Cubs have fifth-best odds to win World Series

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The two wild card spots belong to the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins.

The Dodgers will face the victor of Wednesday's NL Wild Card showdown between the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks in a best-of-five series starting on Friday in Los Angeles.

"We've kind of been the underdogs all year and we're still here", Gardner said Wednesday night after the Yankees' worked out at Progressive Field in preparation of Thursday night's series opener.

"We spent a lot of time on him today, just because he is so unsafe, " Francona said of Judge, who went 3-for-10 with a homer during the Yankees' August series at Progressive Field. Catcher Gary Sanchez contributed to his impressive sophomore campaign with 33 dingers of his own. Indeed, even as things stand, the last time there were three 100-win teams playing in the divisional round was in 2002, when the Braves, Athletics and Yankees all played (notably, all three of those teams lost their respective divisional series). That leaves four teams left in each league and 16 possible matchups for the World Series.

In the nation's capital, the Washington Nationals are entering the playoffs years of failed expectations on their backs. The Indians finished with the best record (102-60) in the AL this season, courtesy of a league-record 22 successive victories from August 24 - September 14.

Normally, I eschew fixed-odds futures like these because you can nearly always get a better payoff by taking the series price in a team's first series and parlaying your winnings onto each subsequent series (or game-by-game in single-elimination tournaments such as the National Football League playoffs or March Madness).

After throwing just 29 pitches on Tuesday, it's feasible that Severino could have pitched in Game 2 on Friday, but again, I wouldn't want to waste a great pitching performance against Corey Kluber.

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Past year heading into the MLB Playoffs, the Cubs were 7-4 to win it all. But will anyone get more scrutiny in the postseason than Clayton Kershaw? Anthony Rizzo and 2016 NL MVP Kris Bryant will provide the offensive power to help both Quintana and Jon Lester, one of the best postseason pitchers (9-7, 2.63 ERA in postseason).

Masahiro Tanaka, on the other hand, has been hit or miss this year.

"Once in a while, when a team has a sensational regular season, they have this sense like, 'We can't blip it now".

These three teams are the clear favorites as postseason baseball heats up, as far as the Vegas odds go. The Indians are projected to win the series 3-1. Cleveland has the best pitching staff in baseball between Kluber and Miller and has the third best offense in the MLB, statistically.

Taking nothing away from the Minnesota Twins, it only seems fitting that the Yankees advanced to face the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS. Who could forget one of the most memorable home runs in World Series history?

I: INJURIES — Nationals ace Max Scherzer tweaked his hamstring, teammate Bryce Harper is getting over a bad knee. However, they'll be no match for Cleveland. Washington's Dusty Baker is back for his ninth try, still seeking that elusive first World Series championship.

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