When looking at the World Series Dodgers look best

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When looking at the chances of all the baseball teams to win this year’s World Series, the Dodgers look the best. They lead the NL West by seven games. It’s still not June and they’re 10-to-1 odds.

Only Texas has as much as a five-game lead in their division with all others being tightly contested. This is why the Orioles are still 50-1 to win the AL East despite leading. The other four AL East teams have lower odds than Baltimore. Even Toronto is 25-1.

Despite playing in a pitcher’s park, the Dodgers hitters are fourth in the NL in runs scored (183), third in average (.267). Even with Matt Kemp going in the DL, the Dodgers have continued to hit and win. They also own the second best ERA (2.99).

Perhaps the main variable in supporting the Dodgers moving forward is the new ownership group, in particular, president Stan Kasten. Whatever glaring need the Dodgers might appear to have in July, Kasten will make the necessary moves like he did with the Braves in their glory years.

Atlanta won 14 straight division titles – the first 12 with Kasten.

Look for the Dodgers to do the same this year.

Aging pitchers rule!

Last month, Jamie Moyer – at 49 – became the oldest pitcher in baseball history to win a game. The win came one year removed from retiring. He missed the entire 2011 season, but still felt he could throw strikes and keep hitters off-balance with his array of slow pitches. Should he play next season, he’ll be the first player at 50 to play in the majors in a non-publicity stunt since 1933.

I saw some irony in how a few events transpired. On the day 35-year-old Kerry Wood retired, he struck out his final batter with a 92 mph fastball with nasty movement.

The same day, 39-year-old Andy Pettitte went eight scoreless innings after sitting out the entire 2011 campaign. Kevin Millwood, 37, pitched a complete game shutout and Derek Lowe, 38, is 6-2 with Cleveland sporting a 2.15 ERA.

We’ve seen future Hall-of-Famers go deep into their 40’s with some success like Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens. Knuckleballers like Hoyt Wilhelm pitched until he was 49, Phil Niekro went to 48, Charlie Hough 46 and the recently retired Tim Wakefield 45.

Nolan Ryan, Tommy John and Gaylord Perry all pitched at 45. It’s at least nice to know there is still a place for craftiness in baseball.

Manny back at 40

Manny Ramirez turns 40 on May 30, the same day he’s eligible to return to the majors after serving his second suspension for use of performance enhancing drugs. He’ll be playing all this week for the Oakland A’s Triple-A Sacramento River Cats with hopes that he finds his swing again.

Oakland is in a major power outage right now with Brandon Inge and Yoenis Cespedes on the DL and could use Manny being Manny.

Who’s Hot?

While Josh Hamilton (22 hits, 13 runs, 9 HR, 22 RBI, .440 average last 15 days) has been getting all the well-deserved superstar attention over the last two weeks, a few others are lost in the shuffle and warrant early MVP consideration.

• David Wright, Mets (.478 average last 15 games) was leading baseball with a .412 average through Sunday.

• J.J. Hardy, Orioles (.358 last 15).

• Adam Jones, Orioles (7 HR, 15 RBI, .323 last 15).

• Melky Cabrera (Giants), Martin Prado (Braves) and Robinson Cano (Yanks) are all hitting over. 400 over the last two weeks.

• Last year’s NL MVP Ryan Braun (Brewers) has hit .423 over that span. His current run has us all reminded he’s one of the best players in the game despite the cloud of uncertainty hanging over him.

Bryce’s world

Baseball fans can’t seem to get enough of Bryce Harper, especially here at his home in Las Vegas. Not everyone who is a No. 1 draft pick has such a dynamic personality with such endless potential, nor do they play on a team battling for first-place for the first time ever.

Harper has struggled as many expected with a .244 average and two home runs in his first 21 games.

Coming up from the minors about the same time as Harper was Angels outfielder Mike Trout who has hit .355 with four homers and six stolen bases. Over the last 15 days Trout has hit .420.

Trout was in the same position last year Harper is this season. He took his lumps (.220) when first brought up, started this season in the minors, made adjustments and now it looks like he’s completely comfortable to show off all his skills and be a mainstay in the majors.

Technically, Trout is not a rookie because he had 123 at-bats last season and isn’t eligible for Rookie of the Year. Still, he looks like a player who has the chance to put bigger and better hardware on his mantle.

Instant Replay

The first step has been made in having instant replays for questionable home runs so why not do it now for balls, strikes and outs? Just this past week of bad calls alone has given us a great reason to upgrade with technology.

Traditionalists still protest that the naked eye of the umpire is an essential part of the game that should never be changed. However, baseball has shown to be more progressive in other areas where there was plenty of backlash.

We have 10 teams in the postseason now. Up until 1969, there were only two that made the playoffs, making the long regular season mean much more. It was purer to the traditionalists. Why stand with tradition when everything else in baseball has been de-traditionalized? We have lights in stadiums, cable and satellite TV, interleague play and the DH. We even had a World Series cancelled due to modern greed when even world wars and terrorist attacks couldn’t stop baseball.

Best Days of the Week

Here’s a stat good for bar room talking points. The Reds went 7-0 on Sundays with their win at Yankee Stadium. They are only two games above .500 for the season.

The Dodgers are 7-0 on Saturdays, while the Phillies, Rockies and D’Backs are all 1-6.

The Braves love Fridays (6-0) while the Bucs hate them (0-6).

The Phillies are 5-0 on Thursdays, but the Angels are 0-5.

The D’Backs are 0-6 on Wednesdays, but the Rays are 6-0.

And the best or worst trend on Mondays is the Braves going 0-6.

Get to bullpen

Only three teams in baseball are perfect. The first one shouldn’t come as a surprise because the Braves (19-0) are highly regarded for their bullpen. But the other two are. The Pirates (13-0) and Brewers (13-0), despite losing records, both slam the doors shut without fail when they have a lead.

On the opposite side we have teams that “quit” when down heading into the seventh. The Angels (0-16) and Rockies (0-17) have shown no fight in the late innings and most of the reason the teams haven’t had much rah-rah in their club houses or W’s in the win column.

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