The Los Angeles Dodgers are now the favorites to win the World Series, oddsmaker says (Big League Stew)

All of baseball has taken notice of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ remarkable turnaround . So have gambling experts. Online sportsbook Bovada — which sends out  updates every few weeks about baseball odds — has made the Dodgers its World Series favorite, marking the first time this season the Detroit Tigers aren’t atop the list.
The Dodgers are in the middle of a spectacular 40-8 run since June 22, which has moved the team out of last place in the NL West and into first place, where it now holds a 7 1/2 game lead. It’s enough for Dodgers fans to believe they’re living a Drake song . The team hasn’t cooled off recently either, currently riding an eight-game winning streak.
In announcing the Dodgers’ ascension, Bovada sports book manager Kevin Bradley said:
“For the first time during the regular season, the Detroit Tigers have been surpassed as World Series favorites by none other than the hottest team in baseball the LA Dodgers. The amount of liability we have incurred on the Dodgers over the last month, combined with their stellar play as of late, forced us to drop them to 9/2 favorites just ahead of the Tigers who still sit close by at 5/1.”
On July 1, the Dodgers’ World Series odds were 22/1. So that’s another thing Don Mattingly’s bunch can be proud of this season. Other than the Dodgers leap-frogging the Tigers, the other change to the top five in these latest odds is the Red Sox jumping ahead of the Cardinals.
Here’s the entire list:

Odds to win the 2013 World Series
Los Angeles Dodgers – 9/2
Detroit Tigers – 5/1
Atlanta Braves – 13/2
Boston Red Sox – 15/2
St. Louis Cardinals – 10/1
Tampa Bay Rays – 11/1
Texas Rangers – 11/1
Cincinnati Reds – 12/1
Oakland Athletics – 12/1
Pittsburgh Pirates – 12/1
Baltimore Orioles – 18/1
New York Yankees – 40/1
Arizona Diamondbacks – 45/1
Cleveland Indians – 45/1
Kansas City Royals – 45/1
Washington Nationals – 75/1
Los Angeles Angels – 250/1
Toronto Blue Jays – 250/1
Colorado Rockies – 350/1
San Francisco Giants – 350/1
Seattle Mariners – 350/1
New York Mets – 500/1
Philadelphia Phillies – 500/1
San Diego Padres – 500/1
You’ll notice Bovada didn’t even bother listing the Astros, Marlins, White Sox, Twins, Brewers or Cubs anymore.
Baseball season’s in full swing. Don’t miss a thing.
Follow @MikeOz and @bigleaguestew , on Twitter, along with the BLS Facebook page .

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Don Mattingly Managing the New York Mets Now a Distant Thought (Yahoo! Contributor Network)

COMMENTARY | Just a few months ago, after reading an article in USA Today about lame-duck managers, I thought about what it would be like to have Don Mattingly manage the New York Mets.

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A Logical Approach to Fixing the Los Angeles Dodgers That Does Not Involve Firing Don Mattingly (Yahoo! Contributor Network)

COMMENTARY | After the Los Angeles Dodgers made the gaudy offseason signings of pitchers Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and outfielder/wunderkind Yasiel Puig to round out a team that was already loaded with All-Stars, many Dodgers fans felt as though their 2013 World Series championship had already been wrapped up before the equipment truck even left for spring training.

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Yankees spoil Mattingly’s return to Bronx (The Associated Press)

NEW YORK (AP) — Yankees fans showed Don Mattingly the love from the moment he took the lineup card to home plate Wednesday. Hiroki Kuroda, though, wasn’t feeling nostalgic when facing his old team.

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Mattingly hears cheers in New York before rainout (The SportsXchange)

NEW YORK — Don Mattingly was greeted by cheering fans as he entered Yankee Stadium Tuesday. Those same fans would have likely given him a nice ovation had there actually been a game.

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The Juice: Yasiel Puig ties game with home run, Dodgers win in 10 on walk-off wild pitch (Big League Stew)

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The Juice returns for season No. 6! It’s almost eligible for free-agency! Stop by daily for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more.

