Thanksgiving is in November, Star Wars Episode VII is coming out in December, and in January I’m turning 21 (Hip! Hip!...), but this is October. The smell of beer, the mouthwatering taste of a good ballpark hot dog and the adrenaline highs of obese, hairy men wearing the baseball jerseys of players half their age still has the spotlight.
Over the past five seasons the baseball world has seen a spike in young talent waiting to take the stage in October’s bright lights. This year, many of those stars finally have their chance to reach the pinnacle of the baseball world. Along with players like Noah Syndergaard (23), Kris Bryant (23), and Eric Hosmer (25) comes the rise of teams that most of us had completely forgotten were still in existence.
The Kansas City Royals have made the postseason two times in as many seasons after not making the playoffs since 1985, the New York Mets have had to wait 9 years, and the last time the Cubs won the World Series Theodore Roosevelt was president and Henry Ford was the biggest name in engineering. Sad, I know. So now please allow me to give you the rundown on the ways each team could come away with a big ol’ trophy at the end of October.
First, let’s all take part in a moment of silence for my beloved Yankees. … Thank you. Let’s now focus on the New York Mets (the other team from New York). The Mets, to my shame, are my frontrunners to win it all. They have an incredible pitching staff lead by rising superstars Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz.
This rotation has combined to have the highest percentage of balls thrown 95 MPH or more in all of Major League Baseball. That is to say, they all have cannons for arms. This young pitching staff full of aces beat two of the best pitchers in the National League, Zach Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, in the NLDS. And with the late acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes, the hot bat of Daniel Murphy, and getting David Wright back from injury, their offense hasn’t had much of a problem scoring runs for them lately.
The Cubs came into the playoffs as the lowest seed, beating out the Pittsburgh Pirates in the WIld Card game. But now, thanks to the masterful pitching of eventual Cy Young Award winner, Jake Arrieta, they have knocked out the number one seed Cardinals in the NLDS. Now facing the Mets in the NLCS, one step away from a World Series appearance, their young core of exciting and explosive bats, led by Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, has their hardest challenge of the season yet. Kris Bryant shattered the Cubs record for homeruns by a rookie and Rizzo is a potential MVP candidate. However, the Mets rotation has silenced the great bats many time this season already. In order to win the series, the Cubs are going to have to find a way to knockout the Mets starters early in the game and get to the bullpen, a weakness of the Mets, then maybe they have a chance to rack up some runs.
In the AL, we started the playoffs with have a couple of teams from Texas, a team from Kansas City (which is actually in Missouri) and a team from Canada (homeland of J-Biebs and Dudley Do-Right).
Both the teams from Texas find themselves to be out of the playoffs early this year, similarly losing to their opponents in game 5 of the ALDS. The Rangers despite having an unexpectedly great regular season, led by their veteran big boppers Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre, completely choked in the bottom of the 7th inning in game 5 after gaining a late game lead in the top of the inning (It was hard to watch... Sorry Swithers.) Houston, AKA Hustle-Town, containing a core groups of young and scrappy players led by the 5-foot-6-inch AL Batting Champion Jose Altuve and the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year in the AL, Carlos Correa, and the probable American League Cy Young winner, Dallas Keuchel, lost a great series against the reigning American League champions, the Royals. Expect to see a lot more of them in October over next 5 years.
The Royals are a team very similar to the Astros in that they have a tight group of talented players at the heart of their roster. They have perhaps the best chemistry of any team in recent memory, and seem to be hitting their stride at just the right time. In defeating the Astros in a great series of 5 games, I believe the Royals hit their stride, getting hot at just the right time (sound familiar?). I have the Royals, who have jumped out to an early lead against the Blue Jays in the ALCS, beating the Jays in 5 en route to their second consecutive World Series appearance.
That leaves the Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays had a historically great second half after acquiring big name players at the trade deadline. However, being down early in the series against the Royals,they’re going to need a few things to start happening. Troy Tulowitzki has to start getting on base at the top of their lineup (Currently batting .182 in the Postseason), R.A. Dickey has to turn in a 2012-esque performance and David Price needs to get rid of his postseason jitters (2-7 in the postseason in his career with a 5.25 ERA). If all of these things happen, then maybe they have a chance against the Royals, but I don’t see that happening this year. Sorry, but I’m not ashamed to say that I’m still bitter about them beating out the Yankees for the AL East title.
So there you have it. You can agree, disagree, or just talk about it over some yummy Chartwells chow for the next few weeks because once November rolls around we’re going to have to shift our attention back to Donald Trump. Enjoy it while it lasts. Go Scots.