Now that the silliness of all the tiebreaker/1-game playoff nonsense is over, the Divisional Series of the MLB Playoffs are poised to begin. 8 of baseball’s finest clubs will be going head to head throughout the month of October to determine who will be the next World Series champions. Will it be the upstart Los Angeles Dodgers, who seemingly bought their ticket to the playoffs with big-name acquisitions? Or could the small-market Pittsburgh Pirates continue on a legendary run that has defied all logic this entire season? Or perhaps the Detroit Tigers could finally win it all, after looking woeful in last season’s 4-game sweep against the San Francisco Giants in the Series?
Predicting the winner of this tournament is really a tough feat. All the clubs involved have had sensational years (each with their own heartwarming tale), and each and every one of them could logically take the title. The games in October are won by heroics; the bottom of the 9th home run that carries a team from the brink of elimination, the incredible complete-game pitching display by a team’s 3rd starter, the bit-part player who pinch hits to spark a big inning, or the costly error that befuddles an entire team into disarray. Anything can happen during October baseball, and that’s why it is so darn fun! It also makes predicting the champion a challenging endeavor.
But anyways, I’ll give my prediction for this year’s MLB champions based on a hunch alone, and my full confidence lies in the Tampa Bay Rays. Through their late season heroics, the Rays have now conquered two 1-game series with dominating pitching, brilliant base running, and a hard-hitting lineup full of key players.
Since pitching wins championships, let’s start with the Rays’ pitching staff. David Price is an ace. Alex Cobb is a rising star. Matt Moore and Chris Archer are fully capable of starting playoff games. Therefore, their starters will do fine. In the bullpen, they are strong as well and capped off with closer Fernando Rodney, whose tilted hat brings an element of style to the end of Rays’ games.
The hitters on the team are excellent as well, and the team gets RBI support all the way down the lineup. Evan Longoria is the star player and can hit a fair bit of home runs. American League Rookie of the Year candidate Wil Myers hits near .300 and can help put guys aboard. Defensively, the team is wonderful. They made the second fewest errors in the Major Leagues and will certainly support their more-than-capable pitching staff.
Basically stated, this team has all the tools needed to win baseball games. But so do basically all the other teams in the playoffs, so what sets the Rays apart? I like the fact that they have been here before, and their past failures will have made them extra-hungry. Also, this is the first season that they really do have a great squad in every position, meaning that they will be able to compete against the best. Also, the post-season began roughly a month ago for the Rays, as the AL Wildcard race went down to the wire, and the team persevered and is now on a roll. Heading into October, the hottest team is usually the one that wins it all!
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