Updated World Series Odds Through the First Quarter of the MLB Season

Doug MeadCorrespondent IMay 16, 2013

Updated World Series Odds Through the First Quarter of the MLB Season

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    Before a single game had even been played in the 2013 MLB season, I predicted each team's odds of making it to the World Series.

    I'm fairly safe in assuming the odds have changed quite a bit since then.

    Now at the end of the first quarter of the season, it's become fairly obvious that some of the teams thought to have been serious contenders before a ball was even thrown are now pretenders.

    Others who were literally given no chance at all are complete surprises.

    Here are updated World Series odds for each MLB team. Odds given to them before the season started will also be displayed.

Houston Astros

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 200-1

    World Series Odds Now: 500-1

    In all honesty, we could give the Houston Astros odds of 5,000-1 and no one would take a chance.

    At 11-30, the Astros are headed towards history, and not of a good kind. They threaten to overtake the 1962 New York Mets for the worst modern-day team.

    With a payroll less than that of Alex Rodriguez and a starting rotation that has a 5.76 ERA, the Astros will be watching the World Series from home.

Miami Marlins

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 150-1

    World Series Odds Now: 250-1

    These odds are probably pretty kind as well.

    The Miami Marlins at 11-30 are only marginally better than the Houston Astros, and that's certainly not saying much.

    Things for the Marlins could get worse as well as the trade deadline nears. Any veterans on the team shouldn't be holding out hope that they'll be sticking around in South Florida.

Chicago White Sox

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 35-1

    World Series Odds Now: 75-1

    Here is what I said about the Chicago White Sox back in February:

    A solid starting rotation returns, and John Danks will look to return to form following labrum surgery last year.

    They will threaten to contend in the AL Central, but they still lack the firepower and the arms to match up with the Detroit Tigers in their division.

    The problem for the White Sox has been exactly what was written—a complete lack of firepower.

    They've scored the fewest runs in the American League, and Danks has yet to return from labrum surgery to help bolster the starting rotation. Gavin Floyd's season-ending Tommy John surgery hasn't helped either.

    They have two regulars (Adam Dunn, Jeff Keppinger) hitting below .200 and they're hitting just .222 with runners in scoring position.

    It could be a long year on the South Side.

New York Mets

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 85-1

    World Series Odds Now: 75-1

    New York Mets fans shouldn't get their hopes up just because their odds of winning the World Series slightly decreased.

    They're still a long shot at best.

    A great start to the season by starter Matt Harvey has indeed been encouraging. So too for the play of catcher John Buck, although he's cooled considerably lately, now hitting .233 with 10 home runs and 31 RBI.

    It says a lot for a team when they sign outfielder Rick Ankiel and start him the same night, especially considering Ankiel had struck out 35 times in 62 at-bats with the Houston Astros.

    The .227 team batting average hasn't helped. The bullpen's 4.91 ERA with only four saves hasn't been a plus, either.

San Diego Padres

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 80-1

    World Series Odds Now: 75-1

    The San Diego Padres are about where they were projected to end up—close to the bottom of the NL West.

    With an 18-21 record, the Padres haven't given any indication they're anywhere near being contenders, at least not this year.

    The major stumbling block for the Padres is their starting rotation. Their 4.85 ERA is second-to-last in the National League.

    It's safe to say that pulling in the fences at Petco Park hasn't done anything to help them thus far.

Chicago Cubs

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 100-1

    World Series Odds Now: 70-1

    At 17-23, the Chicago Cubs are already looking at a future that likely doesn't involve the postseason, never mind the World Series.

    But have some faith, Cubs fans—it's only the second year of the rebuild.

    There are some encouraging signs, however. They have a solid core infield with Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro. They're starting to build a farm system that had long been in disrepair. There is a planned $500 million restoration of Wrigley Field.

    It's not completely bleak on the North Side.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 55-1

    World Series Odds Now: 65-1

    The Milwaukee Brewers can put up some offense. The problem is on the other end.

    Back in February, I wrote about the issues with the Brewers' starting rotation:

    In addition, the starting rotation is largely unproven. While Marco Estrada, Mike Fiers and Wily Peralta all posted solid campaigns last season, the rotation beyond ace Yovani Gallardo is considered the team's weakest link.

