Trio of 100-win teams makes October baseball interesting

If last year’s World Series was any indication, October baseball is one of the most exciting events of the sports calendar. This year’s trophy is anyone’s for the taking, with three 100-win squads and a bevy of intriguing matchups. Will your team win the title? Here’s why they will, and why they won’t (wild card teams are excluded).

 

American League

Cleveland Indians (102-60)

Why they will win the World Series: A 22-game win streak is the number one indication that the Indians are ready to exact revenge for their World Series collapse from last year. This year’s Indians squad is better than last year’s, and the pitching staff allowed the fewest runs in the majors.

Why they won’t win the World Series: Cleveland will face stiff competition in either Houston or Boston, as both teams are loaded with young talent. They’ll also need to prove that they can overcome last season’s devastating collapse.

Prediction: Lose in ALCS to Astros, 4-3

 

Houston Astros (101-61)

Why they will win the World Series: MVP candidate Jose Altuve leads the majors’ best lineup, but the addition of ace starter Justin Verlander could give the Astros enough pitching to put them over the top. With the area of Houston still recovering, Houston should be inspired this October.

Why they won’t win the World Series: Houston doesn’t have the playoff pedigree of either Cleveland or Boston and has a more inexperienced manager in A.J. Hinch. They are also sure to face two great teams, the Red Sox and (probably) the Indians.

Prediction: Win World Series over Dodgers, 4-3

 

Boston Red Sox (93-69)

Why they will win the World Series: The Red Sox have a ton of blue-chip talent, from outfielder Mookie Betts to strikeout king Chris Sale to closer Craig Kimbrel. Manager John Farrell has weathered a mid-season controversy and already has one World Series under his belt.

Why they won’t win the World Series: The offense has taken a step back without retired DH David Ortiz, and aside from Sale, the rotation doesn’t match up well with the other top dogs in the AL.

Prediction: Lose in ALDS to Astros, 3-1

 

National League

Los Angeles Dodgers (104-58)

Why they will win the World Series: The Dodgers were the best team in baseball for the majority of the season, even prompting Sports Illustrated to ask if they were the best team ever. While that’s probably not the case, the Dodgers have excellent pitching (cough, cough Clayton Kershaw) and stars scattered throughout the lineup.

Why they won’t win the World Series: Los Angeles limps into the playoffs after a disappointing second-half performance, which included a 10-game losing streak. The Dodgers have a history of choking in the playoffs and don’t have top-tier bats.

Prediction: Lose in World Series to Astros, 4-3

 

Washington Nationals (97-65)

Why they will win the World Series: The Nationals have had some talented teams the past couple years, but this year’s team could be the one to finally get over the hump. Washington (top six in ERA and batting average against) has the pitching staff to dominate in October and may have finally built a reliable bullpen.

Why they won’t win the World Series: The injury bug has bitten the Nats hard. Superstar outfielder Bryce Harper is hitting just .071 since a return from the DL on Sept 26, and the health of starters Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg could spell doom. Plus, the Nationals, and their home city, have a history of disappointing playoff finishes.

Prediction: Lose in NLDS to Cubs, 3-2

 

Chicago Cubs (92-70)

Why they will win the World Series: If the Cubs can rekindle their 2016 playoff magic, the National League could see a repeat champion for the first time since the Phillies in 2009. Chicago certainly has the talent in the lineup and on the mound and has added impact arms in starter Jose Quintana and closer Wade Davis.

Why they won’t win the World Series: Chicago hasn’t found its stride yet, and with so many loaded teams in this year’s playoff field, the Cubs are a long shot to win it all. Also, the rotation has had some questionable performances in September.

Prediction: Lose in NLCS to Dodgers, 4-1

 

World Series Prediction: Houston Astros 4, Los Angeles Dodgers 3

MVP: Carlos Correa, Shortstop, Houston Astros

 

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