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Sunday, May 05, 2013

Never Tell Me The Odds

by SOB, guest poster and buddy of El Guapo's Ghost

Never Tell Me the Odds!
At the beginning of this season the odds on favorites to be division title winners in the American League of Major League Baseball were the Anaheim Angels, Detroit Tigers, and Toronto Blue Jays. All three have amassed a lot of talent onto their rosters and seem poised to go deep into the playoffs. They all have young rising stars and solid veterans. Each have Cy Young caliber ace pitchers. Two other teams, the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees, although seeming to take steps back in the offseason, still are considered strong contenders come the postseason.

Enter the 2013 Boston Red Sox. After huge offseason signings in 2011 they seemed ready to dominate baseball in much the way the Yankees have for a decade and a half. But after a historic collapse in August and September of 2011, and a miserable start to the 2012 season, the Sox jettisoned much of their new “talent”, fired, hired, and fired two managers (including Terry Francona the beloved skipper of their world series teams), and seemed to be gambling on going in a much different direction than anyone could have imagined just two seasons earlier.  They did manage to retain three veteran bats in David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, and Jacoby Ellsbury, as well as veteran pitchers John Lester and Clay Buchholz.  The question was whether the Sox could put enough talent around these veterans or even if these five stars could carry the team that had been entrusted to them. Would they stay healthy?

Suffice it to say that in March of 2013 the Red Sox were not a very safe bet to even make a wildcard spot, let alone have any shot at a division title or national title. But this is why we call it a “gamble”, and a “safe” bet is never a “sure” bet. Odds and statistics cannot measure heart, and in a city that started a revolution and most recently has weathered a terrorist attack on its very psyche, nobody can be surprised when an underdog can turn into a champion.

Now the season is a month old, but the Red Sox are proving that they at least have come to play this year, something that Toronto and Anaheim have yet to do. Not only that, but they have the best record in the majors out of the gate. What were the odds?  Lester and Buchholz look like the top two aces in the American League. Ortiz is in one of the best hitting streaks of his career. Pedroia and Ellsbury are getting hits and looking nimble in the field.  But this is just a collective New England sigh of relief.  What’s truly surprising are the little details: Daniel Nava is hitting out of his mind looking like more than just a very good minor leaguer a possible every day starter. Will Middlebrooks is staying sharp defensively on the field while weathering a minor sophomore slump behind the bat and is looking to be slowly coming out of that slump and providing  a solid bat in the middle of the lineup. Mike Carp, in limited appearances, is also hitting out of his mind. And the bullpen, a big weakness last year and big question mark this season, is one of the best in the majors with the two Japanese pitchers Tazawa and Uehara along with closers Andrew Bailey and Hanrahan.

Can the Red Sox keep up this strong start? Anyone’s guess. They certainly were no one’s early favorite coming into the season, and they will have to find ways to keep their stars fresh and sustain the ebbs and flows of batting slumps and streaks in a very long baseball season, while minimizing the injury bug that is always hard to avoid. In a sport that is all about momentum they certainly have it, and Boston has been known to spit at long odds, so if you’re a betting man/woman consider laying some money on the Red Sox being at least in the Wild Card come playoffs.  Because even though you can’t measure heart, this team seems to have it, as well as a lot of fight, and this early momentum might just propel them past some teams that have a lot more talent on paper and a lot more salary in their pockets!

If you prefer to wait a bit longer before betting on the Red Sox or your team, you can always go for a baseball slots game like Hot Shot at an online casino like www.mobilecasino.mobi in the meantime. This five reel nine pay line slot has everything a lover of baseball could want, from graphics of pitchers, hitters, catchers’ mitts and a baseball field, to the sounds of whooping fans and bats hitting baseballs accompanying the play. It also offers a very good chance of a payout, with the burning baseball wild icon standing in for other missing reel icons to give you a winning line-up, and the nine pay lines also boosting your chances – even if you don’t walk away with the $2000 top jackpot.

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