The New York Yankees, the Houston Astros, and the Los Angeles Dodgers opened as one, two, and three on the odds boards to win the World Series in 20202.
But since then, the Houston Astros have fallen off quite a bit and the once +600 LA Dodgers have moved into second place on the list, as low as +305 at some shops. Does this mean the Astros are doomed to fall out in the playoffs this season? Who will be the better team this year, the Yanks or the Stros?
Let’s dig in.
The Astros have been in hot water all off-season. It’s come out quite clearly that they were stealing signals and if you haven’t heard, they were fined a cool five million dollars, lost a couple of first-round picks and both the Manager and GM for the season. But how much will this affect the Stros in the here and now?
Unfortunately for purists who want to see justice … not a whole lot. Sure, the draft picks could hurt them down the road, but as far as instant karma is concerned … $5 million is a drop in the bucket and A.J. Hinch and Jeff Luhnow isn’t a huge deal because Dusty Baker is stepping into the dugout.
One interesting thing is that Rob Manfred decided not to punish any of the players involved. This leads us to a side thought and the amazing amount of Astros that just might get beaned this season. The number is set at 80.5. That’s roughly an Astro getting hit with 5-and-a-quarter-ounces of vigilante justice every other game. This could actually help the Astros. It will put runners on base and could get pitchers ejected. But, in all honesty, they deserve to get beaned in the kidneys with fastballs. Baseball has a lot of unwritten rules … like while batting, you don’t try to rubber-neck and get a look between the catcher’s legs to see his communication with the pitcher … it’s just bad form. Now, having cameras steal signs so that batters could be informed of the upcoming pitch … that’s just wrong.
I have to think that the Astros, won’t be affected mentally or emotionally too much by this … I would like to think they would go into a slump, carrying the burden of cheating their peers. But, that’s not the case. They went on merrily through the 2019 season after cheating their way through the 2017 and 2018 seasons. That said, it will give opposing teams a LOT of rivalry-like spunk against Houston And each time a Houston batter gets up to the plate … they should be scared. Especially if you are Correa, Altuve, Bregman or Springer.
Meanwhile, over in New York. Aaron Judge sits at the top of the order for most home runs belted in 2020. And the Yankees bolstered their already ridiculously overpowered pitching staff with Gerrit Cole.
I do feel like the Yanks made two mistakes this offseason, though. They let Didi Gregarius move over to the Phillies and they let Dellin Betances hit the bricks and walk across town to the Mets … on just a one-year deal. Still, the Yankees are deep this season and have a legitimate chance at snagging their 28th championship and the odds are on the Yanks winning at +379.
If I had to guess … I’d say there is going to be a lot of bad juju around the Astros this season and it won’t be in the cards for them to make it through the playoffs. Plus, the A’s are a really good team and who knows, if enough Astros get smacked in the back with the ball, maybe the Athletics will steal the division from them.
Sure the Astros will probably have a 90-win season but will they be better than the Yankees? Doubtful. With the lineup and their pitching staff, the Yankees should have another 100-win year. They will win the AL East, and most likely the entire AL.
In collaboration with Tauro Sports.