The World Series Starts Tonight!
As the biggest baseball fan on the SportsIntel staff, I have been negligent in writing about baseball. I apologize. I think there have been two main items hindering me from writing: 1- I am still distraught over the way the Nats went out of the playoffs, 2- I am super scared the Dodgers are going to win. I absolutely loathe the LA Dodgers.
Devotees will no doubt be aware of my hatred for LA. I mean I obviously haven’t tried to hide it when writing about the Chargers situation. But beyond hating the city and its teams, I especially hate the Dodgers. I have one tattoo on my body and it’s the iconic “SD” of the San Diego Padres; a permanent reminder of my connection to America’s Finest City, in particular the time I have spent at PetCo Park. It’s the best ballpark in America and it will always have a special place in my heart no matter how bad the team ever is (and it’s regularly quite bad). As a Padres fan I hate the Dodgers because they have more/better history, because they have all the money, because their fans invade our ballpark and shout us down, and, most of all, because they’re our biggest rival, but to them we are nothing. The Dodgers’ rival is the Giants. The Angels might have more of a rivalry with the Dodgers than the Padres do and it drives us Padres fans crazy whether we admit it or not. Anyway, f#$% the Dodgers.
So now that we have that out of the way, I am going to try to take a step back and let you know what I think will happen in this year’s Fall Classic. I was remarking today that it’s kind of funny that, for all the drama, we got the two teams that every body has had as the front runners for months and months. The Dodger doldrums of the late season, the feisty young Yankees, the Cleveland uber-winning streak, the “we’re not dead yet” Cubs. All of these story lines are mere footnotes now.
The Bats: It’s pretty well documented that both of these teams can rake, but I think the slight nod goes to the Dodgers here because they have absolutely devastated right handed pitching the last couple seasons. They have drawn A LOT more walks than the opposition throughout the postseason and it’s no coincidence. Houston’s lineup is stacked too, but they rely on some younger players with less big game experience and the DH will be less of a consideration with LA having home field.
The Staff: I am torn here. Beyond the big names, you really have to look at the bullpens and total staff depth to identify an advantage. Kershaw seems to have figured out how to pitch in the postseason, but Verlander has been phenomenal since coming over the the Astros (even if this isn’t 2011 Cy Young Verlander). Darvish has been good too, but I think he may be at a disadvantage because Houston has faced him so much (AL West days). Giles has scuffled in the postseason so I think the edge goes to the Dodgers here too.
Intangibles: Both of these teams have cultivated talented players and moved them through the farm system successfully, but they also spent some money at the trade deadline to bring in hired guns. Team construction is a push so let’s move onto chemistry. This is where I think the Astros have the edge. They have a likeable team that plays hard and selfless. The Dodgers, meanwhile, have a bat flipping a#$hole named Yasiel Puig. You can’t find many analysts who are picking Houston to hoist the trophy so the “nobody believes in us edge” goes to Houston as well. Let’s call it. Intangibles edge: Astros.
The Pick: I’m picking with my heart here and with a belief that Houston is ready to break through. Astros in 7! Jose Altuve wins MVP!
Enjoy the World Series everyone!!