By: Jacob Fain
Okay, so let’s assume that the National League pennant race stays the same over the last month of the season, which, hint, hint, it most definitely will.
The two teams who looked to pressure their current division leaders, the Giants and the Nationals, have just plain ran out of gas, so the Mets, Cardinals, and Dodgers are all division winners. So now, let’s talk match-ups. We have Cubs at Pirates for the Wildcard, and awaiting them is the Cardinals. I predict that once again, the Pirates will fall short and the Cubs and Jake Arrieta shut down Gerrit Cole, who continues to struggle, and advance to St.Louis to play their longtime rival.
So that means we have the Mets heading out west to try to handle the Dodgers, then we have the top-seeded Cards trying to extinguish the hot hitting Cubbies. Now I’ve said it all year, the Dodgers cannot win with just Kershaw and Greinke, but game one goes to LA as Clayton Kershaw outduels Matt Harvey. Even with Matt Harvey coming into this game well rested, the Mets will figure out Greinke and tie the series at a win a piece. The series shifts back to Citi field where Bartolo Colon takes the bump and quiets the Dodgers, giving the Mets a two games to one series lead. Jacob Degrom goes the next night, and shocker, the Dodgers sensing an early playoff exit coming, throw Clayton Kershaw out on the mound. Clayton Kershaw gets bounced around as the Dodgers hang their head and take their “NL WEST CHAMPS” shirts back to LA, so now they can rethink how they can get better for next year. It’s simple Los Angeles, how about more than two quality starting pitchers?
So now with the Mets and their great pitching awaiting the winner of the Cubs and the Cardinals, we get to watch Joe Maddon vs. Matt Matheny, the manager matchup of the century. But Matheny has more weapons than Maddon, so game one goes to the Cardinals, behind Lance Lynn’s amazing performance and the fact that Jon Lester continues to stink it up. The Cardinals, before heading out to Chicago for game three, beat Jake Arrieta behind Yadier Molina’s great game two, by the way, this is the game where he gets very hot and it continues. Now for game three in Chicago: it’s Wrigley and the Cubbies have to win one this year at Wrigley. Michael Wacha goes seven strong and kills the Cubbies, but unlike the Dodgers, they can go home thinking they are a young team with a lot of talent, but that Lester guy may want to work on picking off.
So, it’s a rematch of the 2006 NLCS. Now up until this point, it’s been all pitching, but that all changes in this round. Let me tell you about two guys who are basically going to decide this series: Lucas Duda and Curtis Granderson; yeah, you read that right. Why are they going to decide this series? Well, let me tell you. First off, these games are going to be intense. With it going to game six in New York, the Met’s down three games to two, and down in the ninth? Mets fans will begin to think we’ve come this far just to lose like this? Not if Lucas Duda has anything to say about it! Duda, who with the Mets only down by a run, comes up with a runner on in David Wright, who the Cards walked just to get to Duda. Duda, who, of course, has immense power, hits a walk off to send them back to St. Louis to play that all important game seven.
Game seven: the greatest thing in all of sports! It’s Bartolo Colon against Jamie Garcia. I know, rubber match of the century. But don’t let the lesser names fool you, these two go eight strong each! Remember how I mentioned Curtis Granderson? Well, this is where he comes into play. After struggling all night against Jamie Garcia, he connects against Scott Cishek with a double deep in the gap, then bringing up Cespedes, who is just itching to prove he is a long-term Met, and knocks a single just behind first base. Granderson,who’s on his horse, scores from second to give the Mets the lead. They hand the ball to Clippard in the eighth, then Familia in the ninth, and onto the world series go the Mets!
It’s a bold prediction, but that’s just what a pennant race prediction should be.