2014 MLB Postseason Preview

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After 6 months there are only ten teams left fighting for the World Series crown as they came through the season as the best teams in the league. It was a great race this year as it went down to the last day to determine some of the last teams and the positioning. The last day of the season had four teams trying to work their way into the best spot possible to take a post season spot. Now with the race finally finished it is time to play October baseball where legends are created. October is the most important time of the MLB season as it is the best that the league has to offer. The best teams with the best players all take focus as they try to achieve a lifelong goal and win the World Series. The With only a few games going on at any time the focus on the teams and the players is more than it has seen all season. That is when the best of baseball comes out as they have to limit mistakes with little room for error. After months where one or two mistakes means nothing on the larger scale everything changes. Now with a wild card game and small series a mistake can make the difference between moving on to the World Series or being eliminated before the postseason even started. It is the moment when the best players have to step up and be the best players as they are watched closely to lead their team. As the games get more important it can be a tough thing of players to adjust as they go from a sport that can be very relaxed at times to the intensity of the postseason. That can put players in a tough spot as they can fall just short of their expectations when the pressure gets to them. Those players that can get through the pressure are the ones that can lead their teams to get them towards the World Series are the players who become legends. This year there are plenty of players who could take that step as they are already great players but have yet to make a real impression in the biggest stage of all. Two such players will be looking to guide their teams to the World Series in hopes of facing each other when it comes to the end. Mike Trout and Andrew McCutcheon are two of the best young players in the MLB and yet neither has been able to do much in the postseason. They will get another chance this year as Trout tries to lead the Los Angeles Angels as the top team in the American League. If he hopes to become the next face of baseball like many believe he can this postseason could be the chance he needs to break out as the true best player in the game. Meanwhile the Pittsburgh Pirates look towards their top player in Andrew McCutcheon. That will be a bit tougher as they has to help them through the wild card game as one of the bottom teams in the National League. The former MVP has still remained overlooked for most of his time but this postseason could be the time he steps into the spotlight. These players and many more will be trying to find their way to the World Series as someone will come out with a big performance as ten teams now try to end their marathon of a season with one last frantic month of baseball where the end goal is to become World Champions.

 

American League

American-League

The American League has been a strong one for many years and as always has been the place of offence. After three years of losing the World Series to the consistency of the Giants and Cardinals the AL finally got a win when the Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2013. Now the American League is looking to get their second World Championship in a row although they will be without the reigning champs. The Boston Red Sox did not have the season that was expected of them this year as they fell to the bottom of the division and didn’t compete for the top spot. In their place is the Baltimore Orioles who took the Al East tile for the first time since 1997. It was a long time coming for the Orioles who were expected to take the division in the last few years as a young team found their own. They seemed to always fall just short of winning the division but this year finally earned the title and will go into the postseason looking to make an impact. They won’t be the top team though as the Los Angeles Angels needed to be the best team in the AL to win their division. A long fight with the Oakland Athletics finally ended in the last month of the season as they took the West title from a team that many expected to win with the fall of the Texas Rangers. Despite losing the division crown the Athletics still made it in on the last day of the season. It was a bit of a disappointing season for the A’s who could not win the division but still made it into the postseason with a chance at the World Series. As the West fought it out not only for a division crown but for the top spot in the American League, the Central had a battle that was quite unusual. The Detroit Tigers have been the dominant team in the Central for years winning the last three titles by a wide margin. This year was different though as the grip from the Tigers loosened in the second half of the season allowing the Kansas City Royals a chance to win the division and break a long postseason drought. The Tigers took the title in a tight battle while the Royals ended a long postseason drought by earning a wild card berth and making the postseason for the first time since 1985. The Royals will look to surprise everyone by earning a win in the Wild Card and making noise in the AL postseason. The American League is looking to make it two in a row this year as the Angels, Orioles, Tigers, Royals, and Athletics all look to win the World Series keeping the AL on top.