    Those fears have come to fruition. Brewers starters pull up the rear in the National League with a 5.00 ERA. Even the typically reliable Gallardo has had his struggles, posting a 4.50 ERA in nine starts.

    Without reinforcements, the Brewers simply don't have the arms to keep up in the NL Central.

Los Angeles Angels

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 11-1

    World Series Odds Now: 60-1

    There simply aren't a lot of positives to write about for the Los Angeles Angels.

    The addition of Josh Hamilton during the offseason vaulted them up to the top in terms of World Series contenders. 

    But his early season slump, along with a shaky pitching staff, has them closer to last place than first in the AL West.

    Few teams have ever rebounded from such a poor start to qualify for the postseason. In fact, the Angels are three games worse than last year's team after 40 games.

    With Jered Weaver still on the shelf rehabbing from a fractured left elbow and Hamilton and Albert Pujols not back on track, it could be another year of too little, too late for the Angels.

Toronto Blue Jays

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 8-1

    World Series Odds Now: 55-1

    Make no mistake about it: just about everyone in the know had the Toronto Blue Jays penciled in as a top World Series contender prior to the beginning of the season.

    Through 41 games, you'll likely find no one that believes they're playing like contenders.

    At 17-24, the Blue Jays are camped in last place in the AL East, a full eight games behind the New York Yankees.

    Shortstop Jose Reyes is scheduled to be out until the All-Star break after severely spraining his ankle, although there have been indications that he could be back earlier.

    Mark Buehrle has been awful, and Josh Johnson is likely out until June.

    Even NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey is suffering through a poor start. There simply hasn't been much good news coming from the players acquired during the offseason by general manager Alex Anthopoulos.

    At this point, 55-1 odds could actually be a bit generous.

Seattle Mariners

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 65-1

    World Series Odds Now: 50-1

    With a record of 19-21 entering play on Thursday, the Mariners face the same issue they've been facing for the past four years—an anemic offense.

    It has been better, but only marginally. The Mariners were last in the American League in runs scored for four straight seasons. They've at least pulled themselves out of the cellar this season, but are still second to last in that department.

    With the Texas Rangers flying high right now in the AL West, the Mariners will be hard-pressed to compete for a postseason berth unless their offense finds a way to click on all cylinders.

Philadelphia Phillies

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 15-1

    World Series Odds Now: 50-1

    Perhaps the biggest surprise for the Philadelphia Phillies this season has been the sub-par performance of players expected to make large contributions.

    Starting pitcher Cole Hamels is now 1-6 with a 4.61 ERA after taking the loss on Wednesday afternoon to the Cleveland Indians.

    Roy Halladay started with an 8.65 ERA before being diagnosed with several shoulder issues that require surgery. Free-agent acquisition John Lannan also got off to a rocky start (6.14 ERA in three starts) before landing on the disabled list with a strained tendon in his left knee.

    Carlos Ruiz and Delmon Young have scuffled since returning to the lineup, and Michael Young is hitting .296, but only eight of his 40 hits have gone for extra bases.

    It's clearly a struggle for the Phillies right now, and they'll be challenged to even have a chance for a postseason berth at this point.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 13-1

    World Series Odds Now: 45-1

    The Los Angeles Dodgers get a bit of a boost with the return of Zack Greinke to the starting rotation on Wednesday.

    But nine others are on the disabled list.

    Josh Beckett, Mark Ellis, Ted Lilly, Hanley Ramirez, Scott Elbert, Stephen Fife, Shawn Tolleson, Chad Billingsley and Jerry Hairston are all hobbled right now.

    In addition, Matt Kemp is still nowhere near himself with just one home run on the season thus far.

    The team with the second-highest payroll in baseball is in trouble, and for a team that was built to win now, it's certainly not encouraging.

Minnesota Twins

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 90-1

    World Series Odds Now: 45-1

    Call me an optimist, but I like the Minnesota Twins a whole lot more now than I did in February.

    Here was what I wrote about the Twins three months ago:

    However, general manager Terry Ryan also provided Band-Aid help for his rotation in the form of Rich Harden, Mike Pelfrey and Kevin Correia. Harden has been dogged by shoulder injuries for much of his career, and Pelfrey is working his way back from Tommy John surgery.

