As part of our preview for the upcoming 2013 season, we’ll be doing a 10 Bold Predictions for 2013 series that will be featured between now and Opening Day. Our fourth prediction: the Anaheim Angels or Detroit Tigers represent the American League in the 2013 World Series.
You should be at that point where you’ve picked about four teams in your head that you could see squaring off for a trip to the World Series. There can be other teams that you feel good about, but no more than a maximum of four should be included in your small circle of trust that you know will play for the Pantheon in October in front of the world.
There are some loaded teams in the American League this year. I think the Red Sox will be better than anyone is expecting (expectations haven’t been lower in Boston since I hit puberty). The Toronto Blue Jays might set a record for home runs hit and runs scored. The Yankees will still be the Yankees, they’ll be relevant at some point though probably not at the end when it matters most. The Tampa Rays are going to be really strong too I think.
At the end of the day there are only two logical teams that I see playing for the ultimate prize.
Last year we dubbed the Anaheim Angels as the Miami Heat of baseball. They won 89 ballgames and that was good enough for third place in the American League West; and it resulted in them getting a trip back to their respective homes when the postseason began.
As loaded as they appeared, there were glaring holes we just didn’t see. I mean, you can’t hide a Vernon Wells. And when Peter Bourjos hit just .220 it didn’t matter how Albert Pujols rebounded to be just as Pujolsian as ever before after April and it didn’t matter how nuts Mike Trout went all year. There were things that the Angels couldn’t rebound from.
And even the Miami Heat fell short in their first season together before winning a title.
But the Angels really are the Heat of all of baseball now. After you wondered how much money they could have left they went out and signed Josh Hamilton to a monster deal. In many first innings this season you’ll see Trout, Pujols and Hamilton all bat. The Angels will play with more leads before their starter even takes the mound than any team in baseball this season because of it.
The Tigers won 88 games last season, one less than the Angels; yet they ended up in the World Series. The Tigers have baseball’s best hitter in their lineup in Miguel Cabrera and have a host of other players around him in the lineup aside from Prince Fielder and Austin Jackson.
While the Tigers won’t score as many runs as Anaheim, they have better starting pitching. I like about four of Detroit’s guys to be able to contend for the AL Cy Young, and only one of them is named Justin Verlander. Scherzer, Fister, Sanchez, hell even Drew Smyly if given the opportunity could jump off the page and win about 18 games on this team. The Tigers are also bolstered with the finest manager in the American League by my estimation.
When the dust settles, we’ll have a barn-burner of an ALCS to watch. It’s not going to be one of those that gets decided in four or five games like last year when the Yankees shouldn’t even have been there and got embarrassed by Detroit. You’re going to see two teams that shook out of a deep AL-field battling it out until the final strike. Expect high drama and a lot of memorable games that entertains anyone with an interest in the sport.
These two teams are absolutely loaded, and anything less than reaching this step would be a monumental disappointment. The difference between last year is whoever shakes out of this ALCS is likely to be crowned the World Series Champion, because the American League is a lot deeper than the National League this season.
Anaheim and Detroit, for all the marbles in 2013.