Here are the latest odds for the remaining teams in Major League Baseball. I have one key question for each team heading into the playoffs.
Boston 15/4 – The Red Sox will await the winner of the Cleveland Wild-Card game from Wednesday evening and in doing so will have plenty of rest. The BoSox surprised many this year with their impressive season. Perhaps it was an indicator of just how badly Bobby Valentine screwed this team up.
The big question I have for Boston is can the starters hold up in these series and get the game to their top notch closer?
LA Dodgers 17/4 – There really isn’t much to say regarding the Dodgers. The pitching should be able to carry the Dodgers a long way in the playoffs but what about the loss of outfielder Matt Kemp? Personally, I don’t think they’ll miss him all that much. With that said…
The big question I have for LA is can Yasiel Puig be a performer in the playoffs?
Detroit 5/1 – The Tigers limped into the playoffs having been swept by the Miami Marlins. Granted they didn’t exactly put their best line-up on the field each day, but going into the playoffs stumbling seems to work for this team. Miguel Cabrera had another fantastic season but he isn’t 100% and needs to get his bat going again.
The big question I have for the Tigers is what can they expect from Justin Verlander?
St. Louis 6/1 – The Cardinals will be facing a very familiar foe in the division series whether it’s Pittsburgh or Cincinnati. St. Louis struggled against the Pirates this season so I’m guessing they’d prefer the Reds. The Cards are in the top five in runs scored and in team batting average so if they can get solid starting pitching they should be OK.
The big question I have for the Cardinals is will the pitching match the offense?
Atlanta 7/1 – The Braves stumbled to the finish line but survived because of a huge lead they built all season. The outfield could be an issue because B.J. Upton is batting well below the Mendoza line so I believe he’ll be sitting. We know the Braves have a tremendous closer in Craig Kimbrel, but can the starters get to him without having to go through some shaky middle relievers?
The big question I have for the Braves is who is your ace?
Oakland 15/2 – Another magical season out in Oakland has landed the A’s home-field advantage for their first-round series with Detroit. The A’s most recent series against the Tigers saw them absolutely tear them up in Comerica Park so going east should not bother them a bit. The Athletics have always had good pitching but now the seem to have some hitting too.
The big question I have for the A’s is simple; can they finally get ‘moneyball’ to the World Series?
Cleveland 14/1 – The Indians get to sit back and watch the Rangers and Rays battle it out for the chance to fly into Cleveland for the AL Wild-Card game. Cleveland has won 10 straight games and is easily the hottest team going into the playoffs. Cleveland is going with rookie pitcher Danny Salazar who has just ten starts under his belt. He does however have an impressive 11.25 strikeouts per nine innings rank to his credit.
The big question I have to the Indians is can they stay hot? Going from the regular season to the playoffs is not the easy transition many make it out to be.
Cincinnati 18/1 – The Reds are limping into the NL Wild-Card game with Brandon Phillips having struck himself with a foul ball against Pittsburgh this weekend. The all-start second baseman will be less than 100% at game time tonight but should play. Mat Latos was expected to be the starter tonight but has a bone chip in his elbow. Johnny Cueto will get the ball instead.
The big question for the Reds is can they overcome the injury to a key player and handle the raucous crowd that will be on hand tonight?
Pittsburgh 18/1 – What can you say about this team? For the last two years they teased their fans with strong first-halves only to let them back down to Earth with slumping second-halves. There was no such slump this time around for the Buccos. They went into Cincinnati for the final three games of the season knowing they needed two of three to host the very same Reds tonight in PNC Park and they did just that and more sweeping the Red Legs.
The big question I have for the Pirates is can they get the big hit when they need it most?
Tampa Bay/Texas 25/1 – The winner of the 163rd regular season game will not have been decided until I after publish. The winner of the game will travel to Cleveland to play the Indians in the official AL Wild-Card game.