The legend of Yasiel Puig grows. In only his fifth major league game, the 22-year-old outfielder connected for his fourth home run — a game-tying solo shot off Paul Maholm in the sixth — to complete the home run cycle. Yes, less than a week into his career, he already has a solo, two, three-run and grand slam to his credit. That makes for a remarkable, even historic stretch since he’s only the second player since 1900 to homer four times in his first five games . The other was Mike Jacobs with the New York Mets in 2005.
Of course the most concern for Los Angeles was the fact they scratched out a run to get the game squared up. The team’s then played three more scoreless innings leading into the 10th. That’s where the Dodgers put runners at the corners against Anthony Varvaro. Skipper Don Mattingly then elected to pinch-run Skip Schumaker as the lead runner. That paid off almost immediately, as just a couple pitchers later Varvaro uncorked a wild pitch that original runner Ramon Hernandez would not have scored on, It squirted just far enough away for Schumaker to get in though, so the Dodgers stole it 2-1 in 10 .
Cardinals gain separation in NL Central: The St. Louis Cardinals improved their major league best record to 40-21 with a commanding 9-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds. They also extended their lead in the Central division to a season-high four games over both Cincinnati and Pittsburgh thanks to Adam Wainwright’s seven outstanding innings. Wainwright now owns nearly one-quarter of their win total with nine.

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The Juice: Matt Kemp benched late in Dodgers win; Adam Jones stays red hot for Orioles (Big League Stew)

The Juice returns for season No. 6! It’s almost eligible for free-agency! Stop by daily for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more.

Don Mattingly’s interesting week continued on Saturday night. Just days after leaving Andre Ethier out of his lineup in Milwaukee while strongly insinuating that he felt Ethier wasn’t among the hardest worker competitors on the team , he made another strong statement by electing to remove all-star center fielder Matt Kemp during a seventh inning double switch in their game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Now, you may be thinking that’s not exactly a big deal. Players get double-switched all of the time. That’s true, but it doesn’t happen to superstars all that often, and it certainly doesn’t happen to superstars late in a one-run game. Mattingly was clearly sending another message, though that was flatly denied in his postgame comments. .
Here’s a little more from Beth Harris of the Associated Press:
Mattingly made his second double switch in the seventh, with Kenley Jansen taking the mound and Skip Schumaker replacing Kemp in center field. A clearly frustrated Kemp returned to the dugout shouting, but Mattingly said he didn’t take him out because he’s struggling.
”It’s tough because you don’t want to take to switch one of your guys out but it was the only move I felt I had,” he said.
The win helped Kemp cool down.
”It had been a bad day for me. I didn’t do much to help the team,” he said. ”That’s how they feel. Let them do what they want to do.”
To make matters worse for Kemp, both he and Ethier were booed throughout the game by the frustrated Dodger Stadium crowd. Just a rough day at the office, and I’m not sure a win will sooth things nearly as much as was led on here. I guess we’ll have to stay tuned.

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MLB roundup: Mattingly’s job safe — for now (The SportsXchange)

The struggling Los Angeles Dodgers do not plan to fire Don Mattingly, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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Sportsbeat – 7/9/11

If there were a vote for Manager of the Half-Year, I would be hard-pressed to decide between  the Pirates’ Clint Hurdle and the Mets’ Terry Collins. After 19 straight years of losing seasons, the Pirates have spent most of 2011 above the .500 mark and are in contention in the NL Central. If someone had told you that the Mets would be a legitimate wild card team at the All-Star break without having the services of David Wright and Ike Davis for most of the season as well as not having ace starter Johan Santana at all, you would wonder what they are secretly smoking.

It’s not just that the Mets are winning that has put Terry Collins in a good light. He came to New York with a reputation for having a short fuse and being combative. At age 62 Collins has changed from being a Leo Durocher wannabe to becoming Jim Leyland “lite” as one longtime sports author who requested anonymity told me.

Now before we get too excited about the Mets, we can’t ignore their tendency to fall apart like a cheap suit after the All-Star break. If that happens, expect Mets GM Sandy Alderson to dispatch Carlos Beltran, Mike Pelfrey, and Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez to other cities. Even if the Mets are miraculously in the thick of things, Alderson will probably have to move K-Rod to avoid the Mets being on the hook for his $17.5 million salary next year. The conventional wisdom is that for the post-Madoff Mets to have any shot at re-signing Jose Reyes they are going to need to free up payroll in the worst kind of way. Getting rid of their still very good closer will accomplish that.

Last January former Yankees great and then incoming Dodgers manager Don Mattingly hosted a fund-raiser for his charity at Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant on Central Park South. I asked Don if he worried that the chaos surrounding team owner Frank McCourt’s divorce would have an adverse effect on his team’s fortunes. “No, players are professionals. They just care about what goes on the field,” he told me that night. I have a feeling that he would answer my question differently today.

Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier had a great reaction when he got a stack of legal documents in the mail about his employer’s bankruptcy filing. “Now you know how I’ll be spending the All-Star break. It’s great to be Dodger!” he exclaimed according to the Sports Business Journal.

