MLB – Aaron Judge, Albert Pujols Power the Drama as MLB Season Hits Stretch Run

As of Monday, there’s one month left in the Major League Baseball regular season, and there will be some drama between now and the final pitch thrown on Oct. 5. Two of the top storylines are if Albert Pujols can reach 700 homers for his career, and if Aaron Judge slug his way to 60 or more this season. Over at FanDuel, you can wager on whether either slugger will reach either milestone.

As of Monday night, FanDuel was offering -110 odds on whether Judge will go over or under 61.5 homers this season for the New York Yankees. Should he go over that total, he’d break the historic franchise’s single-season mark, held by Roger Maris, who hit 61 in 1961, and set an American League record as well.

Earlier in the day, he connected on his 54th of the season in a 5-2 home win over the Minnesota Twins. That puts Judge on a pace to hit 65 this season.

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MLB – Albert Pujols Joins Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron in Exclusive 700 HR Club

Pujols an Underdog for 700

Pujols sits at 695 homers for his storied career, the last one coming Sunday as he hit the game-winning blast in the St. Louis Cardinals 2-0 win over the rival Chicago Cubs. If he can hit five more, he’d join one of the more exclusive clubs in baseball, joining Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, and Babe Ruth in the 700 Home Run Club.

The three-time NL MVP is a part-time player this year, having just appeared in 85 of the Cardinals 135 games this season. However, since the All-Star Break, he’s hitting .356 with 10 homers in 31 games. Still, the odds are a bit longer for Pujols as he completes his 22nd and likely final season in the big leagues.

Despite his recent hot stretch, FanDuel has set Pujols’ career homer total for the end of the regular season at 699.5. Odds on the under is -260, meaning you’d need to wager $260 to win $100. Odds on the over are +205, meaning a $100 wager would net $205.

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Few Division Races Intriguing

It’s a good thing we have those storylines because there’s little drama in the pennant races heading into the final month.

As of now, there are only two divisions where first and second place teams are within two games of each other. One of those races is the National League East, where the New York Mets hold a one-game lead over the Atlanta Braves, but both teams are also virtually assured of making the playoffs since they have the second- and third-best records in the NL.

FanGraphs, an advanced baseball analytics website, says both teams have 100% chances to make the playoffs, with the Mets holding a 69.6% chance to win the division and a 30.4% chance to make it as the wild card. The Braves’ probabilities are the reverse of those.

At Caesars, the Mets are -250 favorites to win the division, with the Braves, last year’s World Series champs, at +200 to overtake the Mets, who lead Atlanta by a game (85-50 to 84-51) with each team having 27 games left. That includes a three-game series in Atlanta Sept. 30-Oct. 2, but the Mets have a far easier schedule the rest of the way. Only six of New York’s final 27 games come against teams with a winning record, while Atlanta must play 13 games against teams better than .500 in its final 27 contests.

MLB – Aaron Judge, Albert Pujols Power the Drama as MLB Season Hits Stretch Run

AL Central Barnburner

So that leaves the American League Central as the lone true pennant race in baseball this year. Three teams – the Cleveland Guardians, Minnesota Twins, and Chicago White Sox – are all within two games of each other heading into the final month. Given that none of those three teams are better than four games above .500, it’s highly likely only one of those teams will make the postseason. All three trail the Toronto Blue Jays by at least 6.5 games for the third and final AL Wild Card spot.

Cleveland and Chicago were playing Monday night, but the Guardians (68-64) led Minnesota (68-65) by a half-game and the White Sox (67-67) by two.

These three teams will also duke it out largely among themselves for the division crown, too. Cleveland and Minnesota play eight more times over the next month, with the Guardians hosting five of those games. Minnesota and Chicago play six times, while Cleveland and Chicago have three games left.

DraftKings has Cleveland as the favorites to win the division, offering odds of -125. Minnesota is second at +190, while Chicago has odds of +285.

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