The St. Louis Cardinals, much like the New York Giants football team, went on their second miracle World Series run in five years last season. It was another lesson in the beauty of sports, and was amazing to watch as an outside observer.
Who will win it all this year, and will it be another Cinderella or a favored juggernaut?
Philadelphia’s surefire dynasty has not panned out since Cliff Lee was first dealt there back in 2009, but they are once again the odds-on favorites to hoist the trophy in 2012.
Determining the five most likely World Series matchups among all the top contenders, however, is a whole other and more difficult story to write.
As opposed to picking three or four favorites and doing a bunch of redundant matchups, I wanted to expand and use as many teams as I can—only using each of my perceived favorites from either league twice.
Some notable teams that have been omitted from the list include:
1. Tampa Bay Rays: They have a stunningly talented staff and a unique home-field advantage, but I don’t think the Rays can get through the offensive gauntlet of the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers without a functional attack of their own.
2. Boston Red Sox: They have the best offense in the league and a rebuilt bullpen, but their rotation has a ton of questions even with Josh Beckett and Jon Lester at the top. They are third best in the AL East and won’t get a chance unless the second Wild Card is instituted for this season.
3. Milwaukee Brewers: They won 96 games in 2011 and have a solid group of arms in the rotation. The problem is that they lost Prince Fielder and may lose Ryan Braun for 50 games for failing MLB’s testing program. The Brewers will have a nice year, but a not postseason-worthy one.
4. Atlanta Braves: They have a plethora of young arms and a solid stable of established rotation guys, but it would take special years from Dan Uggla, Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward to make a real run at the World Series this season.
Feel free to make the case for any of these omissions in the comment section or add more of your own, as I would love to debate some baseball with all of you.
Here we go, starting off with an AL West vs. NL West matchup at No. 5: