Jobu previews the NLDS series between the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals.
The Nationals finished the regular season with a major league high 98 wins. The Cardinals had ten less wins, and are tied with the Tigers for the worst record of all the playoff teams. On paper, this tells you one thing: Nats are going to romp them in this series. I’m not so sure it will be that clean cut.As I mentioned when I previewed the Wild Card play-in game, the Cardinals are used to being playoff underdogs. In their last two World Championships, last year and in 2006, the Cardinals had the worst record of all the playoff teams, but got hot and cut through everyone in the playoffs. There’s really nothing that says they can’t do that again this year, but will they?
The Cardinals boast a solid rotation made up of veterans Chris Carpenter and Kyle Lohse and one outstanding rookie named Lance Lynn. They also boast a great offense, with such sluggers as Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina (yes, he’s a slugger now somehow), Carlos Beltrán and Allen Craig. This team suffered through a lot of injuries this season, which might be the only reason the Reds pretty much ran away with the NL Central.
The Nationals, meanwhile, are flat out stacked. Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg actually aren’t the only two guys who suit up for them every night. Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Laroche all had 25+ homers (Harper had 22, by the way). They also have Mike Morse and Danny Espinosa who can pop the ball out of the park too.
They also have a guy who might take home the Cy Young, and it’s not even Strasburg. It’s actually Gio González. Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Dertwiler aren’t half bad either. While I don’t think they’re ten wins better than a healthy Cardinals team, I think they should be able to win this series.
There’s also the matter of the mysterious bunting practice that Strasburg was doing as recently as last week… Could the fireballing righty be preparing to pitch (in some capacity) in the playoffs? It wouldn’t shock me if he makes an appearance later in the post season if the Nationals move on.
Anyway, now to the prediction… Yeah I actually can’t bring myself to bet against the Cardinals. I did last year, and they won the whole thing. Cardinals win in five games. The Nationals, meanwhile, might win a couple championships over the next decade or so.
Featured image courtesy of: Rob Carr/Getty Images
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