Everyone knows the two favorites this year are the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers have Kershaw at the head of their rotation, and he’s the best pitcher in baseball. Their team ERA is 3.15, which is among the best. The Astros are scoring touchdowns worth of runs and have a team batting average of nearly .300. Their team slugging percentage is .500 … including pitchers in National League parks. Do you want to see a comparison in World Series odds? The 1927 Yankees hit 158 home runs in their season and scored 976 runs. The Astros are on a pace for 960 runs and 269 home runs.
There are, however, some teams that might make some noise down the stretch. How about a team that is two games over .500 but has been outscored by more than 60 runs? The Minnesota Twins are gutty, gritty, and do whatever they can to win. Their uniforms are always dirty from sliding, diving, and putting forth extra effort. They are finding ways to win when they need to win and have a good shot at winning the American League Central, particularly if they can pick up the pace at home. They are already 10 games over .500 on the road this season. This is a far cry from losing 109 games last season!
The Milwaukee Brewers are the Rodney Dangerfield of the National League. Only one team has hit more home runs: the slug-o-matic Houston Astros. Although their defense is suspect, the Brewers are doing the same things the Twins are doing to win. Domingo Santana, especially, has worked on his patience at the plate, raising both his batting average and on-base percentage 40 points in 2017.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are in an even less enviable position than the Brewers. While the Brewers get no respect, the Diamondbacks are hardly even noticed. Just check out their best player: Paul Goldschmidt. Who? Goldschmidt just hit .312 with 20 homers and a league-leading 73 runs scored. Guess what? He didn’t even start in the All-Star game even though he had a better on-base percentage than Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals, who did start. Zimmerman is a poor fielder, too, when compared to Goldschmidt. The Diamondbacks aren’t going to catch the Dodgers in the regular season, in all likelihood, but they have a terrific shot at the wild card and have Zack Greinke, Zack Godley, and Robbie Ray headlining the rotation. Anything can happen in a seven-game series too.
Is it likely to be the Astros and Dodgers in the World Series? Yes. It is not a foregone conclusion, however, and they will have to be on the lookout for good teams with great character who are gunning for them.