Cardinals, Red Sox should shine again in 2014 season

Newly signed St. Louis Cardinals’ Aledmys Diaz talks to the media during practice, Monday, March 10, 2014, at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla.

By Peter Bailey-Wells

Looking forward to baseball season is something I do every year.

I can’t help it. I grew up in a region that lives and dies with its professional team, the Boston Red Sox. I grew up in the years of Pedro Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez. I grew up watching the greatest postseason comeback in baseball history, and I stayed up way past my bedtime in 2004 to see an 86-year-old curse be reversed.

I’ve been pretty spoiled since then. The Red Sox have captured two additional World Series titles and have been in the playoff hunt almost every year. They’ve had only one losing season since 2004 and that came under the shaky command of Bobby Valentine, who was promptly fired after the 2012 season. His replacement, John “Messiah” Farrell, led the team to a world championship in his very first year.

I know not all folks appreciate my love for the Red Sox, but with the opening week of the regular season upon us, it seemed appropriate to spread my love of baseball with the world. Without further ado, I give you my 2014 Major League Baseball predictions.

American League champion: Boston Red Sox

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    So at this point, you should stop reading, since you know this column is a biased piece of garbage. I just laid out my love for the Sox in the first two paragraphs! How much more evidence do you need?

    Other than blind fandom, why did I pick the 2013 champs to repeat?

    Oh, I don’t know, how about seven returning starters from the MLB’s highest-scoring offense? How about a former Cy Young award winner who projects to be the team’s fourth starter (Jake Peavy)? How about a closer who won the ALCS MVP award and was dominant in 2013 (Koji Uehara)?

    Now, to leave myself an escape route if the Sox do not play as well as I expect, you can bet your college education (actually … that’s not a great idea) that the AL champion will come out of the AL East. The Red Sox, Rays and Yankees are all primed for a postseason run and the best division in baseball will prepare them for October. AL East teams averaged more than 86 wins last season, which was tops in the MLB, and would have been the second-most wins on a team in the NL East or NL West.

    National League champion: St. Louis Cardinals

    Now I’m just cheating. Copying and pasting last year’s postseason champions into this year’s prediction column? What kind of a hack excuse for a columnist am I?

    Well, unfortunately for my credibility, the Cardinals are just too good to ignore. They don’t spend the big bucks like the Los Angeles Dodgers do, but they make up for it with a stacked rotation and a bullpen that had me biting my fingernails for most of last year’s World Series. The Cardinals also return all four starters who hit better than .300 last season, including Yadier Molina, the game’s best catcher. Throw in a true ace like Adam Wainwright and a stable of young starters like Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller and Lance Lynn, and there’s no doubt the Cardinals will contend deep into October once again.

    World Series champion: St. Louis Cardinals (surprise!)

    I just can’t in good faith pick the Red Sox to win it all again. No team has repeated since the 2000 Yankees, and the Red Sox have an older team than the fresh-faced Cardinals. Michael Wacha will do to the Sox what he did to the NL in 2013, and the Cardinals bullpen should stifle the Red Sox bats.

    A team with red lettering will win the World Series in 2014, it just won’t be my team.

    Peter is a freshman in Media. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @pbaileywells22.