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World Series 2017: Who are the favorites?

The Major League Baseball season is at its midway point, with the All-Star Game set for Tuesday night in Miami at Marlins Park.

The first half of the campaign has seen some surprises with the Milwaukee Brewers leading the NL Central as the only team above .500 in that division. Then there are the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies, who are currently the two Wild Card teams by a significant margin in the National League. Both Arizona and Colorado were afterthoughts for many when April began, but both would need major collapses not to see October baseball in some fashion.

On the negative side, the New York Mets have been an utter disaster. Injuries to Yoenis Cespedes, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Asdrubal Cabrera, Noah Syndergaard and others have completely destroyed a group with title aspirations in spring training. The Chicago Cubs have also been a mess, sitting two games under .500 despite a roster that includes Javier Baez, Jon Lester, Anthony Rizzo, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Ben Zobrist, Wade Davis, Kyle Schwarber and others.

So, with half the season remaining, which teams stand the best chance to be playing in the World Series three months from now?

The obvious answers are the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros. Los Angeles is 61-29 has one of the best young players in the game with Cody Bellinger, who was called up in the last week of April and somehow has already hit 25 home runs. Jucied baseball or not, Bellinger is on a pace that nobody could have predicted. He has plenty of help around him with the likes of Clayton Kershaw on the mound, alongside Brandon McCarthy and Kenta Maeda. In the lineup, All-Star Justin Turner is headed for a potential batting crown, while Yasiel Puig continues to rake.

Houston only sits a half-game behind Los Angeles for the best record in baseball at 61-30, despite missing four starters out of its rotation for significant amounts of time. Collin McHugh is yet to pitch this season while Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers have each spent time on the disabled list. Still, the Astros are thriving with depth on the mound and an All-Star cast of characters in the lineup. On Tuesday night, three Astros will be in the starting lineup including second baseman Jose Altuve, shortstop Carlos Correa and outfielder George Springer. The trio has been among the most potent in baseball, and should lead a charge deep into October.

There are certainly other challengers. The Washington Nationals are all but assured the NL East title at 52-36 and 9.5 games ahead of the pace. The Boston Red Sox are leading the AL East 3.5 games over the fading New York Yankees, while the Cleveland Indians are beginning to find their footing in the AL Central.

Still, it’s the Dodgers and the Astros, playing head and shoulders above the pack.

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