Party like its 1906: Can either Chicago team make a run in the MLB Playoffs?
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When the Major League Baseball regular season ended Sunday, the new-look postseason bracket finally took shape.
And guess what? Chicago has two teams in the playoffs.
There are many fans (and bettors, if you had the White Sox to win the AL Central) that were critical of both teams’ performances down the stretch of the 60-game regular season. The White Sox fell apart in the final two weeks of the campaign, losing seven of eight to end it and nine of 12, which ended up dropping them from a potential second seed all the way down to seventh in the eight-team bracket. Instead of playing a round at home, Chicago (A) has to go on the road to face the Oakland As in a best-of-three series starting Tuesday.
The Cubs looked like the best team in the league to start the season, going 13-3 out of the gate, and then cruising to a NL Central title by four games over the Cardinals. I say cruising, literally, because after that 16-game stretch to start 2020, Chicago went 21-23 over its next 44 games. The Cubbies played well enough, though, to get the third seed, and are going to get the Miami Marlins in the NLWC round at home; the only bad news is, every time the Marlins have made the postseason, they went on to win both the pennant and the World Series (1997, 2003).
Fun fact (unless you are a fan of the Cubs): the Marlins are currently the only team in the four major sports to have never lost a playoff series.
Chicago (N) has also seen its share of troubles this season, especially at the plate.
But at this point, with everything that has happened so far in 2020, would a run by either, or both, or these teams to the World Series be so out there?
The White Sox are currently priced at odds of around +700 to win the AL Pennant, which is currently fifth best among the teams. Two of the teams ahead of them are the New York Yankees (+300 odds at Pointsbet and other Iowa betting apps) and the Tampa Bay Rays (+320), who are on the other side of the bracket. Chicago gets the As, who come into the postseason with a struggling bullpen, in the ALWC, and either the under .500 Astros (29-31) or the third-seeded Minnesota Twins in the next round, if they can advance. Chicago went 5-5 against the Twins in the regular season, and would have to think it could beat Minnesota in a best-of-five.
Up until two weeks ago, I would have picked the White Sox as my second favorite in the AL, behind the Rays. While the slump happened, it is old news now: Chicago is in the playoffs, and can make a deep run.
As for the Cubs, they will be on the opposite side of the bracket from the Yankees and Rays, much like the Sox. Do you fear the Marlins, Braves, or Reds? In all honesty, the team I might be most wary of there is the seventh-seeded Reds.
Best-of-three and best-of-five baseball is random. Teams can find their groove and make a deep run to the title, a la the Washington Nationals in 2019. They were losing the Wild Card Game late to the Brewers, the NLDS to the Dodgers, and the World Series to the Astros.
Personally, I think the Dodgers and Rays will win their respective pennants, with maybe the Padres as a contender too (that potential NLDS matchup between LA and San Diego could be epic, if they both win). But if I was looking for an underdog bet in the AL, I would take the White Sox at +700.
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