It can be fun to look at the teams who have come out of nowhere to put themselves into great position to win baseball’s top prize, but how about those clubs that had good odds but then saw them plummet? Let’s look at two of them who still have a realistic shot of getting into the playoffs and bucking their now-relatively poor World Series odds to win it all.
Of course, there’s nowhere to go but down for the franchise that famously ended its 108-year title drought last fall, and expectations were high heading into the 2017 campaign as World Series odds at that time were 3-1, the best in the majors. But Chicago then spent much of the season’s first four months not even leading its own division while being unable to move very far above the .500 mark. For those reasons, the team’s World Series odds are now 10-1, still tied for the sixth-best in the majors but more than three times what they used to be.
But perhaps the Cubs were just stuck in cruise control through the first part of the season before starting a six-game winning streak on July 14 with a 9-8 victory over the Orioles. At the time the streak started, they were 5-1/2 games back in the NL Central. After it ended, the deficit was cut to 1-1/2 games, and the Cubs tied for the top spot on July 23 for the first time since June 6 and have been in first just about every day since.
If the Cubs can secure the NL Central title, that would obviously ease their path to a repeat title, eliminating the coin toss of a wild card game.
Despite having not even made the playoffs since 2001, the Mariners entered the 2017 campaign at 25-1 to win the World Series. Part of the reasoning behind that was that Seattle has seemed on the verge of breaking through for a few years now. However, those odds have dropped to 40-1. Crazily, the team is actually right in the thick of the wild card race, but what is hurting the Mariners most as far as those odds go is that it is a really packed race. Heading into late August, eight teams are within 4 games for the second wild card.
Seattle’s campaign was looking really bad on May 2 when the Mariners lost to the Angels, 6-4 in 11 innings, to drop to 11-16 on the season. However, they did not quit and kept grinding, finally getting over the .500 mark at 38-37 with a 9-6 win over the Tigers on June 22. They have bounced back and forth around .500 ball ever since.
So, the question for Seattle is more if the team will even get into the playoffs than how far it might go if there.
The Windy City or the Emerald City?
Although the Mariners could definitely do some significant damage if they were to advance to the postseason, there’s too much of a question mark on whether or not they will get that opportunity. For that reason and that the Cubs obviously have plenty of postseason experience, Chicago would have to be the pick when deciding which of these two teams to get behind.