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):

AMERICAN LEAGUE         ODDS        NATIONAL LEAGUE         ODDS
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.

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.

U.S. blanks Puerto Rico 8-0 to win first World Baseball Classic title

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The United States handed Puerto Rico its first loss in the World Baseball Classic, winning 8-0 for its first title in the fourth iteration of the tournament.

Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo was matching Marcus Stroman zero-for-zero through the first two innings, but the U.S. broke out for a pair of runs when Ian Kinsler deposited a two-run home run just beyond the fence in left-center at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Stroman was dealing. The right-hander, normally seen in a Blue Jays uniform, held Puerto Rico hitless through his first six innings, giving up just a lone walk. The U.S. put together a long rally in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Stroman came back out for the seventh but immediately served up a double down the left field line to Angel Pagan. U.S. manager Jim Leyland immediately lifted Stroman from the game, bringing in Sam Dyson who escaped the inning without any further damage.

Pat Neshek allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina to begin the eighth, but induced a double-play, then worked around a two-out walk by striking out Kenny Vargas to end the frame.

In the ninth, David Robertson took over. He induced an infield pop-up from Enrique Hernandez. After Pagan singled up the middle, Francisco Lindor sharply grounded out to Eric Hosmer at first base for the second out. Finally, Robertson closed it out, inducing Carlos Correa to ground out to third base, making the U.S. 8-0 victors over Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico had an admirable run, defeating Venezuela, Mexico, and Italy to get out of Pool D undefeated. Then, in Pool F, it beat Venezuela again as well as the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to move to the semifinals. It narrowly edged Netherlands 4-3 in the semifinals to get into the finals.

The U.S. lost to the D.R. but beat Canada and Colombia to get out of Pool C. In Pool F, the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico and defeated the D.R again as well as Venezuela. The U.S. took down Japan in the semifinals to advance to the finals to play Puerto Rico.

The U.S. joins Japan (twice, 2006 and ’09) and the Dominican Republic (2013) as countries to win the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 tournament was a rousing success, setting attendance records, drawing over one million fans to ballparks to take in the games. It will hopefully encourage commissioner Rob Manfred and others to make a concerted effort to make the 2021 tournament bigger and better.