Meet the Mets! Meet the Mets! Step right up and greet the Mets!
Sorry if that song is now going to be planted in your head for the rest of the day, but I feel obligated to indulge the long suffering New York fan base. After all, when we handicapped the NL race a month ago, we kind of crapped on the Mets chances to win the NL East.
Now here we are, a month later, and the Mets have opened up a 4.5-game lead over the Nationals for top spot in the division. Whoops!
The rest of the race is playing out much like we expected though, with the Dodgers and Cardinals holding onto their division leads and the Cubs fending off advances from the Giants for that second Wild Card spot. The stretch promises some drama, but we’ll stick to our guns over baseball’s final months, even if that means the preseason World Series favorites and the defending champs both watch October baseball from home.
Odds to win the NL East:
Acquiring Yoenis Cespedes and getting Travis d’Arnaud back from injury hasn’t caused an offensive explosion per se, but with the entire Mets rotation pitching lights out, they only need a little pop to win games. Jacob deGrom (2.03 ERA), Matt Harvey (2.61 ERA) and Noah Syndergaard (3.07 ERA) have all looked like aces, and the team should get an even bigger bump with rookie Stephen Matz scheduled to return from injury in September.
The Nationals don’t really have injuries to blame anymore: Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Reardon, and Jayson Werth have all returned. But the Washington offense hasn’t. They weren’t able to get anything going when they were swept by the Mets a few weeks ago and, just this week, they were shutout in back-to-back games against the Dodgers.
Granted, they were facing Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, but still. This is a pitchers’ league, and if the Nationals can’t log wins against good pitching, they’re dead in the water.
They still have six games against the Mets, so reeling them in is very doable. But if they can’t, someone could be out of a job.
Odds to win the NL Central:
The Cards are going to win this division. Pittsburgh and Chicago both look well on their way to a Wild Card spot, but they can use the remaining schedule to decide who will get to host the play-in game.
Odds to win the NL West:
The Dodgers haven’t run away with the division by any means. They’ve merely matched the Giants good and bad stretches to stay 2.5-games up. With two aces at the front of the order, L.A. will never go on a long losing streak. But they’ll need more out of the back end if they want to run up their lead on San Francisco. They’ll hope deadline acquisition Mat Latos (4.81 ERA) can find his form: he’s been pretty brutal so far.
The Giants have Jake Peavy (3.75 ERA) and Matt Cain (5.59 ERA) back, but neither is looking up to snuff so far. San Fran is in the midst of awful stretch of eight series against teams either in or hunting for a playoff spot. If they can survive this run, they have seven games left against the Dodgers they can use to make up ground.
Odds to finish in the Wild Card spots:
(Photo Credit: MBDChicago on Flickr [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)
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