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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
World Series
LA Dodg. - Houston3 : 4
League Series
LA Dodg. - Ch. Cubs4 : 1
Houston - NY Yank.4 : 3
Division Series
Cleveland - NY Yank.2 : 3
Houston - Boston3 : 1
LA Dodg. - Arizona3 : 0
Washing. - Ch. Cubs2 : 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:

teamoddsteamodds
Los Angeles Dodgers7Seattle Mariners34
New York Yankees7Minnesota Twins41
Houston Astros7.5Texas Rangers51
Chicago Cubs9Kansas City Royals67
Cleveland Indians9Tampa Bay Rays67
Washington Nationals11Baltimore Orioles67
Boston Red Sox13Atlanta Braves81
St. Louis Cardinals19Pittsburgh Pirates81
Arizona Diamondbacks21Chicago White Sox126
Los Angeles Angels21Philadelphia Phillies126
Toronto Blue Jays26Detroit Tigers151
San Francisco Giants29Oakland Athletics151
Milwaukee Brewers29San Diego Padres201
Colorado Rockies34Miami Marlins201
New York Mets34Cincinnati Reds201

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.

Read more about offseason moves on MLB 2018 transfers. Visit main MLB 2018 page for latest news, scores and stats.

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

#team%win-loss
AL East
1Boston57.493-69
2NY Yank.56.291-71
3Tampa49.480-82
4Toronto46.976-86
5Baltimore46.375-87
AL Central
1Cleveland63.0102-60
2Minnes.52.585-77
3Kansas49.480-82
4Ch. Sox41.467-95
5Detroit39.564-98
AL West
1Houston62.3101-61
2LA Angels49.480-82
3Texas48.178-84
4Seattle48.178-84
5Oakland46.375-87
NL East
1Washing.59.997-65
2Miami47.577-85
3Atlanta44.472-90
4NY Mets43.270-92
5Philadel.40.766-96
NL Central
1Ch. Cubs56.892-70
2Milwaukee53.186-76
3St Louis51.283-79
4Pittsburgh46.375-87
5Cincinnati42.068-94
NL West
1LA Dodg.64.2104-58
2Arizona57.493-69
3Colorado53.787-75
4San Diego43.871-91
5San Fran.39.564-98

World Series in last five seasons

2017Houston - LA Dodg.4 : 3
2016Ch. Cubs - Cleveland4 : 3
2015Kansas - NY Mets4 : 1
2014San Fran. - Kansas4 : 3
2013Boston - St Louis4 : 2
teamstitles20132014201520162017
NY Yankees27----1/2
St. Louis11finals1/21/4--
Oakland91/4----
Boston8title--1/41/4
San Fran.8-title-1/4-
LA Dodgers61/21/41/41/2finals
Pittsburgh51/4----
Cincinnati5-----
Detroit41/21/4---
Ch. Cubs3--1/2title1/2
Baltimore3-1/2---
Atlanta31/4----
Ch. Sox3-----
Minnesota3-----
Philadelphia2-----
Cleveland2---finals1/4
Miami2-----
NY Mets2--finals1/2-
Toronto2--1/2--
Kansas City2-finalstitle--
Houston1--1/4-title
Arizona1----1/4
LA Angels1-1/4---
Tampa-1/4----
San Diego------
Milwaukee------
Colorado------
Texas---1/41/4-
Washington--1/4-1/41/4
Seattle------

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)

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