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The MLB Season So Far: Highlights and Showstoppers

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The 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) season has been a rollercoaster ride of surprises, showstoppers, and record-breaking performances. This season has been nothing short of exciting, from the Atlanta Braves’ impressive winning streak to the unexpected rise of underdogs. Let’s delve into the best performances of the 2023 MLB season so far.

The Atlanta Braves’ Winning Streak and Betting Odds

The 2021 World champions have been on fire this season, boasting an impressive 8-game winning streak on two separate occasions. They have a sizable lead in the NL East and have posted a +117 run differential.

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Their consistent performance has not only won them fans but also placed them at the top of the betting odds for the World Series. The Braves entered the season with the sixth-best odds at +900, but their stellar performance has seen them rise to the top with odds of +350. The Atlanta Braves betting odds are a testament to their potential and the faith that fans and bettors alike have in them.

The Surprising Performance of the Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays began the season with a bang, tying the modern-day MLB record with 13 consecutive wins to open the year. They’ve outperformed expectations, leading all of baseball with 56 wins and the American League with 124 home runs. With MVP candidate Wander Franco and Cy Young contender Shane McClanahan, the Rays have a great opportunity to make their third World Series appearance and perhaps breakthrough with their first championship.

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The Rise of Underdogs

This season has seen the rise of several underdogs, most notably the Texas Rangers and the Miami Marlins. The Rangers are seeking their first winning season and playoff appearance since 2016 and currently lead the World Series champion Houston Astros by five games in the AL West. 

On the other side, the Marlins have been unbeatable in one-run games, boasting a perfect 12-0 record. They currently sit at 47-34, in first place in the NL Wild Card race. Other surprise teams have made headlines, including the Baltimore Orioles (48-31), the Arizona Diamondbacks (48-34), and the Cincinnati Reds (43-38).

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Showstopper Performances

The Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. is leading the way for the NL MVP race, and is on pace for 32 home runs and 70 steals. He is among a talented group of up-and-coming Braves stars like Michael Harris II and Austin Riley having a solid year. 

It’s no surprise that the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani is on pace to win his second AL MVP Award. Batting .309, Ohtani ranks first in slugging percentage (.666), first in OPS (1.057), first in home runs (29), first in total bases (209), and first in RBIs (66). And that’s just his offense; Ohtani also ranks among the league leaders in several categories from the mound, including third in total strikeouts with 127.

The Impact of Injuries

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ Nick Burdi and Chicago Cubs’ Ethan Roberts, both relief pitchers, are sidelined until July 23 and September 1, respectively. White Sox’s third baseman Yoan Moncada and Angels’ Anthony Rendon are recuperating from injuries until July 4 and 5, respectively. Miami Marlins’ outfielder, Ben Joyce, is out until July 14, while their relief pitcher Zachary Neto is expected to return by July 5. These injuries will undoubtedly affect team performances, paving the way for emerging talents to step up and fill the void.

Record-Breaking Statistics

Braves sensation Spencer Strider has taken the league by storm, recording 146 strikeouts by mid-June, including an unforgettable 13-strikeout game against the Marlins on April 24. On May 28, he became the fastest player in MLB history to reach 100 strikeouts in a season. At 9-2 with a 3.73 ERA, Strider has helped transform the Braves pitching staff from a weakness to a strength. 

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