Monday, June 28, 2010

Divison Round Matchups

We're down to 8, with the #5 seeds upsetting the #4's in both leagues. Here's the breakdown:

National League

#5 Cubs vs. #1 Expos: Both clubs tended to win with offense this year - Cubs were #3 in runs and Montreal was #5 - and both were middle-of-the pack pitching-wise. The Frenchies did lead the league in fielding percentage, with the Cubs at #14 (57 more unearned runs than the Expos), so watch how the errors play out. They split their season series.

#3 Padres vs. #2 Braves: Classic offense/defense matchup: the Braves led the league in runs scored, while the Pads, with their "waves of relievers" strategy, allowed the fewest. But while Atlanta's pitching is also pretty impressive (3.98 ERA), San Diego had to scrap for every run (14th in scoring). Atlanta took the season series 6-4.

American League

#3 Boston vs. #2 Tampa Bay: The Rays took the season series 7-3 this year. The teams are just about dead-even on offense - Tampa Bay has a slight edge in pitching and posted the league's top fielding percentage. Player to watch: Donatello Bollea has been a deadly Ray-killer in previous years (0-1 in 2 starts this year); if he can revert to his Season 9 and 10 form (against the Rays, at least) for 2 starts (likely against Santos Lorenzo), it could be an early out for the defending AL champs.

#5 Rangers vs. #1 Athletics: Oakland was a statistical powerhouse this year, finishing 2nd in runs scores, first in Team ERA, and 3rd in fielding percentage. Texas was right behind the A's in scoring but will need to step up the pitching and play flawless defense to have a shot in this series. Oakland won the season series 7-3.

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