We talked about five potential “upstart” teams who might have a chance to contend for the World Series last week here at The Official Power Rankings. It’s always a possibility, particularly with the more teams in the postseason and the number of playoff rounds required to reach the Fall Classic.
Of course, there is also the powerhouse champion at the other extreme of the spectrum. The Red Sox of 2018. The Astros of 2017. The Cubs of 2016. The Royals of 2015. The Red Sox of 2013.
There are now four clubs that have a chance to emerge as one of the aforementioned champions.
For a significant period of the season, the Yankees owned the greatest record in the American League, if not all of baseball. They are now in a slump, but if they recover and win more than 100 games, they will undoubtedly be taken into account.
Although they aren’t having quite as much trouble as the Yankees, the Astros have dropped eight of their last 14. They still have a chance to win 103 games, and given that they have won three of the last five AL pennants, they would undoubtedly be a dominant champion.
The Mets, perhaps? Since 1988, the team hasn’t won 100 games, but as of right now, they are 70-39, which equates to 104 wins per season. A few weeks ago, the Mets’ lead over the Braves was down to just a half-game, but they have since gone 12-2. They just won four of five games against the defending champions and now have the extraordinary Scherzer-deGrom duo at the top of the rotation. They have a 6 1/2-game advantage and, in some ways, are playing their best of the season.
Could the NLCS feature a duel between two powerhouses? Because the Los Angeles Dodgers are the most obvious choice here.
It’s very probable that many individuals currently take the Dodgers for granted. It makes sense, too. After all, the Dodgers have high standards for their performance throughout the regular season.
Since 2012, the Dodgers haven’t failed to make the playoffs. In the past ten years, they have won nine division championships; the only one they didn’t win came in a year in which they won 106 games. Six of the past nine seasons have seen them reach the NLCS, winning the NL pennant three times.
Yet the pandemic-shortened 2020 season marked the Dodgers’ lone World Series victory since 1988.
That is the problem. The Dodgers and their supporters undoubtedly crave another championship, especially one in which they can compete and win the World Series in front of a large crowd at Dodger Stadium throughout a complete season.
If not, the season will be a disaster.
It’s one of those situations that doesn’t really seem fair, but it’s also one that the rest of baseball wishes they had. Both ways are involved. The fact that the Dodgers could win 112 games, advance to Game 7 of the World Series, lose by one run, and yet be viewed as failures is undoubtedly a tremendous bummer. The fact that they are in this position is also evidence of how excellent they have been over the past ten years. The league championship series may be reached by a number of different teams, and the memorable run would be cherished for years to come by their fans.
The fact that their stretches of outstanding baseball are somewhat less eye-catching is another benefit of being unquestionably the best-run baseball club. In July, the Dodgers finished 21-5. If it were the Marlins, Rangers, Angels, Royals, Orioles, Reds, Pirates, Rockies, Diamondbacks, or, really, any other team, how much more amazing would that record sound in a month? If we are completely honest with ourselves, I think we can all agree that it would have a considerably stronger effect on us.
We’ve just recently grown acclimated to the Dodgers’ supremacy.
Oh, and thus far in August, they are 7-0.
They are a staggering 30-5 since June 28 after winning their final two games of June as well. The Mariners, who had a 14-game winning run during that time period and are still 5 1/2 games behind the Dodgers at 24-10, are the next-best club in that stretch.
Who the best baseball team is is without dispute. Who would be the best choice to win the powerhouse title this season is beyond doubt. But can they finish it in October and November? They are failures if they don’t. That’s the situation. a crude one? Perhaps, but it’s also a move that 29 other clubs would kill to make.