Yesterday was Opening Day, and while NPI still be caught up in college basketball excitement, that doesn’t mean we can’t bring you the brilliant baseball analysis you’ve come to expect. Today John S will be breaking down the National League, so brace yourself for backhanded compliments, ill-informed generalizations, and an overall tone of condescension and derision!
1. San Francisco Giants
2. Colorado Rockies
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
4. San Diego Padres
5. Arizona Diamondbacks
Hey, remember when the Padres were in first place? What? When did that happen?
For most of last year, actually. Lies! Next you’ll be telling me that it was largely due to someone named Luke Gregerson…
Well, now that you mention it—Look, the Giants’ whole “underdog” thing was fun when they toppled the Phillies, but it sort of ignores the fact that San Francisco has great starters, including two of the best in baseball. And it’s not like any of the four had unsustainably great years—in fact, we can probably expect Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner to get better. After all, Lincecum had by far the worst year of his young career in 2010, and Bumgarner only pitched half a season. Continue reading »
San Francisco Giants (92-70) at Philadelphia Pillies (97-65)
The Phillies find themselves in their third consecutive NLCS, although this time not against the Dodgers. The Giants defeated the Braves in a great NLDS — seriously — and will now try to dethrone the two-time defending NL champions and their three-headed pitching Cerberus.*
*Or Cerbe-ROY-us. Get it?
Cincinnati Reds (91-71) at
Philadelphia Phillies (97-65)
There was a time not too long ago when the Phillies were having a down season. After an uncharacteristically strong start, they went 19-27 for a month and a half before the All-Star break, salvaging some dignity with a four-game sweep of the Reds to close out the season’s first half in third, behind the Braves and even the soon-to-be-pedestrian Mets. The second half has been decidedly different, with Philadelphia winning an even two of every three games (50-25) and its division going away. Now the Phillies meet the Reds, an upstart team that had everything it needed to go right go right this season. In the playoffs for the first time in 15 years, Cincinnati is a big-time underdog looking to shock the two-time defending NL champs.
Much like its American League counterpart, the National League East hasn’t been home to too much flux. Since 1993, the Braves have won the division 11 times, the Phillies four times, and the Mets once. Of course, the Marlins still lead the division in World Series won in that time, with two. The NL East boasts the two-time defending and presumptive NL champion in Philadelphia, two teams that contended late in the season for the Wild Card in Atlanta and Florida, a big-budget team that can’t be any worse than last year in New York, and the Nationals. And even after a down year last season, it’s hard not to call the Phillies-Mets rivalry the best in the National League. Can the Mets rebound and contend in 2010? Can the Braves catch the Phillies? Or is Philadelphia still the team to beat in the division and the league?
Continue reading »
A groundswell has been growing (budding? Swelling? What do “groundswells” do, exactly?) in the race for this year’s American League Cy Young Award. Zack Greinke had a dominant season, on par with historically great pitching seasons (Pedro in ’99, Guidry in ’78, Clemens in ’86, etc.*), but he’s in danger of losing out on the award. Since Greinke’s team, the Royals, was as bad he was good in 2009, Greinke finished with a mere 16 wins. Six pitchers in the league had more wins than he did.
*We’re not even going to count Bob Gibson’s 1968 season, because the pitching statistics for that season were so aberrational that I’m not sure what he was playing technically constitutes “baseball.” Continue reading »