Six long months of baseball and roughly 160 games have brought us to late September and very close to the MLB playoffs. Many teams have stood out over the course of the treacherous season and there are a few that are frontrunners to win the World Series come late October.
The first team that has stood out, especially in the last month, is the defending American League Champion, the Cleveland Indians. They are on a historic run, winning 29 of their last 31 games, including 22 consecutive wins. They clinched the AL Central a couple of weeks ago and are the frontrunner to finish with the best record in the AL.
This team, led by their great managing, good starting pitching and timely offense certainly has what it takes to win it all. They pushed the Chicago Cubs to seven games in last year’s World Series and many of the players on that team know what it felt like to come that close and lose. Look for the Indians to come back with a vengeance.
The next team that has to be a favorite to make some noise in the playoffs is the Los Angeles Dodgers. Despite not playing well for the last month or so, the Dodgers are the only team with at least 100 wins. Their team being led by a young manager in Dave Roberts, perhaps the greatest pitcher in the MLB with Clayton Kershaw and an offense with a great cast of stars, including names like Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger should definitely be looked at as the favorite to come out of the National League.
There are a few sleeper teams that have a chance. The first is the Chicago Cubs. Last year’s World Series Champions didn’t have a great regular season, but still ended up clinching the NL Central. Led by the starting pitching trio of Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks and Jake Arietta and a phenomenal lineup led by Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber, the Cubs could make some noise in the playoffs led by one of the best managers in baseball in Joe Madden.
My last sleeper is the Houston Astros. With all of the attention in the AL on the Indians, the Astros have quietly kept pace. They could still end up with the best record in the AL and they have arguably the most talented team in baseball. Led by AL Most Valuable Player candidate Jose Altuve, star shortstop Carlos Correa, Connecticut native George Springer, and one of the best starting rotations in baseball, don’t be surprised if the Astros make the World Series and win it all.
With all of this in mind, I am picking the Indians to face the Dodgers in the World Series with the Indians winning in six games. With Cleveland not having won any championship in any sport since 1964 until last year’s Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA title, a World Series Championship coming back to Cleveland would be huge for not only the franchise but for the city of Cleveland.