I’m not sure why I’m so naturally pessimistic when it comes to sports since pretty much everything breaks 100% my way. By the grace of all that is good, the Yankees are out. After winning all three games in the Bronx, they forgot to bring their thumbs down shirts with them on the way to Houston. The specifics of it don’t matter. The only important thing is that they lost. “Why are you so happy, this Yankees team is likable! All the people on the TV told me so!” Please. How can you like getting beaten over the head relentlessly with stories about how young the team is, how desperately Brett Gardner wants to be a True Yankee, how Todd Frazier grew up in Toms River, how Todd Frazier played in the Little League World Series, how Todd Frazier once took a picture with Derek Jeter, how Todd Frazier has this Yankees team really loose, not like all those other stodgy Yankees teams that didn’t have a locker room guy like Frazier or Nick Swisher or David Wells or something on them, how they’ve tried so hard to force the Thumbs Down and stupid in-game interviews down everyone’s throat even though they’re the lamest things of all time? It’s like how every single March Madness Harvard will be labeled as this lovable underdog even though they’re Harvard and all those kids are going to be rich and powerful one day. Yankees are neither likable nor scrappy underdogs, and everyone should be happy they’re gone. Dodgers dominated the Cubs in the National League.
Astros-Dodgers seemed like the obvious matchup all season, raising the question of whether or not baseball has a competitiveness problem. I mean, what does the regular season even matter if we already know who’s going to be in the World Series? Why should I ever watch before the playoffs? Why should I even watch the playoffs, for that matter? It’s all predetermined. And there’s all these super teams. The players just join together in free agency to try and game the system. They’re all soft and entitled, too. This is why hockey’s better. A guy like Kevin Durant would never survive the- whoops, sorry. The NBA season starting early has my defense mechanisms all out of whack. In truth, it’s actually kind of nice having the two best regular season teams play in the World Series, for once. The way the baseball playoffs work, this is rare, and we should cherish the fact that we know every game will be well-played and competitive. No, there’s no novelty of a random team going for an unexpected title. Instead, there’s two actually good teams. Weird.
In my mind, the traditional factors that lead to success in baseball point towards the Dodgers. Even if want to get generous with the starting pitching comparisons, on the whole the Dodgers clearly have the superior arms. The Astros don’t trust anyone in their bullpen so they just throw their fourth and fifth starters out there and hope for the best. The Dodgers’ bullpen has allowed, like, one run in eight games. Verlander and Keuchel are certified beasts. Can’t deny it. If they both go twice, it’s easy to see the Astros going 4-0 in those games. Except the Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw. And Yu Darvish. And Rich Hill. By any statistic, the Dodgers grade as one of the best defensive teams in the league. The Astros are one of the worst. Both lineups are deep and powerful and, if Corey Seager plays well in his return from injury, will probably cancel each other out, as will the managers. That leaves the Dodgers with the only clear advantages. However, and this is a big however, the Astros are the Tragedy Team. Not to trivialize, but you never want to be the team going against the Tragedy Team. Look at the 2013 Red Sox. Or the 2009 Saints (took a while but the whole city was pretty much destroyed). Or the 2001 Yankees (just kidding. Their own black magic combined with the power of the Tragedy Team to create anti-mojo). Houston hasn’t had a ton to cheer for since 1995. The Astros are a scrappy, feel good team that’s easy to get behind. They blew a lead then came back to win, so you know they’re feeling like they can overcome anything. Feel kind of bad for the Dodgers, honestly. They picked the wrong year to finally put it all together.
Pick: Astros in 6