Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Which Low Budget Playoff Team is Most Likely to Win the World Series? The Rays or the A's?

Before I start this article, I'd like to say that I'm a equally a huge fan of both of these teams and I'm routing for either one of them to make the World Series for the AL.

The Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays have a much harder path to the World Series than the A's. First off, they had to play a 163rd game to even make the playoffs, in which David Price pitched a dominating complete game.


Also, they have to play a Wild Card game against the ever so improving, Cleveland Indians that are led by likely AL Manager of the Year winner Terry Francona, against Danny Salazar, who has been good since he's been called up. If Alex Cobb pitches a dominating performance (he was 11-3 with a 2.76 ERA in the regular season) and the Rays offense delivers, the Rays may advance to the ALDS. Who will their opponents be in the ALDS? The Boston Red Sox. That's right, the Boston Red Sox who were the best team in the American League over the 2012-13 MLB season. The Rays may pull off a Cinderella run like they did in 2008, as the Red Sox were their opponents in the ALCS, beating them and advancing to the World Series, losing to the eventual World Series winners, the Philadelphia Phillies. Unfortunately, Carl Crawford and B.J. Upton (he was actually pretty good back then) are gone and the main player left from the 2008 World Series run is Evan Longoria.


Even though baseball is a team sport, Evan Longoria is the key for the Tampa Bay Rays. The ALDS will probably be the Rays hardest series to win. Facing the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS is no easy task but with Miguel Cabrera's groin still bothering him, who knows how he'll perform. If they Rays don't face the Tigers, it'll then be the Oakland Athletics. If  the Rays do face the A's in the ALCS, I wouldn't know who to go for. It would be a match-up dominated by defense and pitching and also a showcase of value contracts. The series would be even and predicting a winner would be a difficult task. Advancing to the World Series means facing an amazing team such as the St Louis Cardinals or Atlanta Braves. Winning the World Series would be unlikely for the Tampa Bay Rays team. It would take a miracle run, i.e. 2008, for the Rays to win it all.

The Oakland Athletics

Billy Beane's Oakland A's have made the playoffs for the 2nd straight season and looked great while doing so. The AL West Division have had a much easier path to the World Series as they locked up their playoff spot much earlier than the Rays. The A's are facing the Miguel Cabrera led, Detroit Tigers, who have an amazing offense, as well as a great pitching staff, even with Justin Verlander off this season. However, Miguel Cabrera's groin as been bothering him quite a bit for the last month of the 2012-13 season and was the main reason why he couldn't win the Triple Crown for the 2nd straight season. With Miguel Cabrera still a little hobbled, the A's are in prime position to take advantage of that fact and advance to the ALCS, although it will still be hard as the Tigers still have Prince Fielder and a 3-headed dragon in Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez. The key for the Oakland A's is Yoenis Cespedes. If he is on, the A's win more games and that is very evident. I recently just went to a baseball game where the Oakland Athletics were in Seattle, playing the Mariners and Yoenis Cespedes was out. Guess what? The A's lost to the Mariners, 7-5. Coco Crisp will do what Coco Crisp does and showcase his 20-20 power and speed. Josh Donaldson will also provide stout defense and consistent, non-flashy offense.


As far as their pitching staff goes, the A's have one of the top, if not best, pitching staff in baseball, so there's no need to worry about that. If the Athletics do beat the Tigers, which I predict will happen, they'll either face the Rays (read above), Indians (the A's will most likely beat the Indians if they do face them) or the Red Sox. Well isn't that ironic, Billy Beane's only obstacle from getting to the World Series for the 1st time as the A's GM is the team that he almost signed with. The Red Sox and Athletics series' would be entertaining to watch and very difficult for Oakland. Billy Beane would fire up his troops and the A's would play their hearts out, after constant playoff disappointments, and when the Oakland Athletics play their hearts out, there isn't one team that can beat them. A World Series match-up with the Cardinals, Braves or even the Dodgers would fare better for the A's, than it would for the Rays.

If it came down to it, a series between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland Athletics would be won by the A's, in a tight-knit series.

Verdict:

The Oakland Athletics are in the best position to win the World Series in years and I wouldn't be surprised if they did in 2013.


Follow Harvin Bhathal on Twitter (Vinchenzo_34) for the latest tweets about sports and what not.

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