MLB roundtable: Who’s a more serious World Series contender — the Rays or Giants?

The dog days of August have turned into the postseason races of September. We’re starting to see the light at the end of the regular season tunnel and there is still so much to be decided. Postseason races, award races, pursuits of history, etc.

Throughout the season the CBS Sports MLB scribes will bring you a weekly roundtable breaking down, well, pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. Last week we discussed surprise teams with a chance to make the postseason. This week we’ll tackle two World Series contenders.

Which team is a more serious World Series contender: Giants or Rays?

R.J. Anderson: Both teams are good, but I’ll go with the Rays. They have the best run differential in the American League, and they seem more certain to avoid the wild card round. That’s no knock on the Giants, of course, and it’s at least conceivable that both teams could meet in the World Series, rendering this question moot.

Dayn Perry: I have to say the Rays. At the level of run differential, only the Dodgers have been better. As well, the Rays have a stronger body of work in recent seasons, whereas the Giants sort of came out of nowhere this season. The Giants have been the most interesting story in baseball on the team level this year, but I’ll lean Rays on this one.

Matt Snyder: I’ll go Giants and it’s because every time a large number of people have picked against them, they’ve risen to the occasion. After they lost their first Dodgers series, many thought this was when they come crashing down. They took three of four next weekend in Dodger Stadium. A four-game losing streak ending on July 1 only preceded a streak of winning eight of 10. They recently lost four in a row again and were facing the Dodgers just a few days later for the final time this season. They’ve since won six of seven. Many like to focus on the incredible internal work the Rays do, but the Giants are doing it this year. Look at how many so-called “has-beens” or “never-will-bes” are having huge years. I’m all over the Giants from here on out, just as I have been since early July. 

Mike Axisa: I’m going with the Rays because the Giants may have to go through the Wild Card Game and then face the Dodgers in the NLDS, which would reduce their World Series odds quite a bit. The Giants and Rays are very similar though. They’re all about depth and having quality players 1-26 on their roster, with no real weak spot. With a normal postseason schedule this year (i.e. more off days within series), that depth doesn’t matter quite as much, but it still helps. I’ll go with the Rays because their track record as a top-tier team is longer, and because they figure to have an easier path through the postseason than San Francisco. Both teams are obviously excellent though. Wouldn’t want to face either in a short series.

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