The National League Divisional Series begins today between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals. Let's take a look at the matchups to see who will win this playoff series.
Catcher: Washington is forced to go with a platoon of Jesus Flores (.213, 6 HR, 26 RBI) and(.235, 6 HR, 43 RBI) after a season-ending injury to Wilson Ramos. The Cardinals have the best catcher in the majors in (.315, 22 HR, 76 RBI). Advantage: Cardinals.
First Baseman: The Cardinals Allen Craig (.307, 22 HR, 92 RBI) stepped up big-time when given a chance to play every day due to the injuries of(.259, 7 HR, 14 RBI). Berkman could possibly be back as well. Nationals 1B (.271, 33 HR, 100 RBI) found his bat once again this season. Advantage: Even.
Second Baseman: Washington's Danny Espinosa (.247, 17 HR, 56 RBI, 20 SB) is a threat at the plate and on the bases. The Cardinals go with a platoon of Daniel Descalso (.227, 4 HR, 26 RBI) for defense and Skip Schumacker (.276, 1 HR, 28 RBI) for offense. Advantage: Nationals.
Shortstop: Rookie Pete Kozma (.333, 2 HR, 14 RBI) has filled in admirably for the injured Rafael Furcal. The Nationals' Ian Desmond (.292, 25 HR, 73 RBI, 21 SB) is having a career year in every statistical category. Advantage: Nationals.
Third Baseman: Both clubs have outstanding players at third base: Nationals 3B(.282, 25 HR, 95 RBI) and Cardinals 3B David Freese (.293, 20 HR, 79 RBI). Advantage: Even.
Outfield: The Nationals have a good problem as they rotate five players in the outfield: rookie Bryce Harper (.270, 22 HR, 59 RBI),(.300, 5 HR, 31 RBI), Roger Bernadina (.291, 5 HR, 25 RBI), Michael Morse (.291, 18 HR, 62 RBI), and Tyler Moore (.263, 10 HR, 29 RBI). St. Louis has an excellent outfield as well: John Jay (.305, 4 HR, 40 RBI), (.295, 27 HR, 102 RBI), and Carlos Beltran (.269, 32 HR, 97 RBI). Advantage: Even.
Starting Pitching: The Cardinals pitching staff received a boost when(0-2, 3.71 ERA) came back in September. He will be joined by (16-3, 2.86 ERA), Lance Lynn (18-7, 3.78 ERA), Jaime Garcia (7-7), (14-13), and Jake Westbrook (13-11). The manager has to make the right decision as who will start because all of their starting pitchers have ERA's under 4.00. The Nationals boast a strong 4-man playoff rotation of Gio Gonzalez (21-8, 2.89 ERA, 207 K's), Ross Detwiler (10-8, 3.40 ERA), Jordan Zimmerman (12-8, 2.94), and Edwin Jackson (10-11, 4.03 ERA). However, the organization of the Nationals is absolutely idiotic for shutting down Stephen Strasburg (15-6) for the season. If they knew that he was only going to pitch 3/4 of the season, then they should have rested him at the start of the season so that his first start would have been in June so that he would be starting in Game 1. Nevertheless, he may pitch in relief. Advantage: Due to the ineptitude of the Washington Nationals organization, it goes to the Cardinals. If Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that the Nationals organization is going good, then it's bad.
Relief Pitching: Both teams have outstanding closers in Jason Motte (42 saves) for St. Louis and Tyler Clippard (32 saves) for the Nationals. Washington has a way deeper middle relief with five relievers with ERA's under 3.00. Advantage: Nationals.
Going by the analysis, I am picking the Nationals to win this series in five games.