Baseball is back, whether you’re ready or not. If you’ve been busy betting the NCAA tournament or capping the playoff pushes in the NBA and NHL, let us lend a hand and get you up to speed
Here are three teams that tend to start the season hot and three others who drag their feet in the opening games of the schedule.
Record over the past 10 MLB seasons.
Toronto Blue Jays (35-23 in Opening Week)
Opening Week opponents: vs. Cleveland, vs. Boston
The Blue Jays always come out with a head of steam but fizzle as the schedule goes on. Last season, Toronto went 6-4 in its first two series of the season. This year, a reloaded roster and stacked pitching staff has the Jays among the World Series faves but could there be a jelling process for this new-look club?
Los Angeles Dodgers (34-26 in Opening Week)
Opening Week opponents: vs. San Francisco, vs. Pittsburgh
The Dodgers were on fire to start the 2012 season and jumped up the World Series futures board thanks to a 16-7 record in April, including a 6-1 mark in their first two series. Los Angeles reached deep into its pockets this offseason and loaded up on talent. Much like Toronto, L.A. could need some time to come together.
St. Louis Cardinals (32-24 in Opening Week)
Opening Week opponents: at Arizona, at San Francisco
The Cardinals are known more for their late-season heroics than their April success. However, St. Louis got off to a strong start in 2012, winning five of its first seven and let everyone know it would be alright without Albert Pujols.
Philadelphia Phillies (21-32 in Opening Week)
Opening Week opponents: at Atlanta, vs. Kansas City
Believe it or not, one of the best baseball teams over the past 10 seasons has also been one of its slowest starters. The Phillies split their first six games of the 2012 season and if Roy Halladay is suffering from a dead arm, things may go the same this spring.
Boston Red Sox (24-33 in Opening Week)
Opening Week opponents: at New York, at Toronto
There were teams with worse records during opening week than the Red Sox, but who the hell is going to bet on the Astros? Boston was the most costly team in baseball last season, burning 36.85 units, and a 1-5 start to the schedule set the tone for a dismal year for BoSox backers.
Cleveland Indians (23-31 in Opening Week)
Opening Week opponents: at Toronto, at Tampa Bay
The Tribe aren’t surprising anyone falling under this category. Cleveland is not only among the slowest starters – going 1-4 in its first two series last year - but is the worst Opening Day bet in the bigs at 2-8 over the past 10 seasons. But there is a catch. The Indians added some interesting players to the mix this offseason and are the “sexy” season win totals over pick (77.5) among Las Vegas wiseguys.