By Brandon Sans
1. Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays have scored 470 runs this season according to ESPN. That averages to about 4.6 runs a game. For the rest of the season look for them to score anywhere between 648 to 810 runs. They are finding ways to win this year with offense instead of the regular pitching-Rays we all have known since 2008. When your OBS is 4th in the league at .330, offense isn’t an issue. Throw in a rotation headlined by 2012 AL Cy Young Winner, David Price, and young studs Matt More, Chris Archer, and Jeremy Hellickson , you have every reason to believe these Rays will ride the waves to October.
2. Texas Rangers
Last season’s deadline addition, Ryan Dempster, didn’t work out for the team in Arlington. The result was the underdog Oakland Athletics snatching the AL West from them on the final day. This forced Texas into the one game playoff where they eventually lost to an equally underdog Baltimore Orioles. Looking to avoid the AL Wild Card match for the second straight year, the Rangers made a big splash on Monday. They acquired Cubs-ace Matt Garza for three prospects and PTBNL. This acquisition makes them superior to an A’s team. This year it will be the Rangers turn to take the division from Oakland.
3. Detroit Tigers
What is it with Detroit? They just can’t seem to get comfortable division leads. Nonetheless, a rotation of Justin Verlander and Matt Scherzher combined with a line-up of Triple Crown Winner Miguel Cabrera and All Star slugger Prince Fielder there is no way this team misses out on the postseason. If they can acquire some late-inning help the lead shall grow in the surprisingly week AL Central.
4. Boston Red Sox
Maybe not worst-to-first but this is a good second. Boston has one of the top offenses in all of baseball ranking: first in runs (518), third in batting average (.275), first in OBP (.347), and second in slugging (.440). If the Red Sox can avoid losing Clay Bucholtz to injury and maybe upgrade the pitching this is a dangerous club in the fall.
5. Oakland Athletics
Billy Beane is the smartest GM in all of baseball. He’s got an excellent group of guys here. The biggest mystery is Bartolo Colon. The veteran’s season is clouded by suspected role in the Biogenesis scandal. It would be huge for Oakland if he could avoid suspension this season. If he can’t then that raises some serious questions about how far they can go in the postseason. Most likely expect a suspension to be given but, Colon will appeal the suspension causing it to take affect at the beginning of the 2014 season. With a suspension looming this could be Colon’s final year in the big leagues.
New York Yankees
Seattle Mariners (this is my pick in the MLB to be the hot team and sneak a postseason berth)
2013 AL Wild Card Game- Oakland Athletics @ Boston Red Sox
This is where the Colon suspension will take its biggest toll. Colon or no Colon I think the BoSox offense is too good to be denied at Fenway. Emotions will be high as the entire run will be dedicated to the citizens of Boston and the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon shooting. Fenway, motivation, and offense carry Boston to the next round.
RED SOX 6 Athletics 2
2013 AL Divisional Round- Texas Rangers vs. Boston Red Sox
Pitching vs. hitting
Is the Rangers pitching better than the Red Sox hitting? I’m going to bet no. In hitter-friendly parks like the ones in this series it will be hard for the Red Sox not to hammer on the Rangers. It won’t be a lopsided series. Expect some close games but #BostonStrong advances in four.
RED SOX 3 Rangers 1
2013 AL Divisional Round- Tampa Rays vs. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers come together. Verlander, Scherzer, Fielder, and Cabrera are too much for the Price and Longoria led Rays. This is probably the best Rays team ever but it has nothing on the power hitting Tigers. The Tigers sweep the Rays for a chance to face Boston for a chance to get to the World Series and take what was swept from them last year.
TIGERS 3 Rays 0
2013 AL Championship Series- Detroit Tigers vs. Boston Red Sox
The Rangers pitching wasn’t enough to silence Boston’s nice bats. The Tigers have a rotation that can handle and limit Boston’s line up. Then look for Miggy and Prince to lead the way. Are you ready Detroit? It’s time to take the title that was stolen from you a year ago.
TIGERS 4 Red Sox 2
2013 WORLD SERIES- Cincinnati Reds vs. Detroit Tigers
Here’s an all-time classic. From the best hitters to closers who top 100 MPH. This series will have it all. Ace pitching and deep starting rotations are strengths of both teams. Cincinnati gets the defensive nod. Each line-up boasts former league MVPs. Unless Detroit can find a closer for the season; Cincinnati will carry a complete team seven games and take home the crown.
REDS 4 Tigers 3