by Matt Fischer
Now that we’re past the All-Star Game, it’s time to look ahead at the second half of the 2013 Major League Baseball season and World Series. I’m going to go through which five teams I think are the best opportunities to cash a ticket when the World Series ends. Here are my five best bets to be crowned 2013 World Series Champs:
1) Detroit Tigers (3/1) – The Tigers know how to win the postseason and have the best hitter and pitcher in baseball. I will be stunned if this team doesn’t cruise through the playoffs. Miguel Cabrera is having another stellar year and as hard as it is to believe he could be headed for back-to-back triple crowns. Max Scherzer has been lights out on the mound. He’s dominating this season and will be their playoff ace. A Scherzer/Justin Verlander one-two punch in the postseason is going to be very difficult to beat. Being first in team batting average, second in runs scored, third in run differential make this a strong contender for the title.
2) St. Louis Cardinals (7/2) – The Cardinals have the best top to bottom lineup in the National League. While they have the best record in MLB right now, I have concerns with their pitching right now. Adam Wainright has been tremendous but the rest of the staff has been sliding since a great start. I think they need to make a move to bolster their pitching if they’re going to win the World Series. I think they’re slight favorites in a wide open National League. Shelby Miller is the key to their postseason success.
3) Cincinnati Reds (6/1) – The Reds have given up some games late this season that have kept them from the top of the NL Central. I see them as a second half team and won’t be shocked to see them overtake the Pirates and challenge the Cardinals for the division title. I think they need to make a move to improve their pitching also. The Pirates will face so I expect them to jockey with the Cardinals the rest of the way for homefield throughout the National League Playoffs.
4) Boston Red Sox (17/4) – The Sox have the best record in the AL at the break and are second in run differential and team batting average. My concern is their pitching. I don’t think they have the ace that can go out and challenge the Tigers in a series. They’re a team that seems to be playing with purpose and I think will hold on to win the AL East but will have a tough time advancing to the World Series.
5) Los Angeles Dodgers (17/4) – The Dodgers are trying to win. They’ve already made one move to improve their pitching staff and I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t make another move. They’re offense is too inconsistent to move them up and see them a legit contender. They’re 20th in run differential at (-18) which isn’t a good sign. I think Puig mania fades in the second half and he cools down some. With Clayton Kershaw though, they’ve got an ace they can trot out and he’ll give them a shot at winning the divisional round but advancing past that seems like a long shot right now.
The AL showed in last night’s All-Star Game they’re the better league and with homefield I expect them to take the World Series this year. Look for the Tigers and Cardinals to play another World Series but the trophy will go to Detroit.