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Welcome to the inaugural issue of Volume 68 of The Panel! With Volume 67’s edi...read more

The MLB Season Begins Badly for Boston

The best part of the Major League Baseball season is finally upon us. Although we Boston fans did not receive the best results from our hometown heroes, there are still plenty of other teams that can beat the Yankees. I will start with a rundown of the American League. The Blue Jays have an incredibly impressive offense, scoring an average of 5.5 runs per game, and I believe they will hold onto first place over the Yankees. In the American League Central, there is no question that the Kansas City Royals will maintain their huge lead over the Twins, and while the American League West is jam-packed with action right now, I think the Rangers will overtake first place from the Astros and win the division by the end of the season.

The National League does not present as many close division races as the American League. In the National League East, the Mets have secured the division over the Washington Nationals. As of late, the Mets offense has been red hot, and their pitching has been stellar all season. The Mets are a serious contender for the 2015 World Series.  In the National League’s Central Division, the St. Louis Cardinals have clinched the division over the red-hot Pittsburgh Pirates, and will win over 100 games this year. Lastly, in the National League West, the Los Angeles Dodgers will win their division over the defending champion Giants, based on hot bats and stellar pitching from Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw.

Based on my predictions, if the American League Wild Card game comes down to the Astros and the Yankees, there is no doubt in my mind that the Astros will win. With Texeira out for the season and not having a stellar pitcher, the Yankees will fall victim to the Astros’ Dallas Keuchel, sending the Astros into the Divisional Series. The National League Wild Card will ultimately come down to the Cubs and the Pirates. Although this game is a toss-up, I believe the Cubs will come out victorious, as Jake Arrieta has been unhittable since the All Star break–the only chance the Pirates have is a near perfect game from Gerrit Cole.

In the first round of the playoffs, the Astros will play the Royals. George Springer has rejuvenated the young and talented Astros and will lead them to the American League Championship Series with an upset over the Royals. When the Rangers play the Blue Jays, the Blue Jays will cruise past them with their bats and superb pitching. On the other hand, in the National League, although they lost the season series against them, the Cubs will come out victorious and upset the Cardinals. The Cubs have an above average pitching staff and exceptional hitting, making for the series to be tight and close. When the Dodgers play the Mets, the Mets will win the series on the backs of their great young pitching and Cuban star Yoenis Cespedes. Although the Dodgers have Greinke and Kershaw, Kershaw often chokes in the postseason, and Greinke cannot carry a whole team through a series.

The American League Championship Series matchup of the Blue Jays against the Astros will be very interesting. Both teams are young and talented, with the same amount of pitching talent. Although this could go either way, I think the Blue Jays will take the series eventually, scoring as many runs as possible with their hot bats. In the National League, the Mets will beat the Cubs if they continue on the hot streak they are currently on. If Matt Harvey and the whole pitching staff is healthy, they could easily make the World Series, defeating the likes of Cubs young hitters Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber.

Finally, I anticipate a World Series matchup of the Mets vs the Blue Jays. This series is a toss-up, based on the bats of Cespedes, Conforto, and Uribe against Donaldson, Bautista, and Encarnacion and the strengths of both pitching staffs.  Ultimately, the series will be won by the team that can produce the best pitching to shut down the bats. My final prediction for the 2015 World Series winner: the New York Mets.

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