Thursday, October 2, 2014

NL DIVISIONAL SERIES MATCH-UPS

By: Connor Glowacki


San Francisco Giants vs. Washington Nationals.

Figure 1.  Bumgarner pitched a complete game, allowing just four hits in a 8-0 win over Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.
(Courtesy of sfexaminer.com)
     The San Francisco Giants have won two of the last four World Series titles.After embarrassing the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night, they are still in the running to capture another title in 2014. While offensively the Giants finished just 12th in runs (665) and 10th in batting average (.255), the pitching is full of both talent and experience.
     Ace Madison Bumgarner was explosive in the regular season after finishing with an 18-10 record that included a 2.98 ERA and a team high 219 strikeouts. With a pitching rotation that also includes veterans Tim Hudson, Ryan Vogelsong and Jake Peavy, San Francisco will have plenty of experience to lean upon this postseason. The primary playmaker offensively for the Giants this season was catcher Buster Posey, who led the team in batting average (.311), home runs (22), and RBIs (89).
Figure 2. Strasburg led MLB in strikeouts this season with 242.
(Courtesy of WJLA).
     San Francisco will travel to the nation's capital to face a red-hot Washington Nationals team filled with the right mix of talented youth and needed experience. The Nationals' pitching rotation is arguably the best in baseball with the combination of Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, Doug Fister, and Gio Gonzalez. The fact that Tanner Roark (15-10, 2.85 ERA) is most likely moving to the bullpen just proves how much depth the Nationals have in their pitching.    
     While they aren't particularly dynamic on offense, the batting order is very deep and features numerous guys that can make a big impact play, such as center fielder Denard Span, right fielder Jayson Werth, infielder Anthony Rendon, and shortstop Ian Desmond, just to name a few.

GAME 1 PITCHING MATCH-UP

SF: Jake Peavy (7-13, 3.73 ERA) vs. WAS: Stephen Strasburg (14-11, 3.14 ERA)

PROJECTED BATTING LINEUPS

        GIANTS                                                                                     NATIONALS
1.) CF Gregor Blanco                                                                   1.) CF Denard Span
2.) 2B Joe Panik                                                                            2.) 3B Anthony Rendon
3.) C Buster Posey                                                                        3.) RF Jayson Werth
4.) 3B Pablo Sandoval                                                                  4.) 1B Adam LaRoche
5.) RF Hunter Pence                                                                     5.) SS Ian Desmond
6.) 1B Brandon Belt                                                                     6.) LF Bryce Harper
7.) SS Brandon Crawford                                                             7.) C Wilson Ramos
8.) LF Travis Ishikawa                                                                 8.) 2B Asdrubal Cabrera
9.) Giants Starting Pitchers                                                           9.) Nationals Starting Pitchers


St.Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Figure 3. Wainwright will try to lead the Cardinals to the World Series for the first time since winning in 2011.
(Courtesy of ksdk.com) 
           St.Louis did win the NL Central divison with a 90-72 record, but let's be honest. It wasn't in particulary spectacular fashion, compared to previous seasons. They only scored 16 runs more than their opponents this season and finished just 23rd in the majors in runs scored (619) and 14th in team batting average (.253). But the Cardinals have always been one of those teams that takes their level of play to a whole different level once the postseason comes around.
     They will be led by their ace pitcher Adam Wainwright, who was dominant this season after finishing with a record of 20-9, a 2.38 ERA and 184 strikeouts. On offense, the Cardinals will be led by first baseman Matt Adams (.288 BA Avg, 15 HRs, 68 RBIs), outfielder Matt Holiday (,272 BA Avg, 20 HRs, 90 RBIs) and shortstop Johnny Peralta (.263 BA Avg, 21 HRs, 75 RBIs).
Figure 4. Will Kershaw's incredible 2014 season continue against the Cardinals?
(Courtesy of the latimes)
     St. Louis will take on a Dodgers squad that is anchored by an even more dominant ace pitcher. Clayton Kershaw was impressive on historical levels in 2014 as he finished with an astounding 21-3 record, a 1.77 ERA and 239 strikeouts. Add a rotation that also has Zach Grienke and Hyun-Jin Ryu and the Dodgers will have an impressive 1-2-3 punch of starting pitchers.
     Los Angeles also has playmakers on offense that include outfielder Yasiel Puig (.296 BA Avg, 16 HRs), first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (.276 BA Avg, 27 HRs, 116 RBIs) and outfielder Matt Kemp (.287 BA Avg, 25HRs, 89 RBIs), just to name a few.

GAME 1 PITCHING MATCH-UP (Maybe the best you'll see this postseason!)

STL: Adam Wainwright (20-9, 2.38 ERA) vs. LAD: Clayton Kershaw (21-3, 1.77 ERA)

PROJECTED BATTING LINEUPS

     CARDINALS                                                                              DODGERS
1.) 3B Matt Carpenter                                                                  1.) 2B Dee Gordon
2.) 2B Kolten Wong                                                                    2.) CF Yasiel Puig
3.) LF Matt Holliday                                                                   3.) 1B Adrian Gonzalez
4.) 1B Matt Adams                                                                      4.) RF Matt Kemp
5.) SS Jhonny Peralta                                                                  5.) SS Hanley Ramirez
6.) C Yadier Molina                                                                    6.) LF Carl Crawford/Andre Ethier
7.) RF Jon Jay                                                                             7.) 3B Juan Uribe
8.) CF Peter Bourjos                                                                   8.) C A.J. Ellis
9.) Starting Cardinals Pitchers                                                     9.) Starting Dodgers Pitchers

Who do YOU think will win and advance to the NLCS? Leave a comment below or tweet me your comment @ConnorGlowacki.

4 comments:

  1. Go Nats!!! We need a win!

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  2. So sad for our Nats... maybe next year!!

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  3. Maybe next year :/. Still cool seeing the Royals in the World Series though.

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