With Red Sox Fading, Don’t Fall for the Trap
The defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox are not off to a great start in 2019. Through 29 games, the Red Sox are just 13-17 and are now seven games behind the first-place Tampa Bay Rays. A year ago, Boston put up runs by the dozens. At the end of April, their run differential of minus-27 is surpassed only by the worst franchise in baseball – the Baltimore Orioles, who have been outscored by a total of 64 runs.
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Because of their start, Boston’s opening odds of +700 have adjusted to +950. I know what you’re thinking. Don’t go there. The Red Sox adjusted odds make them a nice value, but don’t do it. Here’s why.
History of World Part I
You simply don’t take the Red Sox to win the World Series at +950 because no MLB team has repeated as champion since the New York Yankees won three straight – 1998, 1999, and 2000. In fact, only once in the last decade has a league champion even made it back to the World Series. That was the Philadelphia Phillies, winners of the 2008 title, who returned to the World Series in 2009 but were beaten in six games by the New York Yankees.
Only four other World Series champions managed to make it back to their respective league pennant series. The most recent, of course, was the Houston Astros. Houston won the 2017 World Series, won over 100 games and captured the AL West for a second straight season before succumbing to the Red Sox in the ALCS last year.
Since the baseball dynasties of the 1970s – the Oakland A’s, Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine, and the Yankees once again – there have been only two teams that have won repeat titles. The aforementioned Yankees of 1998 through 2000 and the Toronto Blue Jays who won back-to-back titles in 1992 and 1993.
Repeat World Series champions just don’t happen. And history says so.
History of the World Part II
Unlike the major motion picture of the 1980s, there is a Part II to this History of the World. It was not that long ago that the Boston Red Sox won their eighth World Series. That was the one they took from St. Louis back in 2013.
The Red Sox won the AL East with a 97-65 record and wound up beating the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS. Led by David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury, and the pitching of Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Jake Peavy; Boston beat the St. Louis Cardinals in six games to win it all.
The next season, the Red Sox finished dead last in the AL East. Yep, Boston went 71-91 and finished fifth out of five teams in the division becoming the second team (1998 Florida Marlins) in MLB history to win a World Series one season and finish last in their division the following one.
History is working against Boston. They aren’t going to repeat. But their roster… no! They might have the returning AL MVP (Mookie Betts), the fourth-place finisher in the race (J.D. Martinez), and a bunch of others with star power. Even so, don’t fall for the value trap. While Boston at +950 looks great on paper, the Red Sox will not win the 2019 World Series.
Now, Milwaukee at +950…that’s another story!
A Better Bet
The Houston Astros (+350) are still the favorite to win it all this year. Through 30 games, Houston is a rather unimpressive 18-12. They have split their last 10 games going 5-5. Jose Altuve (9 HR), George Springer (24 RBI), and Josh Reddick (.352) are among the AL leaders, but the Astros are far from dominant. That could change. It’s a long season.
The more interesting value, aside from the Brewers, comes from Tampa Bay. The Rays, who are 19-9 and lead the AL East, have seen their odds to win the World Series shift to +1150. Tampa Bay does not have a lineup of stars like the Red Sox or Astros, but what they do have is some seriously good pitching.
Three of the Rays pitchers are still unbeaten. Tyler Glasnow is on fire. The big (6-foot-8) right-hander has won all but one of his starts and is 5-0 with a 1.75 ERA. Charlie Morton, who came to Tampa Bay from Houston in the offseason, is 3-0 with a 2.76 ERA. Yonny Chirinos, primarily a reliever, has started three games and is now 4-0 on the season.
If you noticed, that list didn’t even include last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell. The left-hander is 2-2 with a 2.54 ERA. He missed one start with a fractured toe but is back in the starting rotation.
Late in the season when it matters, great pitching can win championships. That is why the Rays are a great value pick at +1150. Here’s how the rest of the World Series race shapes up as the season heads into May.
2019 World Series Odds to Win
Houston Astros +350
Los Angeles Dodgers +500
New York Yankees +700
Philadelphia Phillies +850
Boston Red Sox +950
Milwaukee Brewers +950
Cleveland Indians +1150
Tampa Bay Rays +1150
Chicago Cubs +1350
New York Mets +1350
St. Louis Cardinals +1350
Atlanta Braves +1750
Seattle Mariners +1750
Washington Nationals +1900
Minnesota Twins +2000
San Diego Padres +2800
Pittsburgh Pirates +2800
Colorado Rockies +3500
Oakland Athletics +4500
Arizona Diamondbacks +4500
Los Angeles Angels +7000
Texas Rangers +7000
Toronto Blue Jays +8500
Detroit Tigers +12500
Chicago White Sox +20000
Cincinnati Reds +20000
San Francisco Giants +20000
Miami Marlins +30000
Baltimore Orioles +30000
Kansas City Royals +30000
Article by Rick Bouch
Posted May 1st, 2019
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