    It's difficult to project anything better than a last-place finish in the AL Central for the Twins, much less a World Series berth.

    They're still a long shot, but their scrappy style of play has them just under .500 and only three games off the pace in the AL Central.

    Their pitching is still a major question. Vance Worley has a 7.15 ERA through eight starts and Pelfrey a 6.57 ERA in his eight outings. Harden isn't close to a return, but Correia has been a nice surprise with a 3.35 ERA in his eight appearances.

    Still, there are holes and questions. Brian Dozier has yet to show he can hit consistently at the major league level. Rookie Aaron Hicks had a great night on Tuesday but is still hitting just .143. Josh Willingham is hitting .205 and Ryan Doumit has struggled as well.

    While the Twins are playing better than expected, no one should have any delusions of grandeur in terms of their chances for a postseason berth.

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 50-1

    World Series Odds Now: 40-1

    At 23-17 after play on Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Pirates are again at least threatening to end their long-standing franchise losing streak.

    With a couple of lucky breaks and shrewd trade-deadline decisions, they could threaten to do a whole lot more.

    The Pirates have gotten solid pitching throughout the first quarter thus far, backed by A.J. Burnett, Jeff Locke and Wandy Rodriguez in the rotation and Jason Grilli's tremendous effort as closer.

    An offense that was impotent to start the season has been much better of late. They could continue to improve if Andrew McCutchen starts heating up anytime soon.

    The Pirates can't be counted out of anything at this point. But the big test will come in the second half, which has been their downfall the past two seasons.

Colorado Rockies

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 125-1

    World Series Odds Now: 40-1

    Raise your hand if you thought the Colorado Rockies would be in the thick of the chase in the NL West at any point this season.

    Anyone?

    I certainly didn't, and I explained why back in February:

    The Colorado Rockies feature an offense that has the potential to score runs in 2013.

    However, their pitching staff will be hard-pressed to prevent runs once again.

    The Rockies at least abandoned the idea of a four-man rotation, moving back to a conventional five-man rotation this season. But with largely the same personnel that failed them last year, the Rockies are destined for the cellar in the NL West.

    Well, I was at least partly correct—the Rockies have scored runs, currently leading the National League.

    But their pitching has been considerably better. In fact, they were in the top half of the NL with a 3.72 team ERA after play on Wednesday.

    That's been the difference, and if their rotation can continue their improvement, the Rockies could well be the surprise team in the majors this season.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 45-1

    World Series Odds Now: 40-1

    With their win over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday, the Arizona Diamondbacks climbed to within a half-game of the San Francisco Giants in the NL West.

    With injuries early in the season, it looked like the Diamondbacks might have been facing an uphill climb. Cody Ross and Adam Eaton were out to start the season and Aaron Hill was felled just two weeks in with a strained left wrist.

    Left fielder Jason Kubel went down with a quadriceps injury, and now they've lost closer J.J. Putz with a strained right elbow as well.

    But this is obviously a feisty bunch—they just took two of three from the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves and their pitching staff has posted a 3.50 ERA, keeping them in games the vast majority of the time.

    Once the Diamondbacks get Hill and Eaton back, they'll have an offense with tremendous potential. If the pitching staff continues to be stingy, it's going to be an exciting summer in the desert.

Kansas City Royals

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 40-1

    World Series Odds Now: 35-1

    Kansas City Royals owner David Glass followed through on his promise to spend for starting pitching, and the results thus far have been positive.

    James Shields, Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie all have ERAs under 3.00. The offense has been devoid of power with just 26 home runs, but they've made up for it by hitting .300 with runners in scoring position.

    The Royals are a scary team. If they can get better performances from the back end of their rotation, they'll be a force to contend with in the AL Central.

Tampa Bay Rays

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 25-1

    World Series Odds Now: 35-1

    I actually made these odds minutes before Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price was lifted from his start against the Boston Red Sox in the third inning.

    After giving up a single to David Ortiz, Price could be seen shaking his left arm. He was quickly attended to and pulled from the game.

    ESPN's Tim Kurkjian, reporting on site (h/t Marc Topkin), said that Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey told him it was a triceps injury.

    It couldn't have been good when Price didn't even attempt to throw a warmup pitch.

