Major League Baseball has been around for close to 150 years. With thirty teams in the league, only seven of them have never won a World Series championship. This season, four teams without a title have a chance to obtain one, ending the desperation and grief their fans have suffered. We’ll look at three clubs without a championship with the best shot at winning the World Series.
Tampa Bay Rays
You must remember this team started 13-0 at the beginning of the season. They lost their first-place positioning in the AL East division midway through the season, but they’ve kept a steady pace with the Baltimore Orioles. Tampa only sits two games back from first. They’re currently in a crucial four-game series with the O’s; this matchup will undoubtedly determine the top go-getter in the American League. Tampa Bay can shut down the Toronto Blue Jays from contending in the postseason. They will have six more games against the Blue Jays before the season ends. Besides Toronto, the Rays must play the Angels & Red Sox before the season ends. That’s a chance to warm themselves up before the postseason begins.
As a unit, the Rays are among the top five in most statistical categories amongst the MLB. They are tied for third in home runs, second in stolen bases, and fourth in runs batted in slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging percentage. Pitching-wise, Tampa Bay is first in WHIP and top three in both wins and ERA. First baseman Yandy Díaz leads the team with a .324 batting average, while third baseman Isaac Paredes leads in both home runs and batted in. Starting pitcher Zach Effin leads the Rays in wins, innings pitched, and strikeouts.
Last season, the Rays had 86 wins and were eliminated in the AL Wild Card Series against the Cleveland Guardians. They’ve looked much better than last year and are much more confident in almost everything they do. If the Rays make the World Series, it’ll be their third appearance. Tampa Bay is hoping 2023 will be the year to win it all.
In 2010 and 2011, Ranger fan’s dreams came true as they made their first two World Series appearances. Unfortunately, their hopes of winning it all didn’t come true, losing to the Giants in five games and the Cardinals in seven. For most of the year, Texas held the top of the AL West division with no sight of slowing down. Well, the Rangers did slow down, lost many games, and their first-place positioning within the division to the rival Astros. With a five-game winning streak, they can regain what was theirs in the first place.
Texas does not rank in the top ten in any statistical pitching category but in the top five of many offensive types. The Rangers are second in hits and batting average. They also rank third in slugging, on-base, and on-base plus slugging percentages. The most significant matchup for the Rangers in this 2023 regular season is two series, seven games between the Seattle Mariners. The final four games for Texas are against the Mariners in Seattle. It’s going to be an absolute battle between these two teams. If the Rangers can outplay Seattle, they’ll have a chance to take the Mariners out of playoff contention and regain first place within the AL West.
Left fielder Evan Carter leads the team in batting average. Right fielder Adolis Garciá leads Texas with 34 home runs and 100 batted in. Nathan Eovaldi leads the Rangers in wins and ERA, while Andrew Heaney has the most strikeouts with 141. The Texas Rangers surpassed their disappointing record from last season of 68-94. They currently sit in the second Wild Card spot, only sitting a game behind the first-place Astros.
In 1982, the Brewers played in the American League and won the pennant, making their first World Series appearance. They lost to their new divisional rival, St. Louis Cardinals, in seven games. Since then, the Brewers organization has had its ups and downs, never returning to the World Series. Even in the past fifteen years, Milwaukee twice lost in the NLCS, NLDS, and the NL Wild Card Series. The Brewers organization nor the fans want to have another season end in disappointment.
At 81-64, they sit atop the NL Central and hold the third seed in the NL postseason race. They play a mix of good and bad teams in the remainder of this regular season. Milwaukee has an opportunity to get the wheels turning before postseason action starts, as they play the Nationals, Marlins, Cubs, and the Cardinals twice. The Brewers rank third in ERA and WHIP. While they don’t rank in the top ten in any offensive statistical category, they’ve found a way to keep winning games. Between the middle and the end of August, Milwaukee went on an eight-game winning streak. One thing’s for sure: if the Brewers catch fire, they’re hard to stop.
Catcher Willson Contreras leads Milwaukee with a .282 batting average, and shortstop Willy Adames leads the team in home runs and runs batted in. Pitcher Freddy Peralta leads the starters with 14 wins and 200 strikeouts. Milwaukee didn’t make the playoffs last season, even winning 86 games. They’ll surpass last year’s record, but can they reenter the playoff conversation and make an impact? This is the question we all have to ask ourselves about this Brewers roster.
Main Photo Credits: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports