SPORTS

DOUBLE TAKE: MLB Predictions: Who takes the Fall Classic?

Matt Algarin and Andrew Metz, Double Take

Matt’s Take:

Like a child on Christmas Eve, my excitement level is about to burst through the roof as the Major League Baseball season kicked off earlier this week.

For teams like the Houston Astros, their opening day win will be the only time throughout this 162-game season that they will remotely sniff first place. For teams like the Detroit

Tigers and the St. Louis Cardinals, it’s World Series or bust.

Going into this season, there are teams that are clearly the cream of the crop, and then there are teams that are just going to be awful.

Sure, we may only be a few games into the season, but let’s look into the crystal ball and look at who is going to make the playoffs and who’s going to win it all.

Your American League playoff teams are not too different from last year. For my money, Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels are your division champs, while the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers round out the Wild Card.

In the National League, Washington Nationals, Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants take their divisions. The Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers are the Wild Card teams.

Skipping ahead to the ALCS, the Angels top the Rays and advance to the World Series.  Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton are too much for the Rays to handle. With Clayton Kershaw leading the way, the Dodgers top the Reds and head to the Fall Classic.

Who is really excited about an Angels and Dodgers World Series? Well, outside of those cities, not too many people.

As for how the series plays out, I’m calling it Angels in five games.

Once again, the bats of the Angels are going to be too much for the Dodgers pitching staff.

Andrew’s take:

The Yankees suck. It’s about freaking time.

They don’t even win most years, but they’re always a factor. And it’s very, very boring.

It’s not even like I hate the Bombers. In fact, I kind of cheer for them, since the Red Sox are so annoying. But I like to see parity.

In this season’s American League (AL) East, the Blue Jays are the front runners. And if they don’t take it, it’ll be the Orioles or the Rays.

No stadium lights in the Bronx or Boston this October.

Six months from now, when there are only 10 teams left, here’s who will be joining the Jays.

The AL Central belongs to the Tigers. And don’t be fooled by the Astros, who started their inaugural AL season with a “W.” They suck too.

You don’t need the largest payroll to win. The Rays have been proving that for years. But, this season, Alex Rodriguez is going to make more money than the entire Houston roster.

Impossible.

The Angels have already won the AL East.

And I’ll give the wild cards to the Athletics and the Rays.

The National League (NL) isn't nearly as clear. There are twice as many teams with a shot at the playoffs.

In the East, you have the Nationals, Braves and Phillies. Philadelphia’s good, but old. Atlanta’s even better, but their best player is also their newest. I’m going with Washington.

In the Central, it's just as competitive. The Pirates will be good, but Andrew McCutchen can’t do it all himself. And St. Louis won’t be lucky enough to back their way in this year.

The Reds have been flirting with success long enough. It’s their time.

Out West, it’s between the Dodgers and the Giants. And I think L.A. can actually pull it all together to win the division.

And Atlanta will be the wild card, along with the Giants.

At the end of October, the Los Angeles Dodgers will be the last team standing, when they take the World Series away from the Blue Jays.