With Major League Baseball regular season coming to a close, the chase for the World Series is about to begin. October baseball is one of the most entertaining times on the sports calendar. There are a bunch of quality squads this year from both the American League (AL) and National Leagues (NL). Young, top-notch stars will be able to showcase their talent on the biggest stage of them all.
Team to Beat (NL): Dodgers
The Dodgers have the best record in the MLB right now, and they boast a consistent and talented squad at the plate and on the mound. Future Hall of Fame pitcher Clayton Kershaw has been good all year, posting 18 wins at a 2.21 ERA and will likely win his fourth Cy Young Award this season.
The offense as been led by break-out stars Justin Turner and NL Rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger. Turner has batted .321 on the season and has 21 home runs, while Bellinger has also been a powerhouse, blasting 39 home runs throughout the season. Kershaw and company will be heading into the NL playoffs with home-field advantage. This is probably the best team overall throughout the season, however, the Dodgers are notorious for choking in the playoffs in recent years.
Kershaw has not historically been the shutout ace in October, and that is still a worrisome issue for this team going in. The question stands, can this team finally live up to their potential in October?
Team to Beat (AL): Indians
This Indians team has been good over the last month, winning 27 of their last 28 games, including a 22-game winning streak. They have a good pitching force led by starter Corey Kluber, who has a 2.27 earned run average and 262 strikeouts on the year. This team has been led at the plate by Jose Ramirez, putting together a .317 batting average, bringing in 81 RBIs and crunching 29 home runs on the year.
They also have the home run machine known as Edwin Encarnacion, who has put 39 out of the park this year. Cleveland is easily the strongest looking team right now with their historic winning streak. Will they be able to rid themselves of the misfortune that was the 2016 World Series choke?
Bold Prediction: The Diamondbacks make the World Series
If you look purely at their record, this would not be that surprising. They are currently 90-66 and the third best team in the National League. However, they will probably have to face the juggernaut that is the L.A. Dodgers in the divisional round. The Diamondbacks are led by the golden boy Paul Goldschmidt, who has a .306 batting average and 36 home runs on the year. The real MVPs for the Diamondbacks have been their stellar pitching rotation, led by all-stars Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray.
Greinke has been the comeback kid of the MLB, posting 17 wins and 211 strikeouts in his 31 outings on the mound. He looks to be one of the favorites to win the NL Cy Young Award this year. Robbie Ray is one of the team’s break-out pitchers, posting a 2.95 ERA and 212 strikeouts, as the number two starter behind Greinke.
This squad’s pitching staff is one of the best in the league, and if any team is going to beat the Dodgers and the Nationals, it will be the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Predicted World Series Champs: Houston Astros
This team is finally showing the world why there was so much hype around them in 2016. Their top three hitters are formidable. The team is led by Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer. Altuve has a .348 batting average and 106 RBIs, Correa has a .302 batting average with 21 homers, and George Springer hit 33 home- runs on the year. The pitching staff is led by All-Stars Lance McCullers and Dallas Kueuhel. When you add in powerhouses like Altuve, Correa, and Springer posting MVP-caliber seasons at the plate, and an elite pitching force, this team seems poised to give Houston their first World Series championship.
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