best record in the AL East at 89-64. Boston has chosen the perfect time to start playing its best ball of the year. and that should pay dividends in the postseason. The Red Sox are a team to be feared.
2. (tie) Texas Rangers
Even with 5-5 mark in their last 10 games, the Texas Rangers remain a force to be reckoned with in the American League. As we head into the final stretch of the year, the Rangers hold a 90-63 record overall, are 50-25 at home, sit nine games up in the AL West, and have a team batting average of .264 (tied for the third best in the bigs). Given the level of talent and experience on this roster, if the Rangers are able to stay the course heading into the postseason, the rest of Major League Baseball better watch out.
2. (tie) Washington Nationals
Despite going 5-5 in their last 10 contests, the Nationals, with a 89-63 record, hold a more-than-comfortable 8.5-game lead atop the NL East standings. On top of that, the Nats have the second best ERA (3.43) in baseball, have outscored their opponents by 152 runs on the year, and still have, despite an underwhelming season (by his standards), easily one of the best and most exciting players in Major League Baseball in Bryce Harper, a one-man wrecking ball who can turn the tides with a single swing of the bat. The Nationals have a history of faltering in the postseason. Maybe 2016 is the year they finally get over the hump. Hey, crazier things have happened.
1. Chicago Cubs
After a historic start to the 2016 season, the Chicago Cubs, despite coming back down to Earth during the middle of the season, have distinguished themselves as the best team in Major League Baseball.
With 10 games to play, the Cubbies are 97-55, hold a plus-239 run differential, boast the lowest team ERA (3.09) in baseball, have already clinched the NL Central division, and feature a ridiculously explosive lineup led by superstars Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. And, of course, we can’t forget about Chicago’s ace — and reigning NL Cy Young Award winner — Jake Arrieta; a man who’s somehow managed to raise the bar in 2016
As the team that continues to hold the best record in Major League Baseball, it’s no surprise folks in Vegas see the Cubs — curse and everything — as the frontrunners to win the 2016 World Series. Now let’s see if they have what it takes to make that dream a reality.