    Price had been struggling, entering the game with a 1-3 record and 4.78 ERA in eight starts. His velocity had taken a dip as well.

    Certainly not a good sign for Tampa Bay.

    But this is a resilient bunch. Despite Price's slow start, the Rays were 20-19 after losing to the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday.

Oakland Athletics

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 22-1

    World Series Odds Now: 35-1

    After a solid 12-4 start, the Oakland Athletics have lost 10 of their last 14 games to fall to 20-22.

    The young starting rotation that was so impressive last year has been somewhat of a disappointment thus far in 2013. Oakland starters have posted a 5.03 ERA through the first quarter.

    That kind of effort simply won't serve them well throughout an entire season.

Boston Red Sox

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 35-1

    World Series Odds Now: 30-1

    The Boston Red Sox ended the first quarter with a 23-17 record, certainly a nice surprise considering the woes of last season.

    The two men needed to fuel the Red Sox resurgence this season—John Lester and Clay Buchholz—have done just that. They are now a combined 12-0 with a 2.21 ERA.

    Shane Victorino has been a pleasant surprise in right field and Mike Napoli has delivered seven home runs with 34 RBI.

    It's still a tough road ahead for the Red Sox with the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees ahead of them in the AL East. The Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays likely won't go quietly, either.

Cleveland Indians

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 60-1

    World Series Odds Now: 30-1

    There's a lot to like right now for the Cleveland Indians.

    With their win on Wednesday, the Indians climbed to 22-17, trailing the Detroit Tigers by just a half-game in the AL Central.

    According to Richard Justice of MLB.com, it's their starters that are leading the current charge:

     

    Indians have won 14 of 18 thanks to a rotation that has gone 12-4 w/ 3.17 ERA. Tribe starters have held opponents to 3 runs or less 15 times

    — Richard Justice (@richardjustice) May 16, 2013

    It was the rotation that was thought to be the weak link for Cleveland this season. It's that type of effort that the Indians will need in order to keep pace in the AL Central.

Baltimore Orioles

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 30-1

    World Series Odds Now: 25-1

    The Baltimore Orioles suffered a mini-sweep at the hands of the San Diego Padres, losing a two-game series to drop to 23-17 for the season.

    The O's have held their own thus far, due in large part to an outstanding bullpen.

    A definite asset last year, the relief corps is proving once again to be the anchor unit for Baltimore once again. Their 2.74 ERA is second in the American League.

    The offense has been solid as well, ranking third in the AL in runs scored. Manager Buck Showalter may have some issues with his starting rotation, but his bullpen and offense thus far have more than pulled their weight.

Cincinnati Reds

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 14-1

    World Series Odds Now: 20-1

    The Cincinnati Reds seem to be digging in for the long haul in the battle for supremacy in the NL Central.

    Their current five-game winning streak has them just 2.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals. One of their biggest acquisitions of the offseason, Shin-Soo Choo, is hitting .322 with nine home runs and 19 RBI. His production at the top of the batting order has certainly been a welcome change.

    Tony Cingrani has filled in admirably in Johnny Cueto's absence, posting a 2-0 record and 2.89 ERA in his five starts. The team's overall 3.54 ERA has put them in good stead as well.

New York Yankees

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 18-1

    World Series Odds Now: 20-1

    The New York Yankees got spanked by the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday, but it doesn't in any way dampen the enthusiasm for a stellar first quarter despite facing obvious obstacles.

    The Yankees played the entire first quarter of the season without Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson. They had unsung players like Jayson Nix and Chris Nelson manning third base. They lost Kevin Youkilis, Eduardo Nunez and Francisco Cervelli during the first quarter as well.

    And yet they're leading the American League East.

    Granderson has made his return, and Teixeira could be back by the end of the month. Their returns will only serve to make the Yankees stronger in the long run.

Detroit Tigers

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 11-1

    World Series Odds Now: 20-1

    At 22-16, the Detroit Tigers hold a slim lead over the Cleveland Indians in the American League Central.

    With the exception of Rick Porcello, the starting rotation has largely delivered. So too has Torii Hunter in his first year with the team, hitting .325 and providing a nice spark in the second spot of the batting order.

    Closer Jose Valverde has been excellent in his return with a 1.29 ERA and three saves in seven appearances.

