Best Guess: Rays In Six
If it were up to me, I would have left well enough alone, and continued reveling in accurately predicting both the league championship series. Getting a prediction right is about as common for me as a Haley's Comet sighting, or witnessing a Brandon Fahey home run. But my editor insists, so here goes:
I say the Tampa Bay Rays will win the World Series in six games. There are several reasons behind my prediction. Do any of them make much sense? Well, that's debatable.
1.) Without a doubt, the National League has been the inferior circuit, continuing a trend that I'm convinced isn't close to ending. Can the Phillies say they've beaten an opponent as tough as Tampa in the playoffs? Uh, no. But can the Rays say they've beaten a team in the playoffs that's probably better top-to-bottom than the Phillies? Yes, in fact, they just did.
To further rip the National League, let's look at the top five teams (by record) in the entire N.L. and stack them up against only the teams in the A.L. East. You can make the argument that this is probably an oversimplification. But even if that's so, frankly, should the level of quality on first glance be this close?
Beasts of the East
Tampa Bay 97-65
N.Y. Yankees 89-73
N.Y. Mets 89-73
Indeed, the Orioles are like a rusted junk car parked on the lawn of a mansion. But even lowly, lowly Baltimore managed to beat up on the sorry NL. In fact, the O's had series victories this year against two of the NL's top five.
2.) While the Phillies have benefited from not facing the best team in its weak league (oh, those Cubbies), the Rays have silenced doubters by closing out the defending world champs despite losing the momentum in the series. To win the A.L. East the way the Rays did already showed me plenty about their grit. The ALCS only reinforced what we should have known: these Rays, above all, are tough.
3.) I'll repeat what I've said consistently since the start of the playoffs. The Rays were the best team I saw this year.
The Phillies, to their credit, have reached this point despite their top power hitter doing anything. (I mean, there's always legitimate matter for concern when Ryan Howard's best postseason performance has so far been in that awful Subway commercial.) But they haven't seen anything like the Rays.
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