Monday, September 30, 2013

NL Playoff Matchups: A Short Preview

Well we all know where we stand now. The Braves fought hard but came up a game short of the home field advantage, and as a result they draw the Dodgers in the first round NLDS. I can't say I'm thrilled about that, as you may well know from all my comments about how they aren't the best matchup for us. However, we don't have a choice now and we have to play the hand we were dealt. It does raise a questionable point should anything go wrong that the Braves didn't play their hardest down the stretch with the best lineup in the game. Hopefully, we never have to discuss that when we win the World Series.

The Braves will face off against the Dodgers, with Games 1&2 in Atlanta, 3&4 in LA, and then a decider Game 5 in Atlanta if necessary. The first two games will be on Thursday and Friday of this week. The two games in LA will be Sunday and Monday. The Game 5 would be on Wednesday if they need it. The schedule sets up for the Braves to control the series from the onset, but they can't really afford to drop any of the home games. Why? Because if they do, the series may never come back to Atlanta. That's why it's so important to win Game 1 since it sets the tone for the series, and right now it looks like Kris Medlen will be that tone-setter. He'll likely face off against Clayton Kershaw. More to come on that and the timing of the games as we approach Wednesday.

The Cardinals will face the winner of the Pirates/Reds one game playoff on Tuesday. Their schedule follows the same pattern as the Braves on the same days, with the Cardinals holding home field advantage over the wild card winner. Honestly, I think the Cardinals are rooting for the Reds, since the Pirates actually hold a 10-9 winning season record against St. Louis this year, while the Reds only have a paltry 8-11 record. Also, the Cardinals have roughed up the Reds for an ERA over 5.00, while they haven't hit the Pirates as well with an ERA of 3.94. In the end, I don't think it really matters too much who they get, but I'm rooting for the Pirates selfishly. Why? Because I want the Braves to beat the Dodgers, the Pirates to beat the Cardinals, and that sets up a rematch of Pirates v. Braves in the NLCS. Can you imagine the hype? Braves country would be rapt with anticipation. The Pirates would be trying to exorcise 20 years of demons. The announcers would be playing Sid Bream's slide on a rotating wheel. Glorious!

After the game on Tuesday I'll preview the matchup, since we'll have times and starters defined by the clubs. In the meantime, enjoy the AL play in game tonight, and the Wild Card games tomorrow. We have a week of great baseball and this is just the beginning.


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