Yankees at 3-to-1 lead World Series odds

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One of the few things I like more than gambling is baseball, so the “futures” odds on teams winning the World Series are always interesting. Here’s what Bodog is offering right now (for entertainment purposes only, of course):

New York Yankees         3-1        Philadelphia Phillies    6-1
Boston Red Sox           6-1        St. Louis Cardinals     12-1
Seattle Mariners        16-1        Los Angeles Dodgers     16-1
Tampa Bay Rays          18-1        Chicago Cubs            18-1
Minnesota Twins         18-1        Atlanta Braves          20-1
Los Angeles Angels      18-1        Colorado Rockies        20-1
Chicago White Sox       18-1        San Francisco Giants    22-1
Texas Rangers           25-1        New York Mets           28-1
Detroit Tigers          30-1        Arizona Diamondbacks    35-1
Oakland Athletics       60-1        Florida Marlins         38-1
Cleveland Indians       75-1        Milwaukee Brewers       45-1
Baltimore Orioles      100-1        Cincinnati Reds         50-1
Kansas City Royals     100-1        Houston Astros          75-1
Toronto Blue Jays      150-1        San Diego Padres       100-1
Pittsburgh Pirates     150-1
Washington Nationals   150-1

Perhaps the media hype surrounding Seattle’s new management really has gotten out of control, because there’s no way the Mariners should have the fifth-highest odds in all of baseball to win the World Series at 16-to-1. General manager Jack Zduriencik and company have made tremendous strides and it wouldn’t surprise me if they made the playoffs, but 16-to-1 seems crazy
I actually picked the Rangers to narrowly beat the Mariners (plus the Angels and A’s) in the AL West, so I like them at 25-to-1 quite a bit more. The Tigers at 30-to-1 also seems like a decent bet, if only because their offseason losses have generally been overstated and winning the AL Central almost never requires more than 90 victories.
Over in the NL, the Cardinals at 12-to-1 seems decent as far as heavy favorites go. I think they’re neck and neck with the Phillies as the best team in the league and the NL Central may not offer much of a challenge. With that said, the Brewers are certainly a solid enough team that 45-to-1 seems pretty good as a flier. I’d take Milwaukee over at least 3-4 teams with lower odds.
Incidentally, the one thing I’m sure of is that you’ll get an equal return on your investment and probably more enjoyment literally flushing money down the toilet or lighting money on fire than you will betting it on the Pirates, Nationals, or Blue Jays at 150-to-1. Bodog could offer 150-to-1 odds on the Pirates winning the World Series this decade and I’d have to really think about it.

NL Wild Card Game: Cubs vs. Pirates lineups

Jake Arrieta

Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.

RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.

The Cardinals are optimistic about Yadier Molina’s status

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina‘s bum thumb responded well after participating in baseball activities Tuesday, including catching, hitting, blocking balls and the like.

This morning Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said that he’s now even more optimistic that Molina will be on the NLDS roster. The Cards’ first game will be Friday against the winner of tonight’s Cubs-Pirates tilt.

Having Molina would obviously be a boon for the Cardinals on the field. For a look at what Molina means to the Cardinals off the field, however, take some time to go read Derrick Goold’s excellent story about what Molina’s teammates think of him. Short version: the world. It’s worth your time, even if you’re not a citizen of Cardinals Nation.