Play Ball !
The 2017 Major League Baseball season begins on Sunday as the defending World Series Champion Chicago Cubs (yes, that is correct Cubs fans) take on the St. Louis Cardinals in the "prime time" Sunday night opener.
The New York Yankees take on the Tampa Bay Rays while the San Francisco Giants play the Arizona Diamondbacks in two other games earlier on Sunday. The rest of the 30 major league teams get it going on Monday.
It will be very interesting to see if the Cubs can do it again after a memorable seven game Fall Classic last year that saw them beat the Cleveland Indians to claim their first World Series title in 108 years.
The Boston Red Sox spent some money and also mortgaged their future by trading big time prospects to land Chicago White Sox ace pitcher Chris Sale to go along with David Price and Rick Porcello in the starting rotation. Porcello enjoyed an especially big time career season in 2016 when he led baseball with 22 victories.
The Bosox seem to be the overwhelming choice to win the American League pennant and face the Cubbies in the 2017 World Series.
Not so fast !
There are many teams that will contend in the loaded American League as well as numerous teams in the National League that will surely challenge the Chicago Cubs to represent the senior circuit in the World Series.
For a look at the 2017 pennant chase, Heftyinfo will attempt to break down the division races for the 2017 MLB season and also predict the playoff winners and World Series champions as well.
Here goes nothing . . .
1. Boston - The Red Sox payroll makes winning it all a must.
2. Baltimore - Every season, the Birds are written off and yet they are always in contention for the division title.
3. Toronto - They will definitely miss Edwin Encarnacion's bat this season.
4. New York Yankees - They could be a surprise team this year and actually make the playoffs.
5. Tampa Bay - The Rays could play .500 ball this year and still finish in the basement in the best division in the big leagues.
1. Cleveland - The Tribe is loaded and can win it all this season IF they stay healthy.
2. Detroit - The Tigers last hurrah?
3. Kansas City - Far cry from the team that won it all just two years ago.
4. Minnesota - Which Twins team will show up this year?
5. Chicago White Sox - The rebuilding has begun.
1. Houston - The Astros have no excuses this year.
2. Texas - The starting pitching looks shaky after Darvish and Hamels.
3. Seattle - This team has potential, but can they maintain for the entire season?
4. Los Angeles Angels - They should fend off the A's to avoid the basement.
5. Oakland - At least the A's are staying put in Oakland.
1. Washington - Can the Nationals put it all together this year?
2. New York Mets - Pitching, pitching, pitching.
3. Atlanta - The Braves may surprise some people.
4. Miami - Too many question marks with their pitching staff.
5. Philadelphia - The Phillies are getting better, but . . .
1. Chicago Cubs - Go Cubs Go!
2. St. Louis - The Cardinals will hang with the Cubs most of the summer. Wild card team for sure.
3. Pittsburgh - The Pirates need a big turnaround after last season's debacle.
4. Milwaukee - The Brew Crew will be improved, possibly a .500 team this season.
5. Cincinnati - The Reds have a long way to go.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers - This team is loaded and could get to the World Series this year.
2. San Francisco - Never count the Giants out. Manager Bruce Bochy is among the best in baseball.
3. Arizona - The Diamondbacks need a better season from their starting pitching. Offense is solid.
4. Colorado - They hit lots of home runs, but the pitching is still going to hold them back again this season.
5. San Diego - This is basically a glorified Triple A ball team.
AL Wild Cards - Baltimore over Detroit
NL Wild Cards - San Francisco over St. Louis
American League Division Series
Baltimore over Cleveland
Boston over Houston
National League Division Series
Chicago Cubs over San Francisco
Los Angeles Dodgers over Washington
Boston over Baltimore
Chicago Cubs over Los Angeles Dodgers
Chicago Cubs over Boston Red Sox