It's time for Part 2 of my ML"what would"B about what if David Freese hadn't come up in the clutch in Game Six of the 2011 World Series for the Cardinals. We last saw the Albert Pujols-led Cardinals beat the Josh Hamilton-led Texas Rangers in the 2013 World Series, while Prince Fielder and his Los Angeles Angels watched from their couches. But what happens to the Halos and the plump first baseman in the coming years?
Remember in real life how Fielder was traded for Ian Kinsler of the Rangers in a surprise move right after the 2013 season? Well in the continuation of this alternate timeline, because Fielder isn't on the Tigers, that trade never happens. Instead, Kinsler and Josh Hamilton get shipped off to the Motor City for Chris Davis, who was acquired by the Tigers just a year prior from the Orioles. The Rangers already had a terrible 2014 season in real life, but it gets a lot worse for them as Davis underperforms. The Angels, on the other hand, soar to a better record than anyone could've expected. Fielder still gets injured for most of the season, but the re-signing of Zack Greinke turns out to be a beautiful move, as he wins 20 games and finishes in the top for AL Cy Young Award voting. Garrett Richards and Matt Shoemaker flourish as well and LA ends up with the best pitching staff in baseball. Couple that with Mike Trout's first AL MVP and the emergence of C.J. Cron and Kole Calhoun and the Angels go 103-59 in 2014.
Meanwhile, the Orioles still win the AL East with 96 games, but the Royals sneak away with the AL Central, as V-Mart can no longer provide the pop the Tigers' lineup needed in the DH position, considering he now plays for the AL East-champion Orioles. Nonetheless, the Tigers get the second Wild Card spot while the A's keep the first spot. In the NL, the Nationals still win the NL East on the back of their pitching staff. The Giants win the NL West with 92 wins over the Dodgers, who finished with 91 wins and the first NL Wild Card spot because Zack Greinke is still with the Angels and Clayton Kershaw can't carry the entire starting pitching staff. The Cardinals win the Central at 95 wins with Pujols still in the lineup and the Pirates finish with the second Wild Card spot at 88 wins. The Giants end up making the World Series like in real life, but instead meet the Angels in the Fall Classic, whose pitching carries them to the AL pennant, despite Mike Trout's struggles. The even-numbered year dynasty for the Giants runs out of steam, as the Los Angeles Angels win the 2002 World Series rematch, as Greinke, not Madison Bumgarner, wins World Series MVP.
The 2014 MLB offseason remains the same, but the 2015 season has a lot of shake-ups in just one division: the AL West. Chris Davis's numbers pick up again, so the Rangers win 93 games and the AL West title. The Angels win 91 games on the back of a great bounce-back season from Fielder and a second consecutive great season for the pitching staff. The Astros lose an extra three games and the second AL Wild Card spot, which is now occupied by the Yankees, while the Blue Jays and Royals still win their respective divisions. The only massive change in the NL standings comes for the Cardinals. Mark Reynolds's 13 home runs are replaced with Pujols's 40, which boosts the Cardinals win total from 100 to 105, giving them more momentum come playoff time. The Cardinals end up winning the NL pennant after taking care of the Cubs and Mets in the playoffs on the strength of Pujols and meet the Blue Jays in the World Series. Wait, how the Blue Jays? Well the Angels win the Wild Card game versus the Yankees and are actually able to put the Royals away in the division series, unlike the Astros in real life. But they are just no match for the fearsome lineup the Blue Jays possess, who fly to their first Fall Classic in almost a quarter of a century. So who wins the Battle of the Birds? Who cares? At least they both got to the World Series, here in the ML"what would"B.
Who do you think would win this version of the 2015 World Series? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."