As we enter the MLB playoffs, it’s anyone’s game. In fact, it’s so tight that the last spot on the American League side had to be decided with a 163rd game.
Baseball is not dead, as a Monday New York Times article proclaimed. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Baseball is thriving.
This year’s postseason is a familiar story. There’s the team that bought all the best players (Dodgers), the boring, all-around solid team (Cardinals), the bounce-back team (Red Sox) and the Cinderella (Pirates; first appearance in 21 years). And each team has components that are compelling to watch.
The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw is far and away the best pitcher in baseball, Pirates starter Francisco Liriano finally stayed healthy for a full year and dominated, Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals came out of nowhere to post near-MVP numbers and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, with whom some Sox fans were finished a year ago, posted a .273 average and 14 home runs.
How about a potential Rookie of the Year getting traded mid-season? Jose Iglesias was dealt from Boston to Detroit this summer, and if both advance to the next round, the two teams will face each other.
There are endless storylines to talk about this postseason. It is going to be great television.
To me, the Dodgers have what it takes to win it all. We’ve seen the Yankees buy championships, why can’t Los Angeles? They have one of the league’s best players in Hanley Ramirez, a sparkplug in Yasiel Puig, consistency in Adrian Gonzalez and a well-rounded rotation around Kershaw.
The only eyesores in the Dodgers’ lineup are Mark Ellis and AJ Ellis; at least, one would think. Both are hitting at least .270 this year, low for the high-powered L.A. lineup.
The most telling is the stretch they had a few months ago, winning 37 of 45 games. It shows the chemistry needed by an assembled cast of stars like this one. Often times the pieces don’t fit, as the Yankees learned for a stretch in the early 2000s, and it’s a struggle. It hurts when so much money is invested in a club that is not clicking, but the Dodgers have been music to Magic Johnson’s ears.
I’m picking the Dodgers to win the World Series and I think they’ll meet the A’s there. Even though it’d be a West Coast affair, I do believe this would be good for the game of baseball. The Oakland Coliseum, recently condemned by Bud Selig, would be rocking. The moneyball talk would be at an all-time high. Jonah Hill would be pumping his fist.
Fine, maybe not that last one, but you get my point. The A’s need to get to the World Series to put the perfect bow on what has been one of their most competitive seasons in recent history. There would really be nothing more perfect. Still, I wouldn’t give them too much of a shot to beat Los Angeles.
Clayton Kershaw won’t allow more than six earned runs this postseason. The Dodgers will win the World Series. Mark it down.