Posts Tagged ‘los angeles dodgers’

MLB Preview Bonanza: NL West

The Major League Baseball season may have already started, but it’s not too late for some long-term predictions from John S and Tim. Tim will cover the old-fashioned, baseball-the-way-it-was-meant-to-be-played National League while John handles the by-this-point-too-far-gone American League. To build suspense, we’re starting in the West and gradually moving to the Central and East divisions by Saturday.

In 2005, the San Diego Padres won the National League West with an 82-80 record–the worst to ever claim a division crown. The West was the laughingstock of the NL, which in turn was looked down upon by the Junior Circuit. In the four seasons since, however, the NL West has had a bit of a renaissance, winning the NL’s Wild Card in three of those seasons and placing four teams in the NLCS over that time. The West had three teams win at least 88 games last year–the first NL division to do that since, well, the West in 2007. It is Major League Baseball’s most fluctuating division–the only one to place all of its teams in the playoffs since 2002–even as the Dodgers have won the division each of the last two seasons. That will change in 2010. Continue reading

MLB Postseason Preview: NLCS Rematch!

Philadelphia Phillies

at Los Angeles Dodgers

OVERVIEW

It’s the most anticipated NLCS rematch since Cardinals-Astros ‘05! Will this one finish what that one started, and officially put the nail in Brad Lidge’s coffin?

The Phillies are coming off a very entertaining four-game NLDS victory over the Rockies (seriously; it was one of the best NLDSs in a while) while the Dodgers swept the Cardinals in a direct and reciprocal refutation of my prediction for the series. The Phillies dispatched Los Angeles in five in the NLCS last season, with the series turning on a big Matt Stairs pinch-hit home run in Game 4. This one appears more evenly matched, as it’s the Dodgers with the home-field advantage.

LCS rematches have been fairly memorable over the last two decades, including the 2004 series between the Yankees and Red Sox and the 1992 rematch of the Braves and Pirates.

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MLB Postseason Preview: Cardinals vs. Dodgers

St. Louis Cardinals (91-71) at

Los Angeles Dodgers (95-67)

OVERVIEW

About four months ago, when LA held about a 15-game lead in the NL West, my only Dodgers’ fan friend asked me to assess their playoff chances. My response? “Who’s your Game 1 starter? Exactly. What you did to the Cubs last year will happen to you.” The Dodgers are built for the regular season with a deep lineup and egalitarian rotation. The Cardinals, meanwhile, have played tremendously since acquiring Matt Holliday in July, have the league’s two best pitchers in Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, and the best hitter of the last four decades in Albert Pujols. St. Louis has been better than Los Angeles for some time, and that will be borne out rather quickly, I think, in this series.

THE LINEUPS

The Dodgers’ lineup, like their pitching staff, is deep but not highlighted by any one star. And that includes Manny Ramirez, who has hit .290 with a pedestrian 19 home runs. Guys like Andre Ethier, James Loney, and Matt Kemp are dangerous but unproven, and I wouldn’t feel particularly comfortable counting on them. Russell Martin has had, by all accounts, a horrendous season. There’s very little difference between the Dodgers’ fifth hitter and their eighth hitter, which is both a good and bad thing.

The Cardinals have Albert Pujols. (Fine, some more: Matt Holliday and Mark DeRosa give the lineup more depth than it had when Ryan Ludwick, Rick Ankiel, and Colby Rasmus were protecting Pujols. Obvs. And Tony LaRussa stopped batting his pitcher eighth in late July. Sigh.)

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