Top 5 AL Teams Los Angeles Dodgers Do Not Want To Face In World Series
2013 World Series: Top 5 AL Teams Los Angeles Dodgers Do Not Want To Face
Just suppose with me for a moment that the Los Angeles Dodgers pull off the not so unthinkable and make it to the 2013 World Series. I am by no means penciling them into the championship series as the Boys in Blue have not even clinched their division, let alone played a single playoff game. Nevertheless, with the Dodgers being as hot as they are, I do not think it hurts to ponder what might happen if L.A. reaches the World Series.
Two weeks ago, I highlighted the top five National League teams that the Dodgers would not look forward to facing in the playoffs. Today, I want to jump to the conclusion that the Dodgers have bested the top NL teams and reached the World Series. Come October 23, the scheduled date for the opening game of the World Series, the Dodgers will have a tough task ahead of them as the top American League teams pack powerful punches both on the offensive end as well as from the mound.
AL pitchers have a combined ERA of 4.01, which is about a quarter of a run higher than that of NL pitchers (3.75). Some of this can be attributed to the high-powered AL offenses that are aided by the DH position. Overall, the added punch of the DH does not put AL pitchers that far behind their NL counterparts, so if NL pitchers are going to keep up, they will need to be in tip-top form.
The Dodgers tend to get themselves into trouble when their pitching gets hit for the long ball. There is nothing like a double in the gap or a two-run shot that can squelch the Dodgers’ mojo. As such, teams that are prone to go deep will tend to rank higher up on this list.
Although none of the AL division races are decided yet, it is reasonable to assume that the teams I will be listing have a likely chance of reaching both the playoffs and the World Series. As such, I will now begin my list of the top five teams the Dodgers do not want to match up against in the World Series (note: all records and stats are through 9-1-13).
5. New York Yankees
With the New York Yankees sitting in fourth in the AL East, they are amazingly still out of the playoffs by. The Bronx Bombers currently sit 3.5 games behind for the second Wild Card spot and could reasonably make a run to the postseason. The scariest thing about this scenario is the Yankees’ aged veterans. The Yankees’ players have been to the postseason on a yearly basis for about the last 18 seasons. New York knows how to win in the postseason and no team wants to see them in October. Alas, their good but underwhelming season only places them fifth on this list.
4. Texas Rangers
The resurgent Adrian Beltre and the surprising 16-year veteran A.J. Pierzynski are old, but remain solid as the offensive leaders for the Texas Rangers. With the offseason loss of the powerful Josh Hamilton, the Rangers are still a bit lackluster on the offensive side, but get the job done with several players who put out strong performances on a daily basis. Behind the dominant Yu Darvish, the Rangers’ main six starters (each with at least 14 starts) are very young with an average age of 25, but pitch beyond their years. The Rangers would prove to be a formidable World Series foe.
3. Baltimore Orioles
If the Baltimore Orioles make the playoffs, that will mean they finished the regular season on a hot run. The team currently sits third in the AL East and three games behind the second Wild Card spot. Led by major league home run leader Chris Davis and the dazzling defense of young star Manny Machado, the Orioles’ offense is not something other teams want to see get hot. Chris Tillman leads the Baltimore starting rotation with a 15-4 record and an ERA of 3.61. From Tillman down, the starters are not terribly frightening, which is why the Orioles only come in at third.
2. Boston Red Sox
Among all AL teams, the Boston Red Sox have the third-highest slugging percentage, ninth-most home runs and the most doubles hit. So, despite their AL-best record, the Red Sox really deserve to be placed this high on the list. The only thing that prevents Boston from being no. 1 is their starting pitching. The Red Sox really do not have any dominant, healthy starting pitchers, as most of their records float right around .500 with bloated ERAs. Newly-acquired Jake Peavy has the best overall stats, but is still not overwhelming.
1. Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers are very similar to the Red Sox in regards to powerful hitting. Tigers’ hitters rank no. 1 in the majors in slugging percentage and second in home runs. Led by the amazing Miguel Cabrera, the Detroit offense is nothing to be scoffed at, not even by a pitching rotation as dominant as the Dodgers’. The factor that puts the Tigers ahead of their AL counterparts is their deep pitching staff. When Justin Verlander is arguably your third best pitcher, you are in good shape. Verlander, Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Doug Fister and Max Scherzer will lead the Tigers and prove to be a burdensome task for the Dodgers to overcome.
That does it for my list. I would love to hear your thoughts about teams you think the Dodgers should be worried about!