It was a weird atmosphere at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, July 7 with Derek Jeter three hits away from the 3,000-hit career milestone. It seemed that no one cared that the Tampa Bay Rays, who came into Yankee Stadium that night a mere four games behind the Yanks in the AL East, were beating them 5-1; all they cared about was Jeter getting three hits that night.

Derek is also notorious about guarding his privacy and that’s why it was surprising that he has allowed HBO Sports to do one of those “all access” documentaries about his road to 3,000.

Speaking of HBO Sports, make sure to catch their latest documentary, The Curious Case of Curt Flood. The subject here was a terrific centerfielder who played on three pennant-winning St. Louis Cardinals teams in the 1960s. In 1969, just as the Miracle Mets were in the midst of beating the Orioles in the World Series, the Cards traded Flood to the Phillies. Even though he had played 11 years in the big leagues, Flood no say in choosing his employer thanks to baseball’s “reserve clause” that bounded a player to a team unless that club wanted to get rid of him. The term “Free agency” was as unheard of as the Internet back then.

Flood refused to report to the Phillies. He had nothing against them or the city of Philadelphia. It was a matter of principle. He wanted a say as to where he would work and he likened his situation to slavery. The simpleminded sports media at the time (some things never change!) made fun of his slavery analogy because he was earning $90,000 per year at the time which was quite a payday for the time. Nonetheless, Flood’s point was valid. Even though few players spoke up for him at the time, added to the fact that the Supreme Court ruled against him, Curt Flood is the man most responsible for the free agency rights baseball players enjoy today.

ESPN doesn’t get mad, it gets even. Last month NBC, now owned by cost-conscious Comcast, shocked the world by spending a fortune in retaining the rights to show the next two summer and winter Olympics. ESPN executives thought that they had the Games in their bag.

Two weeks ago, however, they snagged the rights to broadcast a long-held NBC Sports jewel, Wimbledon. That is probably bad news for NBC’s chief tennis voice, former Mets broadcaster Ted Robinson who grew up in Rockville Centre.

James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales’s new book, These Guys Have All the Fun (Little, Brown), gives readers an inside look at the going-on in Bristol, CT with an over 700-page oral history on ESPN. While it is a thorough and engaging read, there is surprisingly little that is controversial here. Everyone knows that “Sportscenter” anchor Keith Olbermann was not the most popular guy on campus. There is also little written about why longtime baseball analyst Harold Reynolds (now working for the MLB Network) was dropped by the network (Was he engaged in an appropriate act with a staffer as was rumored at the time?) or the real reasons why pompous Peter Gammons, another longtime ESPN baseball personality moved to the MLB Network. I would like to have known if Gammons was fired or whether was it his decision.

Congratulations to the voice of CBS Sports, Jim Nantz, on his induction into the Football Hall of Fame in Canton next month. Jim is as approachable a big name sportscaster as you’ll ever meet and has been tireless is his ability to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Disease research.

One of the original faces of SNY, Steve Overmyer, who inexplicably dropped by them along with such fine talent as Kenny Choi and Cedarhurst’s own Matt Yallof, has resurfaced doing fill-in work at WCBS-TV. Overmyer has a clever wit and has been sorely missed.

At age 24, Graham Bensinger could be the next Roy Firestone. He has quickly become one of sports best interviewers. You can see him on Yahoo Sports and hear him on Sirius XM.

Call me an old fogy in this iPod age, but there is nothing like listening to a ballgame on the AM dial on a Radio Shack pocket radio.

On the topic of radios, Eton Corporation in conjunction with the American Red Cross is marketing a self-powered AM-FM Radio that can also recharge your cell phone. Eton has also come out with a Road Torq self-powered flashlight that is particularly handy at night if you have to change a tire or flag down assistance. It is a crummy feeling to find a flashlight whose batteries are dead when you need it the most.

A vast majority of us do our late night sports viewing from the comfort of our beds. The quality of the mattress is obviously important to both sleep and for your back when watching your TV from your bed. Just as crucial in those areas are the quality of bed sheets and pillowcases. Luxor Linens uses highest thread count Egyptian cotton for its bed sheets, pillow cases and bath towels. The company also makes bathrobes that make you fell like Hef at the Playboy Mansion.

Posted under Carlos Beltran, Cheap Suit, Clint Hurdle, Conventional Wisdom, David Wright, Frank Mccourt, Johan Santana, Jose Reyes, Leo Durocher, Lloyd Carroll, Manager Don, Mets Gm, Mickey Mantle, Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets, Nl Central, Rod Rodriguez, Sandy Alderson, Short Fuse, Top Story

This post was written by Lloyd Carroll on July 9, 2011

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