2019 Second Half National League Pennant Odds and Predictions
With the All-Star Break in the rearview mirror and the trade deadline looming, things are starting to take shape for the second half of the Major League Baseball Season. Teams will be trying to make deals to help them jockey for a position in the playoffs. Bullpen issues seem to plague some of the National League’s top teams, so many will be looking to make improvements in that area. Let’s take a look at the second half lines for who will win the National League pennant this season.
2019 Second Half National League Pennant Odds and Predictions
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Los Angeles Dodgers +100
The Dodgers have the best record in baseball at 63-34. They currently have a 14 game lead over the Diamondbacks in the National League West. Unless injuries occur, the Dodgers seem to have a playoff spot locked up. It’s hard to find any weaknesses in the Dodgers lineup and starting rotation.
Led by Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda, and Walker Buehler, the Dodger have a rotation that is second to no one. They could go four deep for starters in a playoff series, which would give them a huge advantage. As for the offense, they have been putting up a ton of runs. Led by MVP candidate Cody Bellinger, the Dodger have put a potent lineup on the field every night. If Corey Seager would get things rolling, the Dodgers would be even more dangerous.
They also have depth on their bench that contributes. The Dodgers one main weakness is their bullpen. Other than Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers pen isn’t really strong. With Jansen limping off the field during last night’s game, we’re unsure of his status going forward. The Dodgers have a wealth of talent in the minor leagues, and will surely make some moves to strengthen their bullpen. If the Dodgers strengthen their bullpen, they’ll be making their third consecutive trip to the World Series.
Atlanta Braves +300
Currently, the Braves are leading the NL East by 6.5 games, and are 4.5 games behind the Dodgers for the top spot in the National League. They have played well in the first half. They have a great home and road split, going 28–19 at home, and 30-19 on the road.
Offensively, the Braves have been hitting the ball well. Anchored by Freddie Freeman and Josh Donaldson, and supported by bashing youngsters Ronald Acuna Jr., Austin Riley, Dansby Swanson, and Ozzie Albies, the Braves offense has been a bright spot for Atlanta.
The rotation has some question marks, as after Mike Soroka, Dallas Keuchel, and Julio Teheran, there are no sure starters. The Braves have some promising starters in the minors, but they don’t seem to think that they’re ready to come up.
As is the common theme, the bullpen has been an issue. They’ve had numerous closers, and pitchers have changed roles throughout the season. Look for the Braves to try to stabilize the bullpen situation with some deals.
If the Braves young hitters can continue to hit for power, and they can stabilize the rotation, the Braves will be right in the thick of the NL pennant race. They may not be quite ready for the World Series yet, but in the next couple of years they’ll be a serious contender.
Chicago Cubs +900
Maybe the most talented team in the National League, the Cubs just can’t seem to put everything together. At times they can’t score runs, their bullpen struggles at times, and their starting pitching is aging. With that being said, the Cubs are still sitting atop the NL Central.
The starters have been inconsistent this year. The Cubs most consistent starter, Cole Hamels, is currently on the IL. With the return of Kyle Hendricks and Yu Darvish coming on strong in his last few starts, the Cubs are hoping for better things from their starters. If Jon Lester and Jose Quintana can put some quality starts together, the Cubs will be in good shape.
The Cubs offense has turned things up after the break. Kris Bryant has come on strong, and probably the Cubs MVP, Jason Heyward, has had a good start to the second half. If the Cubs could get some consistency from the leadoff spot, and more timely hitting with runners in scoring position, they could be dangerous in the playoffs. Once again, bullpen issues have plagued the Cubs. Between some injuries and overuse, the Cubs pen has struggled at times. The signing of Craig Kimbrel has solved the back end problem, but the middle innings still could use some help.
If the Cubs can learn to hit with runners in scoring position, and their starters stay healthy, the Cubs can contend for the NL pennant. If Theo Epstein can find some bullpen help, the Cubs could very likely meet the Dodgers in the NLCS.
Philadelphia Phillies +1000
Unless Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins start hitting, the Phillies really don’t have a legitimate shot of getting to the NLCS. Other than Aaron Nola, their rotation is a mess. Their bullpen has been plagued by injuries. It’s just not their year. A playoff berth looks very doubtful.
St. Louis Cardinals +2200
With a .243 team batting average, the Cardinals hitting is what is holding them back. The starting pitching has been patchwork at times but has been fairly consistent.
The loss of Jordan Hicks in the closer role has hurt, but Carlos Martinez has come in and done well. If the Cardinals can’t find some hitting somewhere, they really don’t have a chance of advancing in the playoffs if they’re lucky enough to get in. Over the next few days, if the Cardinals would happen to tail off, they could be sellers at the deadline.
Washington Nationals +1300
The Nationals have climbed back into playoff contention. With the starting trio of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin, this team could be a force in a playoff series. Their young hitters have come around, and they’ve been great in their last 50 games. However, other than Sean Doolittle, the bullpen is a mess.
If the Nationals young hitters continue to play well, and they make some improvements in the bullpen, the Nationals are a team that nobody would want to face in the playoffs. They probably aren’t ready for the World Series yet, but they could really test some of the top teams.