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September, 2008

The Chicago Cubs and LA Dodgers have each made an impact late-season acquisition (Rich Harden and Manny Ramirez). Both teams developed an all-around fantastic young catcher (Geovanny Soto and Russell Martin). Both franchises house fan bases hungry for a World Series victory (100 years and 20 years). Yet the Cubs and the Dodgers are more unalike than alike, writes Keith, who contrasts the teams and gives his prediction for the series.

In the final Pepper of the season, Gregory gets excited about the resurgence of the workhorse, talks about the recent play of the White Sox and Brewers, plus makes his haphazard picks for the postseason. Four "History of the Weeks" are also included.

A chapter in baseball history closed Sunday night when Mariano Rivera pitched the final inning of Major League Baseball in Yankee Stadium. Tony offers us a recap of the evening's ceremonies while Gregory shares his experiences from a game there earlier this month.

This week, Gregory exposes a Bonehead Sportswriter in the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, who is under the impression that Jon Lester is an elite pitcher while Scott Kazmir is junk based on one poor outing. Also, see two formerly great pitchers attempting comebacks with the Detroit Tigers contrasted.

In Part VI of our series ranking the top prospects of the San Francisco Giants, Richard examines the organization's top starting pitchers and divulges the top ten prospects in the organization overall.

In Part V of our series on the top San Francisco Giants prospects, Richard examines the organization's top relievers. Brian Wilson has been a resounding success, but there is no shortage of young arms waiting in the wings should he falter.

Carlos Zambrano no-hit the Astros under somewhat unfair circumstances, though the big guy did have a four-seamer averaging 97 MPH, a two-seamer averaging 95 MPH, and impeccable control working Sunday night. Gregory thinks that inconsistencies in his command put him in the National League's second tier of starting pitchers, however.

Speaking of unfair, is it okay to fire a manager who on September 15th had already led his team to it's best record in 16 years? Gregory thinks so. Read what else he has to say about the week's events.

In Part IV of our series on the top prospects of the San Francisco Giants, Richard examines the organization's top outfielders. Brian Sabean hopes to find a youngster who can match the apparent success of left fielder Fred Lewis.

In Part III of our series on the top San Francisco Giants Prospects, Richard examines the organization's top middle infielders. Many of these prospects have played for the big league club this year, as both second base and shortstop are areas of dire need for this franchise.

In Part II of our series on the top prospects of the San Francisco Giants, Richard examines the organization's top corner infielders. A first baseman who just turned 18 and a third baseman just drafted this year headline the group as fast-risers. Angel Villalona and Conor Gillaspie are not just top Giants prospects, but some of the most exciting young prospects in all of baseball.

Will the inexperienced Rays continue to struggle down the stretch and let the Red Sox overtake them in the division? Can the Chicago White Sox still win the AL Central without Carlos Quentin? Can the Mets hang on without Billy Wagner? Who prevails: Adam Dunn's Diamondbacks or Manny Ramirez' Dodgers?

Only the eight playoff teams remain above the Line of Death as we reveal the Final Baseball Evolution Power Rankings for this season.

Who should win the AL MVP Award? What more can Alex Rodriguez do to immortalize himself in baseball history? Will Mike Mussina win 20 games? Who won the AL batting crown in 1910?

These questions are addressed in Gregory's Weekly Pepper piece.

Today begins a six-part, two-week analysis of the San Francisco Giants' top prospects by position. Richard Van Zandt begins with a ranking of the top five catching prospects in the organization, and it's no surprise as to who comes in at #1.

As you'll recall, yesterday Asher decided to do a little experiment to see how much the awards landscape changes during the month of September. Well, less than 24 hours after his article, the Chicago White Sox announced that Carlos Quentin will miss the next two-to-three weeks with a broken wrist.

So one day into the experiment, Asher must revise one of his picks, and his backup choice is not someone you would likely expect.

Last season, Asher wrote an article on September 26 in which he assailed the notion that Jimmy Rollins could possibly be considered the NL MVP, and laughed at Phillies fans for chanting "M-V-P" when Rollins came up to bat. But by the time the World Series was grinding to a close, Asher supported the idea of Jimmy Rollins as the Most Valuable Player.

With this in mind, Asher takes a look at the players we expect to win each league's major awards with just under a month to play, and then see how things ultimately turn out.

This week's Pepper focuses on all things pitching, from a nine-year old Little Leaguer who throws too hard for his own good, to Mark Prior's pitching mechanics, to Aaron Harang's disappointing season, to Ryan Dempster's shocking season, to Josh Fogg's unsuccessful return from injury, to a comparison between Brandon Webb and Tim Lincecum, to the fleeting nature of middle relief dominance, to the return of Everyday Eddie Guardado. It also features extensive commentary on the incendiary Jay Marriotti's resignation.