Baseball : MLB 2018 season preview
Astros win their first World Series
Four years after losing a club record 111 games, the Houston Astros have won their first World Series with a 5-1 victory over Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7. The victory ends a rebuilding process that began after the Astros lost 106 games in 2011.
Using analytics developed by a former NASA researcher, the Astros nurtured their own talent while losing 310 games over the next three seasons. But in 2015, the Astros compiled a winning record for the first time in seven years and made the playoffs for the first time in a decade. In 2017, Houston won 42 of their first 58 games and finished with the American League's second-best record.
|MLB 2017 Playoffs|
|LA Dodg. - Houston||3 : 4|
|LA Dodg. - Ch. Cubs||4 : 1|
|Houston - NY Yank.||4 : 3|
|Cleveland - NY Yank.||2 : 3|
|Houston - Boston||3 : 1|
|LA Dodg. - Arizona||3 : 0|
|Washing. - Ch. Cubs||2 : 3|
MLB 2018 key dates
The 2018 season starts on March 29 and will end on September 30. The Postseason will begin on October 2. The All-Star Game will be held on July 17 at Nationals Park, the home of the Washington Nationals.
- March 29 - Opening day
- July 17 - All Star Game at Nationals Park in Washington
- September 30 - Final day of the 2018 regular season
- October 2 - Postseason begin
Odds by bookmakers
These are odds to win 2017 MLB World Series Championship published by online bookmakers before the start of the season:
|Los Angeles Dodgers||7||Seattle Mariners||34|
|New York Yankees||7||Minnesota Twins||41|
|Houston Astros||7.5||Texas Rangers||51|
|Chicago Cubs||9||Kansas City Royals||67|
|Cleveland Indians||9||Tampa Bay Rays||67|
|Washington Nationals||11||Baltimore Orioles||67|
|Boston Red Sox||13||Atlanta Braves||81|
|St. Louis Cardinals||19||Pittsburgh Pirates||81|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||21||Chicago White Sox||126|
|Los Angeles Angels||21||Philadelphia Phillies||126|
|Toronto Blue Jays||26||Detroit Tigers||151|
|San Francisco Giants||29||Oakland Athletics||151|
|Milwaukee Brewers||29||San Diego Padres||201|
|Colorado Rockies||34||Miami Marlins||201|
|New York Mets||34||Cincinnati Reds||201|
The Los Angeles Dodgers finished the 2017 season with 104 wins, one win shy of matching the club record set in 1953 by the Brooklyn Dodgers. It was the year everything appeared to finally click for a team that had made the playoffs every season dating back to 2013. Alas, the year ended in more heartbreak as the Dodgers lost the World Series in a seventh game to the Astros in Los Angeles. Coming off such a strong season in 2017, the Dodgers have opted for a quiet offseason, leaving themselves the financial freedom to make moves at the deadline or to make a splash next offseason if necessary. It's hard to see the Dodgers missing the playoffs, so it comes down to October.
By the team's own admission, the 2017 season was expected to be a transition year for the New York Yankees. Instead, the Yankees were one of the best teams in baseball last season thanks largely to young players. They trimmed some payroll fat during the offseason, and added a whole lot of muscle in Giancarlo Stanton. The Yankees head into the 2018 season with their eyes on a World Series title. Their roster is deep, and they boast one of the top farm systems in baseball. But, they also have an unproven manager. Aaron Boone played for over a decade in the Major Leagues but has no coaching experience.
Considering the Houston Astros are returning most of their core of players that led them to the World Series championship, the team feels pretty good about the way things set up for them heading into 2018. The Astros were the best team in baseball last year, despite a surging Dodgers team, and the World Series bore that out. Then, the Astros went out and beat the Dodgers in the off-season, too, bolstering their pitching with the acquisition of Gerrit Cole. The mission now is to become the first repeat champ since the 1999-2000 Yankees.
Last year the Chicago Cubs finished atop the NL Central with a 92-70 record. Beaten by the Dodgers 4-1, 2017 was their third straight appearance in the NLCS. The Cubs landed one of the prized of the offseason when they signed Yu Darvish. They also bolstered their bullpen by signing Brandon Morrow and Steve Cishek among other moves. The Cubs look like they are reloaded and ready to make another deep playoff run.
MLB 2017 regular-season standings
World Series in last five seasons
|2017||Houston - LA Dodg.||4 : 3|
|2016||Ch. Cubs - Cleveland||4 : 3|
|2015||Kansas - NY Mets||4 : 1|
|2014||San Fran. - Kansas||4 : 3|
|2013||Boston - St Louis||4 : 2|
The table shows the overall number of World Series titles and team success in the last five seasons. (title, finals - World Series; 1/2 - League championship series; 1/4 - Playoffs)