A Reason to Root for Each Playoff Team to Win the World Series
There are roughly two weeks left of regular season baseball and unfortunately for us, we already have a pretty good sense of who will be sticking around for the postseason. The the lack of tight races down the stretch does afford us the ability to look ahead. With that in mind, what is one reason to root for each playoff team to win the World Series?
Boston Red Sox
The David Price Redemption Story
Price has had a rough go of it so far in Boston between his disappointing play, tumultuous relationship with the media, and flirtation with the disabled list. But Price is set to reinvent himself in the postseason as an Andrew Miller type. The Red Sox plan to use Price as a super reliever come playoff time, using him in high leverage situations just as the Indians did with Miller a year ago. If Price is able to succeed in this role and help guide Boston to a championship, all will be forgotten, and Price will have successfully moved on to the next stage of his career. Could this strategy even be the cure to his own woes as a playoff pitcher? Time will tell.
Confirmation of Success
Despite the absurdity of the legendary Indians 22 game win streak, it will surely be left as an afterthought if the Cleveland cannot capitalize and win the World Series this season. All the tools are there- the rotation is dynamite, the bullpen is flush with talent, and the lineup is as dynamic as they come. And that’s without mentioning that the Indians have one of the game’s best managers in Terry Francona. The Indians came tantalizingly close to winning it all a year ago, blowing a 3-1 World Series to the Chicago Cubs and failing to complete what would have been a historic Game 7 comeback. It has now been 68 years since the Indians last won a title, the longest drought in all of Major League Baseball. It would be great to see Cleveland win the World Series in the same year as a 22 game win steak. Maybe they’ll even make a movie out of it.
Justin Verlander Might Finally Get a World Series Ring
In a career that will lead Verlander to Cooperstown, the one thing missing is a World Series victory. And although it’d be heartbreaking for the Detroit faithful to see him win it all with another team, Verlander is in prime position to do so. Not only is this the most talented group of position players he’s ever been around, Verlander himself is dealing. In three starts for the Astros, Verlander has thrown 21 innings, owns a 0.86 ERA, and has dominated with a 26 to 3 K/BB ratio. If Houston goes all the way, Verlander will be a huge reason as to why they did so.
New York Yankees
It’s Been a Century Since They’ve Won in Yankee Years
2009 was the last time the Yankees won a title. As far as “Yankee Years” go, that’s about a century. The Bronx Bombers will likely have to win a wild card game, beat the Indians, and then beat the Red Sox or Astros to even get there, but don’t count out this young Yankees roster. They have similar characteristics to the 2015 Kansas City Royals team in that their starting rotation possesses question marks but they carry a dominant bullpen. As weird as it is to consider, the Yankees could be the surprise team of the 2017 postseason.
Quite frankly, it will be pretty close to impossible for the Twins to pull of a World Series run, but Colon is one reason to hope that they do. Big Sexy has at times been awful and at times been magnificent for the Twins, all the more part of his charm. A resurgent Byron Buxton also gives baseball fans something to watch for this October.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Mike Trout on the Grand Stage
Consider how hard it is to be 26 years old, the greatest player of your generation, and possibly even the greatest player of all time but somehow fly under the radar. Somehow, that’s where we are with Mike Trout. This is mostly due to the inept Angels front office that has failed to put solid enough teams around Trout to get him to the postseason. Only 1.5 games back of the Twins for the second wild card, we could see Trout and the Angels square off with the Yankees in a one game playoff. Sounds like baseball heaven to me.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw’s Legacy
It’s the same blemish that held Alex Rodriguez back for so long- Hall of Fame success in the regular season, but sub-par performance in the playoffs. Kershaw is one legendary postseason away from being in the conversation as the greatest starting pitcher of all time. He deserves this, and we deserve this.
Bryce Harper is Making Baseball Fun Again
Throw him all the shade you want, but it’s undeniable that Harper is the most exciting player in the game. Let’s hope that he can come back healthy for the playoffs, because watching him play deep into the October would be a joy to watch for baseball fans. Expect Harper and the Nats to give the Dodgers a run for their money.
A Potential Dynasty
It’s entirely possible that the Cubs will go from a 108 year World Series drought to a legitimate dynasty thanks to the genius of Theo Epstein. No, the Cubs are not as good as they were last year. But they’re still one of the best teams in the National League and very capable of winning the pennant if their starting pitching can get hot. Jose Quintana will be the X-factor come postseason time.
Paul Goldschmidt Deserves Some National Attention
Goldy is severely underrated because for the majority of his career as a consequence of playing on a bunch of bad Diamondbacks teams. This year, he’s batting .303/.408/.576 with 35 home runs and 115 runs batted in- he could win the National League MVP. Goldschmidt will finally get the opportunity to showcase his skills to a national audience. Can’t wait.
More Rockies baseball means more runs. Colorado possesses a potent offense and an unproven pitching staff, making for some high scoring games. Nolan Arenado leads the charge for the Rockies, and it would not be surprising to see the third baseman have a Daniel Murphy type of postseason.