The Top team in the league is more on the offensive side as the Angels have one of the best offences in the league putting up more runs than any other team in the league. The pitching staff is a different story though as Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson are good but not the gamebreakers that can win games by themselves and the rest of the rotation is a massive question mark with an injured Matt Shoemaker still not 100% while Hector Santiago and Cory Rasmus are not sure bets. The Baltimore Orioles are a team that has given the Angels a run for their money in the offensive category as they are the best power ball team in the league. They rely on the power a lot and even without their best hitters in Matt Weiters, Manny Machado, and Chris Davis they remain a powerful team. Their pitching staff is not the best without a true ace to lean on when it comes down to a must win game although they still have a good overall rotation. The Detroit Tigers did things like they always have with a dominant rotation that now includes the last three Cy Young Award winners in the American League. That is where the pitching dominance ends though as their bullpen is iffy at best and cannot save them many games putting a lot of pressure on the rotation. Their offence is still good with Miguel Cabrera being Miguel Cabrera while J.D. Martinez and Victor Martinez have provided a good middle of the lineup but beyond that there is not a lot. In the wild card the Oakland A’s will take their rebuilt pitching staff into the postseason. After added Jeff Samardzija and Jon Lester this year the A’s have one of the best rotations in the postseason although their small ball offence could hurt them. Their opponents will have much of the same as the Royals will rely heavily on a rotation led by James Shields while their offence is lacking power. With this mix of teams the American League is in for a great fight as either offence or defence will come out on top.

 

al_prediction

National League

National-League

It was a dominant run for the National League that finally came to an end last year as they won three World Series in a row. That time ended last year when the St. Louis Cardinals lost to the Boston Red Sox, a very inspired team with a great performance. Carrying the torch for the National League in the last few years has been only two teams to make the World Series from the National League in the last four years, the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants. The Cardinals once again took their division crown after a close battle that was not expected at the start of the season. The Central was turning into a great division and in the preseason it was expected that they would have a great battle, then the Milwaukee Brewers came out to a big lead. The Brewers dominated the Central until the second half where they fell fast leaving it open for a fight. That fight was won by the Cardinals who return to the World Series after losing a year ago. As the Cards return as division champions the San Francisco Giants return as a Wild Card team after their own tight battle. They came out to a good start to the season but could not sustain it through the entire year instead relenting to their longtime rival in the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers took the division continuing their rise from forgettable team to a true power in the MLB. They will try to take the next step as a division champion as they try to take the hype that they have built up and look to prove that it is there for a reason. After years of being considered one of the best teams they have another chance to prove it after disappointing in the last few seasons. As good as the Dodgers and Cardinals have been neither have been good enough to find their way to the top of the league. In that spot was the Washington Nationals who would not disappoint many experts this time around. Last year they were considered World Series favourites but missed the postseason in a disappointing season. This year the talk surrounding them was not as widespread and they did what every thought they could have done last year. They look to continue that pattern in the postseason as they stay under the radar as the best team in the National League but try to make plenty of noise throughout the postseason. Rounding out the National League will be the Pittsburgh Pirates who continue their resurgence by making another postseason. They couldn’t take advantage of the Brewers and their fall losing the division title to the Cardinals. Still they made it in and will try to get to the World Series despite coming from the bottom.

The National League is a bit different than the American League as the top team is still an offensive one but built differently. The Washington Nationals lineup is not overly powerful or a small ball team, yet they can get runs multiple was and just have enough guys in the lineup to make it difficult for pitchers. Then there is their pitching staff that is the best in the postseason. The building block of Stephen Strasburg is showing why he was a can’t-miss prospect and along with George Zimmerman and offseason addition Doug Fister. Right behind them are the Dodgers who have a great offence that struggled to start the year but is getting hot at the right time. The pitching staff is led by Clayton Kershaw, who could be considered the best pitcher in the MLB over the last two years, alongside Zack Greinke to make a devastating one-two punch. The last division champion is a bit different as the St., Louis Cardinals have survived based on their wealth of experience and not necessarily their great team. The pitching rotation is led by Adam Wainwright but not a lot after him thanks to injuries. The offence is the same as they struggle to produce runs but have veterans that know what the postseason is all about and may be able to step up at the right time. Another veteran team sits in the wild card spot as the San Francisco Giants look to their veterans to lead but their veterans might not be able to hide their holes. The pitching rotation is led by Ryan Bumgarner and Jake Peavy but there is not a lot of consistency behind them. The offence has picked things up lately but questions are still there about whether they can continue it in the postseason. Meanwhile the Pittsburgh Pirates have seen a pick-up in offence behind Andrew McCutcheon who doesn’t need to carry the team alone anymore with the emergence of Neil Walker and Josh Harrison. The pitching staff had plenty of injuries this year making them a bit of a question mark but if they can get the performance they expect this rotation could be better than expected. The National League is a pitching driven league and some of the best rotations have made it into the postseason but which offence can break through.

 

nl_prediction

 

World Series:
The American League is a league that is more even than the National League but there is little doubt that the NL has the better teams. Whether Los Angeles or Washington make it to the World Series they will beat whoever they face. In this case it will be Washington who will show that they have the more solid team with very little holes and they will expose the holes of the Oakland Athletics and take the World Series for the first time in franchise history.

ws_prediction

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