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PLAY BALL - WHO WILL WIN IT ALL IN THE FALL OF 2018?

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PLAY BALL - WHO WILL WIN IT ALL IN THE FALL OF 2018?

By Howard T. Brody

Before the start of the 2017 Major League baseball season, oddsmakers here in Las Vegas were making the Chicago Cubs the favorite to repeat as world champions, but STRIPLV successfully predicted that the Houston Astros would win their first World Series.

And even though we picked the Washington Nationals to represent the senior circuit in the Fall Classic (when in fact it was the Los Angeles Dodgers who took the Astros to seven games), we cannot help but double down on our bets for the 2018 campaign.

This year, while some prognosticators like USA Today are sticking with the Astros to repeat, others like CBS Sports are picking the Cleveland Indians to finally break their dry spell and win a World Series for the first time since 1948. The Bleacher Report, however, has the New York Yankees winning it all.

As for us, we predict that for the first time since 1933, a team based in Washington D.C. will not only host a World Series game, but for the first time since 1924— when Walter “The Big Train” Johnson led the Washington Senators to a victory over the New York Giants in seven games— the elusive world championship flag will fly over the nation’s capital.

National League Projected Finish

Eastern Division

Washington Nationals

New York Mets

Philadelphia Phillies

Atlanta Braves

Miami Marlins

Central Division

Chicago Cubs

St. Louis Cardinals (WC)

Milwaukee Brewers Pittsburgh Pirates

Cincinnati Reds

Western Division

Los Angeles Dodgers

San Francisco Giants (WC)

Arizona Diamondbacks

Colorado Rockies

San Diego Padres

National League

Both the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants should rebound from disappointing seasons, and while the Giants will make a Wild Card spot for the playoffs, the Mets won’t be as lucky. Look for the St. Louis Cardinals to edge out the Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers for the second Wild Card spot.

In the meantime, both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs should have stellar seasons, but during the post-season it will be the Washington Nationals who get hot down the stretch and after eliminating the Dodgers in a rematch of last year’s National League championship, will go to the Fall Classic for the first time in franchise history.

American League Projected Finish

Eastern Division

New York Yankees

Boston Red Sox (WC)

Toronto Blue Jays

Tampa Bay Rays

Baltimore Orioles

Central Division

Cleveland Indians

Minnesota Twins

Detroit Tigers

Kansas City Royals

Chicago White Sox

Western Division

Houston Astros

Los Angeles Angels (WC)

Texas Rangers

Seattle Mariners

Oakland Athletics

American League

While the Houston Astros are poised to repeat, the Los Angeles Angels are going to give fans in Southern California a lot to believe that 2018 may see the first-ever all Los Angeles World Series. Meanwhile, as the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers continue to tumble, the Angels will just squeeze by both the Minnesota Twins, who will be solid again, and the resurging Toronto Blue Jays to take the second Wild Card spot.

And while it will look like the Cleveland Indians may return to the Fall Classic, expect the bolstered New York Yankees to return to form behind the big bats of 2017 AL Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge and 2017 NL Most Valuable Player Giancarlo Stanton, who are giving sports writers fuel as the modern day version of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.

World Series

The last two World Series have been nothing short of amazing with both the Cubs and Astros winning in seven games. Expect more of the same for 2018, as this one too will go the distance because the Yankees, who will shoot for their 28th world championship, will be upended by the Nationals— who first came into existence in 1969 as the Montreal Expos— will finally score their first world title during their franchise’s 50th season of play.   

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