    The Tigers are well-positioned—they were 18-20 at this point last season.

Washington Nationals

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 9-1

    World Series Odds Now: 18-1

    The Washington Nationals survived the first quarter.

    That's the best way to describe their 21-19 record, considering several factors.

    They endured a trip to the disabled list by Ryan Zimmerman. They endured a horrific start by first baseman Adam LaRoche. They endured in spite of Stephen Strasburg's 1-5 start.

    They also took a collective deep breath when Bryce Harper didn't kill himself hitting the right-field wall at Dodger Stadium.

    If they can get through all that and persevere with a winning record, the future looks bright.

San Francisco Giants

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 10-1

    World Series Odds Now: 15-1

    The San Francisco Giants opened the defense of their World Series title by posting a 23-17 record in the first quarter. Certainly not a bad start, but there some chinks in the armor.

    Starter Ryan Vogelsong has been flat-out awful, posting a 1-4 record and 8.06 ERA. After giving up eight runs—three earned—to the Toronto Blue Jays in just two innings on Wednesday night, manager Bruce Bochy wouldn't guarantee that Vogelsong would make his next start.

    According to Andrew Baggerly of CSNBayArea.com:

     

    Bochy not ready to say one way or the other who will start Monday on Vogelsong's day. Will be discussed on flight.

    — Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) May 16, 2013

    Matt Cain hasn't been his usual self, either. Cain posted a 2-2 record and 5.04 ERA, although he has won his last two starts and has looked much more in sync.

    Fortunately, the offense has been stellar, tied for third in the National League in runs scored. If Cain continues to work through his issues and Vogelsong can somehow find what's worked for him in the past two seasons, the Giants could well be in a solid position to hang onto that World Series trophy.

Atlanta Braves

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 12-1

    World Series Odds Now: 14-1

    The Atlanta Braves have scuffled since starting the season by winning 12 of their first 13 games.

    They've gone just 10-17 since, and their offense has sputtered. Hitting just .237 with runners in scoring position hasn't helped.

    Center fielder B.J. Upton is mired in a miserable slump, hitting just .145 with three home runs.

    The Braves are still clinging to the NL East lead, but just barely over the Washington Nationals. They've been fortunate in that the division simply isn't strong this year, but at their current pace, they'll be going nowhere in a hurry.

    I'm still of the belief that this is a team that's just too good to be kept down for too long. Now that Brian McCann is back and healthy, Evan Gattis can be used in various ways off the bench. The rotation for the most part has held its own, as has the bullpen.

    A more consistent offensive attack and better hitting in the clutch is going to be needed by the Braves.

Texas Rangers

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 20-1

    World Series Odds Now: 12-1

    The Texas Rangers were thought to have a starting rotation that was weakened over last year's crop. They were also supposed to suffering from the loss of Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Michael Young.

    They're clearly not suffering from any of that.

    At 26-14, the Rangers have the second-best record in all of baseball. They also have a pitching staff that's posted a 3.48 ERA, good for fourth in the American League. Yu Darvish has pitched like an ace, and they've gotten solid contributions from both Nick Tepesch and Justin Grimm at the back end of the rotation as well.

    Their 52 home runs lead the AL and their .267 average is second. The Rangers are clicking on all cylinders right now, and it's hard not to look at them as a serious World Series contender.

St. Louis Cardinals

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    World Series Odds Before Spring Training: 25-1

    World Series Odds Now: 9-1

    I clearly underestimated the St. Louis Cardinals before the season started.

    I'm guessing I'm not the only one who did, either.

    At 26-13, the Cardinals are the best team in baseball. Their starting rotation has been simply outstanding, posting a 2.38 ERA. Their bullpen has been stabilized by the terrific performance of Edward Mujica, who now has 11 saves with a 1.69 ERA.

    With Shelby Miller's 5.2 scoreless innings on Wednesday, he's now tied with Clayton Kershaw with a 1.40 ERA, best in the majors.

    The offense hasn't been too shabby, either. They're ranked third in the National League in runs scored.

    Right now everything is clicking for the Cardinals. Barring injury, they are clearly the team to beat in the National League.

     

    Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.

    Feel free to talk baseball with Doug anytime on Twitter.