The MLB season is so long that it is inevitable for every team to go through rough patches between the beginning and end. The grind of 162 games has already started to take a toll on the heavily-favored Chicago Cubs, who are 7/2 to end their championship drought at online sportsbooks despite losing six of their last nine games.
Since starting the month of May on an 8-1 run, the National League Central-leading Cubs went 5-8 and lost consecutive series for the first time during that stretch. They are being chased by the Pittsburgh Pirates (25/1) and St. Louis Cardinals (28/1), who each finished with better records a year ago but lost to them in the postseason.
However, the lovable losers from the North Side have not been the only team from Chicago to struggle this month. The Chicago White Sox started May by winning six of their first eight games, but they have since dropped 10 of 14 to see their lead in the American League Central cut to just 1.5 games over the Cleveland Indians.
White Sox ace Chris Sale (9-1, 2.26 ERA), the favorite to win his first AL Cy Young Award this year, finally suffered his first loss on Tuesday to the Indians, who have jumped to 22/1 to win the World Series from 33/1 in mid-May. The White Sox were as high as 11/1 before going up to 18/1 following their recent slide.
While both Chicago teams have hit the wall around the same time, some others have started playing their best baseball in May. The San Francisco Giants, who have won the World Series three of the previous six years, had gone 12-1 in their previous 13 games heading into Wednesday to take control of the NL West. The Giants were viewed as the top challenger for the Cubs in the NL during the preseason, and they are finally living up to those expectations in seeing their odds to win the World Series rise from 14/1 to 9/1.
Two NL East teams also pose a major threat to the Cubs’ chances of winning the pennant, as the divisional race between the Washington Nationals and New York Mets could go down to the wire with each possibly making the playoffs. The Mets swept the Cubs in the 2015 NL Championship Series, and they are currently 11/1 to win the World Series this year. The Nats were 10/1 to win it all and have fallen slightly to 11/1.
In the AL, the two other division leaders besides the White Sox have seen their stock rise in addition to the teams directly behind them in the standings. The Boston Red Sox are tied with the Giants as the 9/1 second choice to win the World Series after going 14-7 this month to overtake the Baltimore Orioles for the AL East lead. Boston was previously 12/1 while Baltimore has gone from 25/1 to 20/1.
The Seattle Mariners have seen their odds improve as well, going from 18/1 to 14/1 following a 14-8 May so far. The AL West-leading Mariners own MLB’s best road record at 18-7 yet surprisingly have a losing mark at home. The Texas Rangers have also jumped from 22/1 to 14/1 as the only other AL West team over .500.