We are one step closer to crowning a World Series Champion.
After an exciting week of games in the Divisional round of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, the middle section of the bracket is set for the American and National League Championship Series.
The defending American League champion Kansas City Royals will host the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 1 of the ALCS Friday night. Then on Saturday, two new comers take center stage as the New York Mets host the Chicago Cubs.
My initial prediction is that a team wearing a blue hat will win the World Series.
Toronto vs. Kansas City
Tonight’s game will feature the two teams that had the best record in the American League during the regular season. The Royals will send Edinson Volquez to the mound to square off against Toronto’s Marco Estrada.
Both starting pitchers started one game during the Division Series. Estrada picked up the victory for the Blue Jays in Game 3 over the Rangers, allowing just one run on five hits in over six innings of work. Volquez, on the other hand, didn’t make it out of sixth inning after giving up three runs to the Astros in Game 3 of that series.
Both teams have deep lineups, with players that are capable of making a big impact on the game one through nine in the order.
The two teams have each scored five runs per game in their first five games of the playoffs, so it doesn’t look like there will be a shortage of runs scored in this series.
One thing to look out for is that it would not surprise me if benches clear at least twice during the course of what could be a seven-game set.
Both teams are high-energy clubs, and neither team lacks ego or flare that feeds into – and off of – the energy of the crowd. A bat flip like we saw in Game 5 from Jose Bautista, or aggressive pitch calling by the Royals, could easily cause chaos. (Not that I’m complaining.)
I think this series is going the distance, setting up Game 7 in Kansas City on October 24.
Prediction: Kansas City wins series, 4-3
Chicago vs. New York
Well, these aren’t two teams you’ve associated with the playoffs for a while. In fact, neither the Cubs nor the Mets have made it this far in the playoffs since 2006, when the Mets lost to St. Louis in seven games.
Cubs fans have waited even longer to see their “Lovable Losers” make it this far. Chicago last played in the NLCS in 2003 against the then-Florida Marlins.
Something weird happened in that series right? Fan interference, maybe? I thought I saw a 30 for 30 about it once.
Back to 2015. Back to the Future 2, you know, the movie that predicted the Cubs win the World Series this year.
Jon Lester, Kyle Schwarber, and Rookie of the Year candidate Kris Bryant weren’t mentioned by name in the film, but we’ll give the director a break if the Cubs win it all. Speaking of Rookie of the Year, that movie also predicted a Cubs-Mets postseason showdown. However, in that scenario, it was Chicago who had the talented young arm, whereas in the real series, which begins on Saturday in Citi Field, it’s the Mets who have the talented young pitching staff.
The Cubs have certainly shown they are a force to be messed with offensively, scoring at least six runs in each of their wins against the Cardinals. Chicago’s deep and consistent lineup gives the Cubs the upper hand offensively, but New York will have the upper hand pitching-wise.
The Mets last played in the World Series in 2000. The Cubs haven’t played in the Fall Classic since 1945, and hasn’t won an MLB title since 1908.
One hundred and six years is a long time to wait, but the Cubs will have to wait at least one more year.
Prediction: Mets win series, 4-3