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MLB standings 2021: Padres, Yankees and Braves enter big division series this week

San Diego, New York and Atlanta could shift the balance of power in its respective division if things go right.

MLB: San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies
San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. tosses the bat after his solo home run in the third inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020-21 MLB season is nearing the halfway point and while several preseason contenders are right where many expected them to be, some teams are surprisingly competitive as the calendar moves closer to July. Here’s a look at the standings in each division at the moment, how the odds are shaping up for some of the top teams, and notable performances over the last week.

AL East

1. Boston Red Sox: 43-29
2. Tampa Bay Rays: 43-30, 0.5 GB
3. New York Yankees: 38-33, 4.5 GB
4. Toronto Blue Jays: 35-35, 7 GB
5. Baltimore Orioles: 23-48, 19.5 GB

The Yankees were favored to win this division in March, but DraftKings Sportsbook now lists the second-place Rays as the favorite to win at +125. The Red Sox are second-favorites at +200. New York could be a value play at +325 if bettors believe the Yankees will eventually come around. They are only 4.5 games back with more than half the season left.

After being blanked by the Phillies last Sunday, the Yankees went 5-1 during the week. They may be heating up at the right time heading into series with Boston this week. That’s the key matchup this week in the AL East.

AL Central

1. Chicago White Sox: 43-29
2. Cleveland Indians: 39-30, 2.5 GB
3. Kansas City Royals: 32-38, 10 GB
4. Minnesota Twins: 30-41, 12.5 GB
5. Detroit Tigers: 30-42, 13 GB

No one is surprised the White Sox are at the top of this division. Despite missing Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert, Chicago has found a way to manufacture runs while the pitching rotation keeps dominating. Nick Madrigal’s season-ending injury will hurt, but Jimenez is slated to be back soon. The White Sox are clear favorites in the Central according to DraftKings Sportsbook at -670.

The Twins have been the biggest disappointment in this group. Many expected them to push the White Sox for much of the season, but the Twins are now 12.5 games back and competing with the Tigers for the division cellar. Minnesota has won four straight games, but needs a lot of help to make a run at the division title.

AL West

t-1. Houston Astros: 43-38
t-1. Oakland A’s: 44-29
3. Seattle Mariners: 38-36, 6.5 GB
4. Los Angeles Angels: 36-36, 7.5 GB
5. Texas Rangers: 25-46, 18 GB

The Astros and Athletics are going to be neck and neck for this division race, as many expected at the beginning of the season. Houston is -136 to win the division, but Oakland is +105 and could be great value for bettors.

Oakland has four games against the Rangers this week, but the Astros get the Tigers and Orioles. If any of these teams slip up against inferior competition, it could create some unexpected breathing room for whoever doesn’t.

NL East

1. New York Mets: 36-29
2. Philadelphia Phillies: 34-35, 4 GB
3. Atlanta Braves: 33-36, 5 GB
4. Washington Nationals: 33-36, 5 GB
5. Miami Marlins: 31-40, 8 GB

The Braves, Nationals, and Phillies remain within striking distance of the division-leading Mets, but New York is the clear favorite according to DraftKings Sportsbrook to wrap up the title at -420. Atlanta and Philly have the next best odds at +650 each.

The Braves took three of four games against the Cardinals to close the week and now enter a massive four-game series with the Mets this week. If Atlanta can take three of four again, it’ll give the Braves more confidence as the games matter more.

NL Central

t-1. Milwaukee Brewers: 40-32
t-1. Chicago Cubs: 40-32
3. Cincinnati Reds: 35-35, 4 GB
4. St. Louis Cardinals: 36-36, 4 GB
5. Pittsburgh Pirates: 25-45, 14 GB

The Reds were a preseason favorite here and are still relevant at .500, but the Brewers and Cubs have showed why they’re still contenders despite questions about their respective futures. Christian Yelich spent the early part of the season on IL, but Milwaukee has to believe he’ll eventually return to MVP form.

The Cubs have two weeks before a pivotal series with the Brewers, but the real measuring stick comes this week in four games with the defending champions Dodgers. Chicago may be unexpected buyers at the trade deadline and a 2-2 or 3-1 result could make management believe this team actually can contend.

NL West

1. San Francisco Giants: 46-26
2. Los Angeles Dodgers: 44-27, 1.5 GB
3. San Diego Padres: 42-32, 5 GB
4. Colorado Rockies: 30-43, 16.5 GB
5. Arizona Diamondbacks: 20-53, 26.5 GB

The Dodgers are still favored to win this division at -235, but the Padres (+275) being listed ahead of the first-place Giants (+600) is a little surprising. Many expect San Francisco to eventually falter, but the Giants have held form for half the season now. It’ll be an interesting race to the finish with three teams in the mix.

The Padres have a superstar in the making in Fernando Tatis Jr., but many expected them to be in a better spot at this point. San Diego was unexpectedly swept by the Rockies this week, but bounced back to take four straight against the Reds. Up next is a massive three-game set with Dodgers this week. The Padres cannot afford to start off this week like the last one.

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