This one has that capability as it pits two gritty teams, clubs with resiliency to match their talent. Tampa Bay has that karma thing going for it, but let’s not overlook the Phillies, no matter how much you hate them.
They also can make a destiny argument.
Both teams can mash, but the Phillies have Ryan Howard, capable of controlling a Series. The Rays have a young, talented staff, but Philadelphia probably has the best pitcher in Cole Hamels and the dominant closer in Brad Lidge.
I believe the Rays shook the jitters when they blew Game 5 at Boston and hung on to win. They won’t be rattled. I think they’ll prevail in seven.
And if they don’t? Well, I’m happy if it goes seven.
Let’s say the Mets turned it around in 2004 and made a run at the playoffs. They were four games under .500 at the time of the trade and finished the season 20 games under. That brought the end of Jim Duquette as general manager and ushered in Omar Minaya.
Would Minaya have come if the Mets finished that season as a competitive team? With Minaya came Pedro Martinez, then Carlos Beltran, then Carlos Delgado. It’s interesting to wonder what might have happened had Zambrano panned out.
We all know what happened with Kazmir.
Overall, the Mets are ranked 16th in terms of young talent, which is in the middle of the pack and nothing to get excited about.
Here’s James’ top 25:
?1. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers first baseman, age 24
?2. Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins shortstop, age 24
?3. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants pitcher, age 24
?4. David Wright, New York Mets third baseman, age 25
?5. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers left fielder, age 24
?6. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox second baseman, age 24
?7. Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder, age 23
?8. Francisco Rodriguez, Los Angeles Angels pitcher, age 26
?9. Jose Reyes, New York Mets shortstop, age 25
10. Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles right fielder, age 24
11. Joakim Soria, Kansas City Royals pitcher, age 24
12. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals third baseman, age 23
13. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, age 24
14. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies shortstop, age 23
15. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners pitcher, age 22
16. Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox pitcher, age 24
17. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays third baseman, age 22
18. John Danks, Chicago White Sox pitcher, age 23
19. Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres first baseman, age 26
20. James Loney, Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman, age 24
21. Stephen Drew, Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop, age 25
22. Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves catcher, age 24
23. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers first baseman, age 25
24. Grady Sizemore, Cleveland Indians center fielder, age 25
25. Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds first baseman, age 24
Three other Mets’ prospects, reliever Eddie Kunz, catcher Josh Thole and outfielder Daniel Murphy were selected to play in AFL All-Star Game Friday night.