Now that the Orioles and Mets have had their hearts crushed and are cleaning out their lockers, we have an unobstructed view of which teams are most likely to be playing in the Fall Classic.
In the AL, fireworks could be going off in the ALDS. Apparently, there was some sort of incident earlier this season between the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays, which, apparently, stemmed from another happening when they met in the ALDS last season.
Not to worry, we have our best men looking into it, and we’ll report back with more immediately.
For now, have a look at our updated, bat-flippingly accurate World Series odds, and a Rougned Odor-sized handful of other props, including odds on: more walk-off home runs, managers, fan interference, fighting, a little Tim Tebow, and Zach Britton. Oops, we actually left that last one sitting in the bullpen.
MLB Post-Wild Card Playoff Preview
Odds to win the World Series
- Chicago Cubs: 11/4
- Boston Red Sox: 9/2
- Los Angeles Dodgers: 7/1
- Cleveland Indians: 9/1
- Texas Rangers: 10/1
- Washington Nationals: 10/1
- Toronto Blue Jays: 21/2
- San Francisco Giants: 14/1
Odds a team comes back from 0-3 to win a playoff series: 75/1
First of all, only three series per postseason are best-of-seven affairs. Second, only 32 series have seen a team fall behind 0-3 in a best-of-seven. Finally, only one team has come back to win after falling in an 0-3 hole: the 2004 Boston Red Sox.
I don’t want to completely rule out the possibility of the Cubs jumping on top of their NLCS foe (if they can get past Bumgarner in the DS), but I am content saying no one will be coming back from it.
Odds a pitcher throws a no-hitter in playoffs: 66/1
Don Larsen and Roy Halladay are the only two who have accomplished the feat in over 100 years of postseason baseball. In spite of guys like Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner, and Jake Arrieta taking the mound this October, it’s just too daunting of a task.
Odds a pitcher throws a perfect game in the playoffs: 700/1
Don Larsen’s no-hitter was a perfect game as well, and is the only one to ever be pitched in the playoffs. This happened back in 1956, though. It’s not going to happen. There have only been 23 perfect games in MLB history. Fewer than one-in-ten no hitters are perfect games.
Odds on the record for most home runs by a player in a single playoff game being broken: 19/1
Odds on the record for most home runs by a player in a single playoff series being broken: 12/1
Odds on the record for most home runs by a player in a single postseason being broken: 9/1
While the Blue Jays, Rangers, and Red Sox are all decorated with players who possess huge home run power, these three records are going to be very tough to top. It would take four home runs in a single game, seven in a single series, and nine in a single postseason to top those respective records.
Players like Edwin Encarnacion, Kris Bryant, David Ortiz, Josh Donaldson, Jay Bruce, and Bryce Harper offer the shortest odds to take down any of these three records.
Odds on the first second player to hit a walk-off home run in the playoffs
- David Ortiz, Red Sox: 9/2
- Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals: 7/1
- Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: 9/1
- Mike Napoli, Indians: 12/1
- Kris Bryant, Cubs: 14/1
- Field: 5/4
Not only does Ortiz sit third on the all-time list of walk-off hits, but he’s having one of the best years of his storied career. Having already announced he will be retiring at the conclusion of this season, it just seems like it has to happen.
Odds on the first player to hit a grand slam in the playoffs
- David Ortiz, Red Sox: 10/1
- Adrian Beltre, Rangers: 12/1
- Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays: 16/1
- Chase Utley, Dodgers: 22/1
- Field: 13/7
- No grand slams: 5/3
Ortiz has hit 11 career grand slams and is the leader amongst players who are participating in the 2016 postseason. We didn’t see a Grand Slam in the 2015 postseason, but the previous four years contained at least one.
Odds on the first manager to get ejected during the playoffs
- John Gibbons, Blue Jays: 5/4
- Jeff Banister, Rangers: 4/1
- John Farrell, Red Sox: 11/1
- Terry Francona, Indians: 11/1
- Joe Maddon, Cubs: 14/1
- Dave Roberts, Dodgers: 20/1
- Bruce Bochy, Giants: 20/1
- Dusty Baker, Nationals: 20/1
Is it a baseball game if John Gibbons doesn’t get ejected? Gibby may not be the only manager who gets a little hot in the ALDS, though. The matchup with the Blue Jays slides Banister way up this list.
