I thought about calling this article "Any Team But the Red Sox, Yankees and Phillies" but history has taught us that you never know what a couple of solid starters can give you in a playoff series.
This article could have also been called "The Teams of the AL Central," but I'll get to them later.
Let's do the roll call of where we're at, it's obvious that I can't include the Astros, Cubs, Orioles, Mariners, Royals, A's, Mets, Nats, Marlins, Dodgers and Padres in any World Series discussion. They've all been out of it for weeks—or months in a couple of cases—and should be taken as givens.
The Rays and Blue Jays are in trouble only because of their unfortunate distinction of being located in the AL East, the injury-riddled Twins are capable but have a big hole to overcome, the Reds have been a major disappointment and are running out of time, the Pirates' 10-game losing streak did in their surprising season and the Rockies declared themselves sellers at the deadline ending any hope of a miraculous comeback.
That leaves: the rival Yankees and Red Sox in the AL East; the Tigers, Indians and White Sox in the crowded AL Central; the surging Rangers and Angels in the AL West; the Phillies and Braves in the AL East; the Brewers and Cardinals in the NL Central; and the Giants and Diamondbacks in the AL West.
Three of these teams are major contenders for the title, six have a slim shot, and another four of these teams have no shot at all of winning the World Series.
As an added twist, I'll use a movie reference to illustrate why it's not the year for the non-contenders still in contention.
The White Sox would be buried in any other division, but lucky for them they play in the LA Clippers of MLB Divisions. The AL Central.
The White Sox have been underachieving this season thanks to an inconsistent offense and simply adequate bevy of starters.
Free-agent acquisition Adam Dunn has been the biggest disappointment since Jar-Jar Binks first uttered a line in the Star Wars series. I believe the exact line was "Me-Sa Wanna Strikeout!"
The White Sox shouldn't be counted out of the AL Central race, but if they get into the playoffs, they'll be an easy out.
I know, counting the Champions out. Tsk, tsk. Didn't I ever see Rocky III?
Clubber Lang (like the Diamondbacks) came out of nowhere to knock down the champ with his potent offense and brash attitude. But hard work, an all-male 80s basketball shorts beach run and a moment of self-realization later, and the champ was saying "You ain't so bad!" to an on-the-run Clubber.
Can the Giants pull off the same feat? Nope.
Despite a stellar pitching staff, the Giants have baseball's worst offense outside of Seattle. I predict a lot of 2-1 losses in the Giants' playoff future...if they can even hold off the Diamondbacks.
The Indians have been truly awful since late May, but somehow amazingly only find themselves three games out.
They really need to win this season to prevent that pesky, ex-stripper owner of theirs from moving the team to Miami. Wait, isn't there already a team in Miami?
This new plot hole has left a whole younger generation of "Major League" fans to question Rachel Phelps' business sense. How could Miami support two teams when they draw less than an Arena Bowl game now?
Anyway, even though the Indians have acquired Ubaldo Jimenez, but they're just not good. Their lineup has more holes than a Lifetime Network movie (eh...so my wife tells me) and the pitching staff is very top heavy.
They have a good shot at winning the AL Central, but no shot at the title. Besides, the Indians didn't even make it to the World Series until "Major League Part 2."
As much as it pains me to say it, the Detroit Tigers are simply the best of a lot of so-so teams in the AL Central.
The Tigers are kinda like the first Transformers movie. Hey, it's entertaining, and it put Megan Fox and her clubbed-thumbs (Google it!) in the limelight, but really, after it was over it wasn't very good, even if it did look like The Godfather compared to its sequels.
This Tigers team has a great chance to win the AL Central, but they're not deep enough to put up much of a fight in a playoff series.
They might get a win or two in a playoff series with Justin Verlander, but unless Jim Leyland invents a cloning machine, they don't have the rotation depth to win the World Series.