We are a week into the 2022 regular season and for the most part, the teams that everyone thought would be good have been and the teams expected to be lousy also have been. The Los Angeles Dodgers remain +475 favorites to win the World Series.
Los Angeles has started 3-2, which is solid considering the team hasn’t played at home yet. The home opener is Thursday against Cincinnati. The Dodgers will play the Reds for four games before they welcome the World Series champion Atlanta Braves to Dodger Stadium next Monday night for the first of three.
Star shortstop Trea Turner is on a 24-game hitting streak, the longest by a Dodger since Andre Ethier connected for a hit in 30 straight games from April 2 through May 6 in 2011. In 56 games with the Dodgers, he is now hitting .328 with 17 doubles, 10 homers, 30 RBI. Turner finished last season with a .328 batting average, capturing his first career batting championship and becoming the first Dodger to win a batting title since Tommy Davis won back-to-back crowns in 1962 and 1963.
Perhaps the best value on the World Series board right now is Tampa Bay, is +1400 and continues to win despite one of the lowest payrolls in the sport and almost no fan support. The team did get some bad news this week, though, as starting pitcher Luis Patino was transferred from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list. Patino suffered a severe left oblique strain in the first inning of his 2022 regular season debut Monday against the Athletics and will now officially be on the shelf through at least early June. It’s a blow to the Rays’ starting rotation, which already began the year with a range of workload concerns.
Last August, Tampa Bay ace Tyler Glasnow underwent Tommy John surgery. In Spring Training, the Rays lost top prospect Shane Baz (arthroscopic right elbow surgery) for at least the first month of the season. On Monday, they placed left-hander Ryan Yarbrough (left groin tightness) on the 10-day injured list, although he’s expected to return soon.
“We’ve had two starters go down pretty quick lately, but we’ll regroup,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said after their first loss of the season. “We’ve got enough pitching that should be able to cover us. Luis, we’ve got to get him healthy because he’s a big part of what we’re trying to do here, and his stuff, when he’s right, is really, really impressive.”
Don’t bet against the Rays at home. They Rays haven’t been swept at home (regardless of series length) since April 19-21, 2019 vs. BOS (0-3). No team in the majors has gone as long since being swept at home, and the Rays and Dodgers are the only two without being swept at home from 2020-21.
The defending champion Atlanta Braves are +1200 to repeat but they have looked a bit shaky in the early going with a 3-4 record and all seven games at home. They lost two of three at home vs. Washington to open this week and the Nationals aren’t good.
By comparison, the Braves won 14 of 19 games with Washington last season, the most the club has ever won against the Nationals in a single season since baseball returned to the nation’s capital in 2005. The Braves outscored Washington 101-73 (+28) in the 19 games last season, marking the 11th time the Braves scored triple digits against a team in a season since the turn of the century.
More bad news: Opening Day starter Max Fried has a 5.73 ERA in his first two starts and reliever Luke Jackson had Tommy John surgery on Wednesday in Arlington, Texas. He was 2-2 with a career-best 1.98 ERA in 71 games in 2021. He had a 0.00 ERA in three World Series games against Houston.
The long shots to win the World Series are the Pirates at +50000 … and, yeah, that’s not happening. The team could call up top prospect and NL Rookie of the Year candidate Oneil Cruz any day, however. He hit well in camp but was sent down for seasoning – i.e., service time reasons.