San Diego Padres at St. Louis Cardinals
Padres: 82-80 684 RS(13th) 726 RA(8th(t))
Cardinals: 100-62 805RS(2nd) 634RA(2nd)
This is the most lopsided Divisional Series matchup of all-time.† Not only are the teams 18 games apart in the W/L column, but they should be even further apart.† San Diego projects to a 75-win team using Pythagoras, and they were three games under .500 outside of the pathetic NL West.† These Padres are the worst team to enter the postseason since... well, perhaps ever.
So what hope does this floundering team have against what has been the best team in baseball over the past two seasons?
None, really.† Normally, Jake Peavy (13-7 2.88 216 K) would give this team a decided advantage in a short series, but since heís matched up against Chris ďDuncanclayĒ Carpenter (21-5 2.83 213K), all he does is give the team a shot at keeping Game 1 close.†
After Peavy, none of the San Diego starters have an ERA under 4.40.† After Carpenter, the Cardinals still have four pitchers who each made 30+ starts this year and each possess an ERA under 4.15.† The one edge that the Padres have is their unhittable bullpen, which led them to a 29-20 record in one-run games.† Unfortunately, these games are going to get out of hand before the bullpen can bail the Padres out.
Brian Giles is the Padres offense, much like Paul Konerko, Morgan Ensberg, and Vlad Guerrero represent their respective playoff teamsí offense.† The trouble is that the White Sox, Astros, and Angels all have top-five defenses in terms of runs allowed.† They can afford to play small-ball at the bottom of their order and hope for their big guy to make some noise, since they know that a couple of runs will win them games very frequently.† The Padres have a guy in Dave Roberts who is having an unheralded year with a .784 OPS and 23 SB, but the nuisance he provides on-base isnít as unsettling when the Padres are already trailing by 3-4 runs.
Some good news is that Giles is used to not having much protection in his lineup.† The bad news is that he still isnít the best type of hitter for a weak lineup.† Konerko, Ensberg, and Vlad can each carry their offenses by swinging early in the count to drive in runs.† Gilesí patience would make him a superstar with 1 or 2 other good hitters around him, but as it is heís only driven in 100 runs once during the past five seasons.† Take note of this, since these are the most negative words I will ever write about plate patience or Brian Giles.
And Cardinal fans, donít fret.† Iím only focusing on the Padres since I know that Iíll have a chance to write about your team next week in my Championship Series Preview.
Prediction: Cardinals in four