Odds don’t favor the Astros anymore

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Before the World Series started, the Astros were heavy favorites over the Nationals according to oddsmakers in Las Vegas. Now that the Nationals have taken a 2-0 series lead following a 12-3 dismantling of the Astros on Wednesday night, the odds are no longer in their favor.

As Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe notes, of the 55 teams to have taken a 2-0 series lead in the World Series, 44 went on to win it. That includes 17 of the last 18. The 1996 Yankees were the last team to come back from a two games to none deficit.

That being said, improbabilities do happen all the time in baseball, including in this very series. The Nationals defeated the Astros’ two 20-game winners in Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander. Per Stats Perform, Cole and Verlander are the first pair of 20-game winners to lose the first two games of a World Series since Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax of the 1965 Dodgers. Cole and Verlander are the first pair to have lost their World Series games at home. Additionally, per ESPN Stats & Info, the Nationals are the first road team to win the first two games of the World Series since the 1999 Yankees. Their current eight-game postseason winning streak is tied for the longest in a single postseason.

The Astros, however, will have to begin their turnaround in hostile territory as the next three games — two of which are guaranteed to be played — will take place in Washington, D.C. They will need Zack Greinke to dominate in Game 3 on Friday. Greinke hasn’t had a dominant postseason start since 2014 when he was with the Dodgers. The Nationals will counter with Aníbal Sánchez, who nearly threw a no-hitter against the Cardinals in his last start in Game 1 of the NLCS.

It’s going to be a long road back for the Astros, who have already spent a bullet each from Cole and Verlander. Given everything else surrounding the team, it’s looking like a monumental ask at the moment.

New bill to build Athletics stadium on Las Vegas Strip caps Nevada’s cost at $380 million

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CARSON CITY, Nev. — A bill introduced in the Nevada Legislature would give the Oakland Athletics up to $380 million for a potential 30,000 seat, $1.5 billion retractable roof stadium on the Las Vegas Strip.

The bulk of the public funding would come from $180 million in transferable tax credits from the state and $120 million in county bonds, which can vary based on interest rate returns. Clark County also would contribute $25 million in credit toward infrastructure costs.

The A’s have been looking for a home to replace Oakland Coliseum, where the team has played since arriving from Kansas City for the 1968 season. The team had sought to build a stadium in Fremont, San Jose and finally the Oakland waterfront, all ideas that never materialized.

The plan in the Nevada Legislature won’t directly raise taxes. It can move forward with a simply majority vote in the Senate and Assembly. Lawmakers have a little more than a week to consider the proposal before they adjourn June 5, though it could be voted on if a special session is called.

The Athletics have agreed to use land on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, where the Tropicana Las Vegas casino resort sits. Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao has said he is disappointed the team didn’t negotiate with Oakland as a “true partner.”

Las Vegas would be the fourth home for a franchise that started as the Philadelphia Athletics from 1901-54. It would become the smallest TV market in Major League Baseball and the smallest market to be home to three major professional sports franchises.

The team and Las Vegas are hoping to draw from the nearly 40 million tourists who visit the city annually to help fill the stadium. The 30,000-seat capacity would make it the smallest MLB stadium.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said a vote on the Oakland Athletics’ prospective move to Las Vegas could take place when owners meet June 13-15 in New York.

The plan faces an uncertain path in the Nevada Legislature. Democratic leaders said financing bills, including for the A’s, may not go through if Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo vetoes the five budget bills, which he has threatened to do as many of his priorities have stalled or faded in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Under the bill, the Clark County Board of Commissioners would create a homelessness prevention and assistance fund along the stadium’s area in coordination with MLB and the Nevada Resort Association. There, they would manage funds for services, including emergency rental and utility assistance, job training, rehabilitation and counseling services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The lease agreement with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority would be up for renewal after 30 years.

Nevada’s legislative leadership is reviewing the proposal, Democratic state Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager said in a statement.

“No commitment will be made until we have both evaluated the official proposal and received input from interested parties, including impacted community members,” Yeager said.