MLB Playoffs 2016 Q & A
As someone who roots for the Yankees, this is probably the worst postseason to watch in decades. How could FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) not be setting in? There are three AL East rivals, with the Orioles, Blue Jays, and hated Red Sox; current (Mets) and former (Dodgers & Giants) New York inhabitants; the Rangers and Nationals, who were terrible all throughout the recent Yankee glory years; and then of course, the two cursed teams, the Cubs and Indians. But once you get past that and think of it from strictly a baseball and entertainment perspective, this is one of the most anticipated playoff fields in a very long time. Storylines abound and the potential matchups are as tasty as they are plentiful. 12 Teams, 11 will end up unhappy, 10 Questions and Answers for the MLB Postseason
1. Pretty simple, who's going to win the American League Wild Card game? Neither team has a big advantage in any category; so I am going to take the easy way out and go with the home team Blue Jays. The Rogers Centre crowd seems to give this team an incredible lift, particularly during the postseason, and I expect a slugfest of a game ending with Toronto getting one more big hit late. 2. It's an even year.. will the Giants once again grind their way to another Pennant and World Series championship? In a word, no... but I do think the Giants win the big ace showdown in Queens on Wednesday night against the Mets. MadBum outduels Thor and they move on to face the Cubbies. 3. Why is David Ortiz even retiring? To be honest, I have no idea. He's had one of the best final years in MLB history and has basically cemented his place into the Hall of Fame. I naturally despised him as a Yankee fan, but just like was shown in his last game at Yankee Stadium last week, I have no choice but to give a tip of the cap and profound respect to the man at his incredible career. 4. So, what a fairy tale ending...Ortiz wins his 4th World Series and rides off into the sunset right? Actually, not so fast..upset alert! Admittedly with my heart, but give me the Indians in a decisive 5th game. People forget that Terry Francona was the manager that helped break the curse, and he was unceremoniously dispatched by the Sox a few years ago. Somehow, he shrewedly gets the Indians past his old team for some sweet revenge. 5. The Rangers went an impressive 53-28 at home in the regular season to finish the year with the AL's top record for the first time. Will that be enough to put them back into the ALCS? Yes, but it is going to be another dogfight with the Blue Jays. The Rangers have to be stinging with how last year ended and the Bautista Bat Flip heard and seen around the world. I think with Darvish back this year and the midseason trades for Beltran and Lucroy that have bolstered their lineup, they will pay back the Blue Jays and win the series in 5 games. 6. Can Clayton Kershaw finally exorcise his playoff demons? Yes, or at least I say he does it at least in Game 1 against the Nationals. I admit, this is the series that I just have zero feel for. Any result in any number of games is truly possible, but the Dodgers' division championship while having their ace on the shelf for essentially half the season was an incredible achievement. I say Dodgers in 4. 7. The Cubs can't win 103 games and lose in the Division Series, right? Well, they are the Cubs so of course they can lose...will they though? Nope...I just cannot see how the Giants can hang with the Cubs when they will likely only get one start from Bumgarner. The Giants' bullpen has been a huge red flag since the All-Star break as well. I think the Cubs take care of business in 4. 8. So, I picked against the Red Sox and ruined the dream World Series. Who is going to win this now uninteresting ALCS? Well, I disagree that it is uninteresting but granted, it probably is not what TBS is rooting for. In any case, I'm going to double down and go with the Indians here again. It's Cleveland's year, right?! (Well...not the Browns) But, give me the Indians back in the World Series for the first time since that Game 7 heartbreak in 1997. 9. Will the Dodgers go 2003 Marlins and stop the Cubs in the NLCS? Nope...I don't see enough firepower on the mound or even in the batters' box for Los Angeles to stop the Cubs. Ironically, with the Dodgers' success this year, this year's team may have been the least built for playoff success than the ones from the last few years. The Dodgers can definitely hang and I think they bring it back to Chicago; and it will be interesting to see if they could push it to a seventh game and put that overwhelming pressure on to the backs of the Cubs. But I think Chicago wins their first pennant in 71 years, and they do it in 6. 10. Which long miserable and tortured fan base will finally win the World Series again? The Chicago Cubs finally do it..and they do it in 5 games in front of their home fans on the North Side, setting off a celebration 108 years in the making. Cleveland baseball fans are left heartbroken again, but at least they have LeBron. Jon Lester had a terrific September and he continues, getting the nod for Series MVP and Theo Epstein cements his place as the best baseball architect of all time. Thus, it is now guaranteed that the Cubs' curse will continue for one more year! Enjoy it!
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