With the MLB season winding down, it’s time to investigate which teams to buy in on and which teams to sell your stock on before the playoffs begin. We’ll begin with the American League.
Odds after deadline: 50-1
Current odds: 10-1
The A’s have caught practically everyone by surprise, as they’re now breathing down the Yankees’ necks in the race for home field advantage in the Wild Card game. They’re 35-18 since the All-Star break, just after they added Jeurys Familia to boost their bullpen. Oddsmakers have had to make dramatic adjustments to their A’s offerings, but there are signs that this bubble is about to burst.
Losing front-line starter Sean Manaea (12-9, 3.59 ERA in 27 starts) to a shoulder injury was a devasting blow for a team that’s been getting by with journeymen rotation guys like Brett Anderson and Edwin Jackson since Kendall Graveman suffered a season-ending UCL tear in July, which required Tommy John surgery. Mike Fiers, of the career 4.01 ERA, might be the starter in a do-or-die game with the Yankees in October. Furthermore, the A’s lineup lacks stars and is just above league average in batting at .250. 10-1 is a significant underlay on Oakland.
Boston Red Sox
Odds after deadline: 3.25-1
Current odds: 4-1
The Red Sox show few signs of slowing down as they streak past the 100-win plateau. Their runaway success behind Rick Porcello, David Price and Eduardo Rodriguez has enabled Boston to rest Chris Sale for parts of the homestretch, saving his arm for the postseason. The Red Sox have the fifth-best bullpen ERA in the entire league, and they’re led by closer extraordinaire Craig Kimbrel.
Boston’s lineup is stacked from top-to-bottom, with Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez doing plenty of damage. With such a huge cushion in the division, eventual manager of the year Alex Cora will be able to get his best players extra rest before October. Look out Astros.
New York Yankees
Odds after deadline: 9-1
Current odds: 10-1
The Yankees have nosedived in the second half, as they are 9-11 in their last 20 games and 29-25 since the All-Star break. Aaron Judge’s presence in the lineup has been sorely missed, and Luis Severino is 4-5 with a 6.83 ERA in his last 11 starts, per the New York Post.
The Bombers have gone from “young and exciting” to “not ready for primetime” seemingly overnight. The offense is in the midst of a prolonged swoon, as Miguel Andujar’s and Gleyber Torres’ averages head south, and the rotation is slumping down the stretch too. That’s enabled the red-hot Oakland A’s to catch up. Bail, bail, bail.