By Dave Steinwedel
The spring has arrived and it can only mean one thing; baseball is back. With its return comes the
arguments about who will win and who will hoist the World Series trophy this season. Every year the 30 clubs believe they have a chance to win it all. However, a few like the Cubs, Indians, and Red Sox know it’s World Series or bust for their clubs. Without further delay let us begin this MLB preview. We will begin with the American League East; here is how I see the AL East playing out:
- Red Sox
- Blue Jays
The Red Sox have quite possibly the best rotation in the American League and they have a lineup that 1-9 can score at least 5 runs every night making that combination over the course of a season deadly to any team that faces them. The Orioles are solid but will be hampered by the same things again this year: boom
or bust offense and lackluster starting pitching.
If the Orioles can’t hit the ball out of the park they’re in trouble, and they lack quality depth in the rotation, but they find a way in again. The Rays and Yankees are coming, but they still lack some key pieces. Toronto will have a long season ahead of them, but hey, at least there is hockey up north.
American League Central:
- White Sox
Will the Indians make it back to the World Series or will the heartbreaking loss last World Series catch up with them? The Indians have a good line up and a scary bullpen that will get them through the dog days of the summer; I think they will prevail. However, I see the Tigers being a big threat to the Indians. They must begin to realize their chances of winning the World Series are dwindling. The Twins are a good young team but their bullpen and rotations are going to hold them back. Also, the door has closed on the Royals this go around as their issues will outweigh their talent. The White Sox as still rebuilding, and I see them struggling this year.
American League West:
There is no clear cut favorite here, which makes picking a division winner a challenge. The Astros are a young talented team, but I wonder if they have enough starting pitching to win it all; the Angels have the same dilemma. The Rangers could win it, but they can’t hold a lead late in a game even if they tried. Neither the A’s nor the Mariners have the pitching to get the job done either.
National League East:
This division is a two horse race between the Nationals and Mets. The Nationals have more offense then the Mets, but the Mets have the best young pitching rotation in baseball. I believe the Nationals will find a way to get it done and take the division. Better luck next year Marlins. Better luck in three years, Phillies and Braves.
National League Central:
The Cubs will win this division again, but it will not be as easy as last year. The Pirates are coming up fast. They have enough offense to match the Cubs but do lack in the starting pitching that will put the Cubs over the top. The Reds are playing well now, but come August they won’t be. The Cardinals can’t hit. They don’t have the starting pitching capable of overcoming that. When you can’t score runs you won’t win games no matter the month. The Brewers are an interesting case because no one saw this team as a contender, yet they have some solid young players that will help them stay afloat in the NL Central, it also helps that the Cardinals are bad this year.
National League West:
This division is easy to pick as the Dodgers are the clear cut favorite in the West. The Dodgers only problem will come at the hands of their starting rotation, as it is an aged staff. If they can’t last a whole year it might open the door for the Rockies or the Giants. However it is more likely to be the Rockies because the Giants can’t hold a lead as well, just like the Rangers. The Rockies will benefit from playing in Colorado 81 times a year and that offense will be knocking the ball out of the park come July. Padres are rebuilding but could be a thorn in the Dodgers side come September. The Diamondbacks are the flavor of the month right now, but I don’t see staying power with that starting rotation as it will cost them in crunch time.
Wild Card teams in the American League: Orioles vs. Angels
Wild Card teams in the National League: Rockies vs Mets
American League Championship: Red Sox vs Indians, National League: Nationals vs Cubs
World Series: Indians vs Nationals. Champion: Indians in 6.
I don’t see the Indians suffering from a hangover as they will be able to make it back to the World Series and will win it all. They have the best bullpen in the American League and Terry Francona, the Indians manager, always finds a way to put the best guy in the best spot when it is crunch time. I think he will find a way to help get Cleveland another trophy, and no, it won’t come from LeBron James.
Unlike most other sports, baseball has a long and grueling season. Teams will go through ups and downs. The good teams will find ways to limit losing streaks and stay on top. Another great season is under way. Good luck to all the teams.