Dodgers: The Possibility of a Crosstown World Series
By Hector Ponce
The American League looked as strong as can be this season. But recently, teams have been falling off significantly, while the Angels have quietly made up ground and positioned themselves into a playoff spot. This coupled with the Dodgers’ spectacular season gives us a glimmer of hope into seeing a crosstown World Series.
Following their four-game sweep of the Seattle Mariners, the Angels of Anaheim (not Los Angeles) saw themselves creep into the second wild card spot at the perfect time. The once deadly looking Yankees have looked anemic offensively with the rapid cool down of slugger Aaron Judge. They also have been losing games late thanks to an erratic back end of the bullpen.
The other teams fighting for that spot are the Twins who sold their team at the deadline, and it looks to have been a mistake. The Royals followed a nine-game winning streak with a 6-11 record over their last 17 games. The other East clubs are also in contention, but it looks like the Rays have finally regressed as expected and the Orioles don’t have the same fire power they have had the past few years.
Not to mention the other teams who are within striking distance, such as Texas and Seattle, who could very well make a push at one, if not both, wild card spots.
So with two spots wide open in the AL playoff picture, the Angels look like they may have hit their stride at the perfect time. This makes them a threat in the playoffs. Teams who go on a tear late in the season often ride that momentum deep into the playoffs. So IF the Angels continue on their current route, they could find themselves in the midst of a historic World Series featuring both SoCal clubs.
The Dodgers are not worried about getting into the playoffs like the Angels are, but they are playing just as hard if not harder than them. Depth makes the regular season a showcase of talented players fighting for their roster spot. This creates the right amount of incentive for the Dodgers not to lift their foot off the pedal.
One thing is for sure about these clubs; they have managers who are among the best in the MLB.
Dave Roberts and Mike Scioscia. Both former Dodgers and Manager of the Year award winners. With how well the Angels have played, even when the best player in baseball, Mike Trout, missed an extended amount of time, Scioscia has thrust himself into consideration for his third AL MOY award.
For Dave Roberts, he could add his second award in as many years this season. An absolutely historic season by his Dodgers makes him a top candidate for the NL MOY. If the Dodgers manage to break or tie the single season record for wins, Roberts should be the selection for this prestigious award.
For these teams to meet in the World Series, they would have to get through the gauntlet which is the MLB playoffs. Nothing is guaranteed come October other than entertainment and drama that even Hollywood couldn’t script.
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First off, the Angels would have to get into the playoffs, which is no easy task. But they are on the right track towards entering the anxiety-riddled Wild Card game. They have little to no chance of catching the Houston Astros, so that would put them in a one game playoff against, likely the New York Yankees, which would be a challenging game especially if it’s played in the Bronx.
If they do manage to get into an ALDS matchup, it will likely be against a familiar opponent, the inner-division Astros. Familiarity in the playoffs is dangerous, and with an experienced manager like Scioscia, the Angels may have the upper hand. In the ALCS they would see Boston or Cleveland.
This would be an unfavorable matchup for Anaheim, but if they ride that confidence into the postseason, anything is possible when you have the best player in the world on your team.
The Dodgers will have home-field throughout the playoffs. Playing Colorado or Arizona in the NLDS will be a challenge, but one the Dodgers should win soundly.
The NLCS matchup has three contenders. All very familiar. The last two teams to eliminate us from the playoffs; St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs. Or the Washington Nationals. The Dodgers match up well with anyone of these teams and understand what it takes to win in October which gives them a legitimate shot at the World Series
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This World Series matchup would be a very intriguing one, to say the least. The best position player in baseball Mike Trout, the best pitcher in baseball Clayton Kershaw, the best rookie in baseball Cody Bellinger, and one of the greatest postseason players in the history of baseball Albert Pujols. All in the greatest city in the world, Los Angeles……and Anaheim