MLB playoffs: Making the case for each team’s World Series chances

Ella Castle

After an eventful wild-card round played around the country, MLB’s postseason will now pivot to two locations: Southern California for American League teams and Texas for National League teams. Eight clubs remain in the hunt to win the World Series, meaning it’s time to make a case for each of […]

After an eventful wild-card round played around the country, MLB’s postseason will now pivot to two locations: Southern California for American League teams and Texas for National League teams.

Eight clubs remain in the hunt to win the World Series, meaning it’s time to make a case for each of them to win it all. Yes, even the Marlins. Here we go.

American League

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays have the deepest pitching staff of the remaining playoff teams, with three quality starting pitchers—Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow and Charlie Morton—atop the rotation and a library’s worth of strong relievers stocked in the bullpen. Despite having only a few standout hitters, the Rays play their platoon matchups well—and they’re certainly not afraid to be unconventional with their lineups (see: their all-lefty lineup).

They’ll win the World Series if… they can generate enough offense to support their great pitching. Including the Wild Card Series, the Rays are 33–7 this season in games when they’ve scored at least four runs. On the flip side, only nine of their 42 wins this year—including their two-game sweep of the Blue Jays—came when they scored three or fewer runs.

New York Yankees

What we saw from the Yankees in their wild-card sweep of the Indians was exactly what we had expected from them when this season began. Their potent lineup, which GM Brian Cashman has dubbed a Fully Operational Death Star, knocked around Shane Bieber, the presumptive AL Cy Young winner, in Game 1 and then rattled the high-leverage Cleveland relievers in the chaotic Game 2 thriller.

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