Odds a playoff team fires its manager after the 2016 postseason: 12/1
If a manager is fired, odds it’s …
- John Gibbons, Blue Jays: 3/1
- Buck Showalter, Orioles: 7/2
- Jeff Banister, Rangers: 5/1
- Terry Collins, Mets: 7/1
- Field: 19/6
If Gibbons once again fails to manufacture some runs for his team, new team president Mark Shapiro may choose to go with one of “his guys”.
Buck Showalter is going to face a ton of scrutiny for not pitching Zach Britton in a do-or-die game, and it could cost him his job.
Jeff Banister’s Rangers allowed the Jays to come back from 0-2 in the ALDS last year, and now will have to deal with them again. If the Rangers, the top-seed in the AL, find themselves heading home early, Banister could be the scapegoat.
However, these managers should all be back for another kick at the can next season.
Odds to be the first to aggressively flip their bat after a home run during the playoffs
- Rougned Odor, Rangers: 4/1
- Adrian Beltre, Rangers: 9/2
- Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: 5/1
- Bryce Harper, Nationals: 7/1
- David Ortiz, Red Sox: 9/1
- Field: 7/2
I think you see what I’m getting at: if the Rangers hit a home run, they’re going to flip that bat into the seats. I expect Bautista to let Texas take the first swing, but if he gets pitched inside or thrown at, he won’t hold back if he knocks one out of the park.
Odds to be the first to commit an aggressive take-out slide during playoffs
- Rougned Odor, Rangers: 5/1
- Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: 6/1
- Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays: 7/1
- Kevin Pillar, Blue Jays: 7/1
- Chase Utley, Dodgers: 9/1
- Field: 2/1
The odds of this actually happening are slim, as the new slide rule (the Chase Utley rule) is pretty strict. No team wants to hand their opponent a double-play. But, if it does happen, you can bet it’ll be in a certain ALDS matchup.
Odds there is a bench clearing brawl during the playoffs: 1/1
If there is a brawl, odds it’s between …
- Toronto Blue Jays vs. Texas Rangers: 3/7
- Field: 7/3
Odds a fight breaks out in the stands during the playoffs: 5/3
If there is a fight, odds it’s between …
- Toronto and Texas fans: 1/3
- Toronto and Boston fans: 7/1
- Los Angeles and San Francisco fans: 19/1
- Field: 12/1
The Jays and Rangers really don’t like each other, and with the Toronto fans travelling so well, fisticuffs aren’t out of the question … in the stands or on the field.
Odds a fan interferes with a play during the playoffs: 2/5
If there is a fan interference call, odds it’s at …
- Rogers Centre, Toronto: 2/3
- Fenway Park, Boston: 9/1
- Globe Life Park, Texas: 9/1
- Wrigley Field, Chicago: 100/1
- Field: 4/1
Fan interference is going to happen. Whether it has Jeffrey Maier or Steve Bartman-type consequences is far less likely, though.
Those crazy Canadians were damn close to interfering with a play in the Wild Card game when a fan (likely an inebriated one) decided to throw his beer at Hyun Soo Kim as the outfielder was attempting to catch a fly ball in the outfield. “See, if those Canadians grew up playing baseball, that beer can would’ve connected” – Harold Reynolds. (May not be a direct quote.)
You can bet that no Cubs fan is ever going to touch a ball at a playoff game again.
Odds a proposal occurs during the playoffs: 3/2
Let’s just hope the box actually has a ring in it this time.
Odds A-Rod plays for a 2016 playoff team next season: 25/1
There is no way any NL team is allowing A-Rod to play the field for them, and his bat isn’t good enough to warrant a bench spot. As for the AL teams, there are much better DH options than a non-juiced Rodriguez.
I’m not closing the door on his return, just slamming it shut on his productivity.
Odds Tim Tebow plays for a 2016 playoff team next season: 99/1
Tebow hit .286 with a home run and two walks for the Mets’ instructional league team, and will now head to the Fall League: a place for the game’s top prospects.
The pitching he will face in the Fall League will be far superior to what he has seen thus far. This will provide Tebow, and all interested parties, with a great measuring stick to find out just how likely this crazy baseball dream is.
Being in the Mets organization – a big-time contender next season – shortens these odds a little.
Photo credit: Keith Allison (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/].