Posts Tagged ‘joey votto’

MLB Postseason Preview: Giants vs. Reds

San Francisco Giants (94-68) at Cincinnati Reds (97-65)

OVERVIEW

Contrary to the muddled playoff picture in the American League, the National League’s top three has been settled for some time. The Reds and Giants each clinched their divisions rather early, winning them by nine and eight, respectively — the two largest margins in baseball. Two years removed from a surprising run to the World Series, the Giants are back looking for more postseason magic. The Reds can improve on their 2010 postseason by 1. Getting a hit in each game they play; and 2. Winning one of those games.

LINEUPS

Contrary to what you might think (and what I thought when I started writing this sentence), the Giants actually outscored the Reds this season by an average of 0.3 runs per game. San Francisco has been led by otherworldly performances from Melky Cabrera (in the first half) and probable NL MVP Buster Posey (in the second half). Posey posted a .336/.408/.549 line for the season; since the All-Star Game, his OPS is something like 3.600 (fine, it’s only 1.102). Posey, combined with the addition of Marco Scutaro, have allowed the Giants to overcome Cabrera’s suspension—which, mind you, ends if San Francisco gets to the NLCS (although the team has indicated it would not bring him back).

Cincinnati’s offense revolves around Joey Votto, who would also be in the MVP race if he hadn’t missed 51 games. Votto’s .474 on-base percentage is the highest (min. 475 plate appearances, the number Votto had on the dot) by a non-steroid user (sorry Bonds and Giambi) since Edgar Martinez in 1995. Even counting steroid users, it’s the 11th-best of the divisional era. At the same time, Votto was more a doubles than a home run hitter this season. The rest of the lineup makes up for that drop in power. Jay Bruce hit 34 homers, Ryan Ludwick had a comeback year with 26 long balls, and Jersey’s own Todd Frazier hit 19 as a rookie fill-in for Scott Rolen at third.

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MLB Preview: National League

Baseball season is already underway, but John S didn’t let the first weekend alter his preseason predictions. You’ll just have to trust him on that…

NL West

1. Arizona Diamondbacks

2. San Francisco Giants*

3. Los Angeles Dodgers

4. Colorado Rockies

5. San Diego Padres

You really nailed this division last year, huh? It’s true that last year I had the Diamondbacks, who ultimately won the division, finishing last in my season preview. So in order to make up for it, I’ve picked them to repeat in 2012.

And it’s not like it’s a trendy pick, either, since nobody’s really expecting Arizona to make the playoffs again. Continue reading

MLB Preview: National League

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!

NL West

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

MLB Postseason Preview: Reds vs. Phillies

Cincinnati Reds (91-71) at

Philadelphia Phillies (97-65)

OVERVIEW

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.

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