The abrupt end of MLB's Wild Card Round (thanks, Commish!) resulted in a seismic shift in FanGraphs' World Series odds. Several of the Dodgers' chief theoretical competitors were eliminated in a flash, most prominently the Milwaukee Brewers.
Brandon Woodruff was taken off the docket just prior to the start of the postseason, but Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta will now join him on the shelf, with the upstart Diamondbacks heading to Dodger Stadium for the NLDS instead.
Now, with eight teams remaining, the Dodgers still sit behind the NL's purported behemoth, the Atlanta Braves. Unfortunately, Los Angeles also ranks behind the AL's No. 2 seed, the Houston Astros. Once upon a time, entering the last week of the regular season, it seemed like there was at least a minute chance of the 'Stros missing the playoffs entirely. Instead, the Rangers goofed up, Houston earned the AL West title and a bye, and here we are: a 17.1% chance of winning it all.
The Dodgers are ranked third, with a 13.8% chance of reaching the mountaintop.
Dodgers World Series Odds: FanGraphs has Phillies sneaking up on Dodgers
It would stand to reason that the fourth team with a bye would be ranked just behind the Dodgers, but ... nope! Instead, it's the Phillies, given an 11.8% chance to win the Fall Classic.
In theory, this is a minor ding on the Dodgers' resumé. If Atlanta is this much of a runaway favorite (27.9%), then it would stand to reason that the Phils' chances would be diminished based on drawing the Braves in the first round. If FanGraphs' model considered this and still ranked them just behind the Dodgers, that would indicate the projections might prefer the Phils to LA if the two sides advance to face each other.
But, hey, it could be worse. You could be the AL East champion Orioles, given just a 5.4% chance to make it through the playoff bracket.
Of course, Dodgers fans know by now that the game isn't played in hypotheticals. The projections loved last year's record-setting group, and they heartlessly went out swinging at air in San Diego. The Braves were lit up by the upstart Phillies last season. Projections help front offices make deals, but they can't account for superior talent shrinking under bright lights, nor can they tell you when Miguel Rojas is about to motivate a stale clubhouse with tequila shots.
Any way you slice it, the Dodgers are in a comfortable position. Now, it's time for them to take advantage of it.