We’ve reached the Major League Baseball All-Star break, with every team having played about 90 games, so it’s safe to say we’ve learned a lot about all 30 teams. We have seen some surprises, such as the Giants’ incredible start, Boston’s resurgence and AL preseason favorite New York’s inability to find consistency. But in looking at the standings, it’s clear that every division leader has earned its status. Handicapping baseball in 2021 has been a challenge for most bettors, though, as starting pitchers have been more dominant than usual, bullpens have been as inconsistent as ever and key injuries have popped up time and again. It’s time to take a quick look at where we stand as bettors and try to get a jump on the second half of the season.
As I review the recent action and look ahead to what’s upcoming in MLB, I’ll focus on four key handicapping factors:
— Hot and cold teams
— Hot and cold starting pitchers
— Unusual situational records
— Injuries or personnel situations that could have an impact