The season is set. The matchups are in order and the favorites are in place. At least according to the odds. According to Bovada.lv, one of the reputable gambling sites out there, has the Toronto Blue Jays at 3/1 odds to win the World Series. Coming in tied for second, is the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals at 5/1 odds. Rounding out the top 5 is Los Angeles Dodgers at 6/1 odds, with the New York Mets at 7/1 odds.
The Wild Card round is set to be a great one! In the National League, it’s the Cubs and Pirates from Pittsburgh on Wednesday evening and in the American League, the Yankees will host the upstart Houston Astros Tuesday at 6pm. Winner of the NL Wild Card plays the Cardinals with the AL Wild Card winner taking on the Royals.
The Astros are young and up and coming and I usually go with the experience, but with the Yankees not being in the playoffs since 2012, this is relatively new for New York as well. I think the Astros have better pitching and should prevail against the Yanks, who have been fading the last month of the regular season, so much so, they almost blew their chance at hosting the Wild Card game, but due to a loss by the Astros the final day of play, New York eeked it out home field advantage.
With the Pirates and Cubs, you just never know what you’re going to get. The Cubs won the season series with these two, but their last matchup wasn’t so kind to Chicago, as Pittsburgh took 2 of 3 games. This is the playoffs though and things change. The shame in all this, for these two teams, is the Pirates and Cubs sport the 2nd and 3rd best record in the majors, but all it gets them is a one game playoff, because the team in front of them won 100 games. Talk about unfair!? However, as they say, that’s why you need to win your division. I like the Pirates in this game, but something tells me that this Cubs team will not go down without a fight. Expect this game to be electric in Pittsburgh.
I feel the winner of the NLDS between the Cardinals vs. Cubs/Pirates will represent the NL in the World Series. That’s how high I am on Pitt and/or Chicago. Plus, when you combine that the NLDS with St. Louis will be a rivalry matchup, it could really set up a great series, maybe one you’d like see in the NLCS, but beggars can’t be choosers I guess.
With that being said, there is still two other teams from the NL, that need to be talked about. The Mets and Dodgers have the great starting pitching you need to perform well in the postseason, but will the middle relief hold tight for both clubs?! If so, both teams really pose a serious threat, but I still side with the other half of the LDS series to represent the NL pennant.
As for the AL, I think the Royals are going into the postseason all wrong. Sliding backwards to close the season, the loss of reliever Greg Holland for the season, and Johnny Cueto not quite living up to the trade that was supposed to singlehandedly propel the Royals pitching staff dominance has yet do just that. Though, with all that being said, K.C. still has the best record in the AL, even after a stiff push down the stretch from Toronto and doesn’t have to play in the Wild Card game to move on. Just one year ago, these same Royals were in the Yankees and Astros shoes’, in a due or die type of game that saw them crush up the A’s, and proceed to do the same to the rest of the American League, before being halted by the National League’s Giants.
The road goes through K.C. and I think when it’s said and done, the Blue Jays find a way to get past last year’s AL pennant winner. Sadly, you could argue, the best teams in AL baseball is Toronto and the Texas Rangers and they face off in the ALDS, but even when you think you have the best matchups figured out, a team comes out of nowhere to surprise you. Last year, it was those Kansas City Royals! Does this year open it up for new blood?! A team from Chicago, Houston and Queens would certainly like to think so!
Featured Image by: M F Flaherty