NL Division Series Preview:
As debates rage on among baseball enthusiasts about the proper recipients of awards, the MLB has quietly put together one of the greatest postseason races in the past decade, enhanced by the second wild card team. Whether there actually were more teams in contention, or the second slot just made it feel that way, it is a great time to be a baseball fan. This post season is littered with fresh faces and new teams. Superstars look to take the big stage and be heroes, preparing for their best Mr. October impressions. The Ninja is here for you to breakdown the MLB playoffs one step at time. Up first is the MLB division series.
NL Division Series Preview:
Once again the Giants have handled the West with a team built on young arms. This staff is held together by the best catcher in the game, Buster Posey who has a WAR of 7.2, tops in the NL. Pump the brakes though; Madison Bumgarner has been stumbling down the stretch, giving up at least four runs in five of seven of his last starts. The dark horse for the Giants is Tim Lincecum (Let Timmy Smoke) who got hit like a high school pitcher in the first half has seemingly found the right strand, and represents the Giants’ best shot to win after the Cainer. The Ninja doesn’t foresee each of these pitchers having dominant starts, however the Reds arms are likely to do so. The stats are ridiculous for the Cincy staff: 3.34 ERA, 98 QS, 1.23 WHIP, and 7.73 K/9. With Jay Bruce and Joey Votto, the Reds will squeak enough offense by support their nasty pitching.
Pitching is the difference in this series; someone for San Fran doesn’t show up.
Prediction: Cincinnati 3-2
Washington v St. Louis
Wow, the Nationals shut down Strasburg and it could cost them a World Series. Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmerman are great options but how much better would Strasburg be in that 3 slot than an Edwin Jackson who looks like he’s lost his legs down the stretch? Adam LaRoche and Ryan Zimmerman will have to mash some big home runs along with Bryce Harper continuing his clutch defense in order for the Nats to capitalize on their first post-season birth since 1933.The Cardinals are the challengers in this series, and look to use their relentless offense to keep runners on base and give the Nats young arms something to constantly worry about. First in the NL in on base percentage, (.338) and second in runs scored, (765) the Red Birds’ offense is carried by Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday, and Allen Craig. These three look to combine with a scrappy defense to overcome any questions about the Cardinals pitching, as playoff-hardened Wainwright and Carpenter will look to their postseason experience as an advantage.
Watch for this series to be higher scoring than expected. The Cardinals playoff experience will overcome a slightly more talented Nats roster.
Prediction: St. Louis 3-1