Courtesy of Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
For some people, fall is when the trees change colors or when apple and pumpkin pies are made. For baseball fans, however, fall signals the start of the Major League Baseball playoffs. This is the time of year when the ten best teams in the league go head to head to be named the victors of the World Series trophy. Each team has played a total of one hundred and sixty-two hard fought games and now finds themselves twelve wins away from the ultimate goal, being crowned Champions. So now, without further adieu, to the predictions:
Wildcard Game Result:
San Francisco Giants: 8
Pittsburgh Pirates: 0
This is not a game to remember if you are a Pirates fan. After all the years of sub-.500 baseball for the Pirates, the Pirates finally looked like contenders this year, only to have their promising season end with an embarrassing 8-0 loss to the Giants, and especially on their home field. On the other hand, as a Giants fan you would be thrilled to see your team propelled into the playoffs with momentum to take on the 96-win Nationals.
NLDS: Washington Nationals Vs. San Fransisco Giants
Giants win the series 3-1
Although many people have the Nationals to win the world series, I believe that the Giant’s postseason experience will help them win the season fairly easily. The Giants have always been in the mix of things the past couple of years, and this year is no different. The Giants pitching staff is lead by All-Star Madison Bumgarner and solidified by veteran pitcher Tim Hudson. Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey will lead the offense in what will be a low scoring series. Even though the Nationals may have a better overall pitching staff on paper, it will all come down to who can handle the pressure and make big plays on a grand stage, and I believe that the Giants will be able to succeed at doing that.
NLDS: Los Angeles Dodgers Vs. St Louis Cardinals
Dodgers win the series 3-2
This could be the year that the Dodgers’ finally get the return for all the money they have spent on signing free agents. Yasiel Puig is a rising superstar in the league and Clayton Kershaw is arguably the best pitcher in the league. Matt Kemp is on fire as of late and will hope to carry that into the playoffs. With that said, you also can not count out the Cardinals, who have been one of the top three most successful teams over the past decade. Lead by their All-Star catcher, Yadier Molina, this veteran line up will not be an easy one to go up against for the Dodgers’ pitching staff. The Cardinals’ pitching staff will also have their work cut out for them, and I don’t believe that they will be able to contain the Dodgers’ star studded line up.
NLCS: Los Angeles Dodgers Vs. San Fransisco Giants
Dodgers win the series 4-2
Nothing is better than a local rivalry in the playoffs. Tensions will be even higher and each team will be fighting for bragging rights. Although the Dodgers have not found success in the playoffs recently, they are a hungry, young team and will have plenty of energy left going into the Championship Series. Along with the young players, clubhouse leaders such as Juan Uribe will need to play their role in keeping the team focused. As for the Giants, along with experience comes age, which is detrimental at this time of the year. With Matt Cain injured, the Giants will need to stay healthy and with an average player age of 30 years old, that might be difficult. With that said, I believe that the Dodgers have better overall depth in the roster, with players like Mike Baxter, and will be able to beat the Giants in six games.
Wildcard Game Result:
Oakland Athletics: 8
Kansas City Royals:
A seesaw affair that has been portrayed by many baseball analysts as the game of the season thus far. Kansas City crushed Oakland’s divisional series dreams with a late rally in the eighth and ninth innings to tie the game and force it into extra innings, where the Royals were able to prevail on a walk off single down the third base line by Salvador Perez in the twelfth inning. Kansas City will now have to carry the momentum generated by such an exhilarating wild card game into their divisional series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who ended the regular season with the best record in the Major Leagues.
ALDS: Los Angeles Angels Vs. Kansas City Royals
Angels win the series 3-0
Come on, let’s be honest: the Kansas City Royals do not stand a chance against the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels dominate the Royals in practically every aspect of the game, besides bullpen and basepath speed. Los Angeles has not only built their team around veterans with a knowledge of baseball and how to win, but they have been able to develop a solid youth squad with a not so deep farm system and an insufficient amount of draft picks. On other hand, Kansas City has “tanked” for the past decade or two and stockpiled many draft picks in order to find a way to win. Ultimately, at the end of it all, pitching wins ball games. The Angels’ pitching rotation is blessed with the dominate talents of players such as Jered Weaver and Matt Shoemaker, and although they lost their possible ace for the season in Garrett Richards, I still see Los Angeles taking care of Kansas City quite easily.
ALDS: Baltimore Orioles Vs. Detroit Tigers
Orioles win the series 3-2
I have not seen such an intriguing postseason matchup on paper in a very long time. The Tigers and Orioles are two very evenly matched teams, and this series can go either way. Baltimore possesses a high powered offense that is capable of putting any amount of runs up on their opposition in a heartbeat. Even without the bats of injured third baseman Manny Machado and suspended first baseman Chris Davis, the Orioles obtain one of the best lineups in baseball. On the other hand, Detroit is notorious for their dominant pitching staff, led by former CY Young Award winner and Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price. Along with Price in the Tigers’ rotation are fellow former CY Young winners Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. Although Detroit has established one of the best pitching rotations in baseball, they have a weak bullpen, and I feel Baltimore will take advantage of this and edge the Tigers in a five game set.
ALCS: Los Angeles Angels Vs. Baltimore Orioles
Orioles win the series 4-3
A matchup between two high powered offenses such as the Angels and Orioles is a dream come true for baseball fans. These two teams are practically replicas of each other, each excelling in different aspects of the game. The Angels possess one of the scariest offenses in baseball, led by the core of their lineup which includes the likes of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Josh Hamilton. The Orioles have mostly obtained the heart of their lineup through wise acquisitions and intelligent financial decisions. Players such as Steve Pearce and Delmon Young have proved vital to the Orioles’ success, although they did not originally cost the team very much to acquire. While the Angels have a deeper pitching rotation, Baltimore’s staff has performed well down the stretch on the backs of starters Wei-Yin Chen and Bud Norris. Unlike the Angels’ bullpen, Baltimore’s back end has consistently performed well. The addition of lefty specialist Andrew Miller and the transition of closer Zach Britton have proved vital for the Orioles down the stretch, and I believe they will make the difference in this Championship Series. Orioles in Seven.
Dodgers win the series 4-1
When it comes down to it, experience in Major League Baseball wins championships, and a team developed around a core of veterans will most likely prevail over a team of newcomers to the show. The Dodgers obtain more star power than any other team in the league, and they also a group of personalities that may conflict with each other at times. Although players such as Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez can be a handful at times for the organization, the Dodgers love the talent that these guys bring to the table and their winning attitude. On the other hand, Baltimore has faced adversity all year long, and constantly been able to overcome it. That will not be the case in the World Series. Baltimore lacks a true leader, which can cost them the series. Although the Dodgers may not have a distinct captain of their team, they have a talented group and a surplus of both offense and pitching, along with a solid bullpen and speed on the basepaths which may prove crucial. The Orioles will not be able to take advantage of the moment, and I feel that the Dodgers will be able to win this series pretty easily. The equilibrium that the Dodgers possess is a thing of beauty, and their well rounded roster and intelligent executive and financial decision making skills will prove worth it when they walk out in five games with a World Series Championship.