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HBT’s Division Series Preview Extravaganza

Sep 30, 2011, 9:15 AM EDT

CC Sabathia Getty Images

In case you missed it yesterday, we ran our previews for all four division series. To wit:

ALDS: Tigers vs. Yankees
ALDS: Rays vs. Rangers
NLDS: Cardinals vs. Phillies
NLDS: Diamondbacks vs. Brewers

Also, if you’re not into the whole “reading” thing, Sports Illustrated’s Joe Sheehan and I were on NBC SportsTalk last night and gave our breakdowns of each series, which you can see in the video clips below.  Before you watch ’em though, don’t give Sheehan any crap for his Cardinals thing: I’m pretty sure he thinks the Phillies will win that series. We were just trying to say, if the other team was going to win, how they might do it.

Normally I wouldn’t have to say that, but I’d hate to give Phillies fans a case of the vapors over someone appearing to disrespect their guys.

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  1. crusty14 - Sep 30, 2011 at 9:29 AM

    Can someone explain to me why the yanks ( seed#1) are playing the tigers ( seed #2) and not the rays ( seed #4)? is it due to new York and Tampa being from the same division?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Sep 30, 2011 at 9:32 AM

      Yes. Baseball rules prevent teams from the same division meeting in the first round. It’s a dumb rule, likely designed to preserve Yankees-Red Sox matchups until the ALCS. That’s my theory anyway.

    • yankeesfanlen - Sep 30, 2011 at 9:42 AM

      The Tigers are #3 seed, Rangers got them by one game at the end.

    • spudchukar - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:20 AM

      One can argue the rule, plenty of fodder on the value, but I believe part of the reason it was implemented was to lessen the “collusion”, teams from the same division could employ.

  2. cktai - Sep 30, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    Craig: “Phillies shutdown the Reds last year when they had the best offense in baseball, they look to do the same to the Cardinals”
    Sheenan: “Yeah but the Cardinals offense is tremendous.”

    • drmonkeyarmy - Sep 30, 2011 at 9:45 AM

      And yet the Reds offense of 2010 scored 28 more runs than the Cardinals offense of this season.

      • salvomania - Sep 30, 2011 at 10:16 AM

        Except that league offensive levels are down from last year.

        The Reds scored 12.7% more runs than the average NL team in 2010.
        The Cardinals scored 13.8% more runs than the average NL team in 2011.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Sep 30, 2011 at 9:48 AM

      Interestingly enough, since the return of Chase Utley the Cardinals and the Phillies have scored a near identical amount of runs.

      • cktai - Sep 30, 2011 at 10:00 AM

        Chase is a miracle maker though.

        Then again anyone would boost an offence that contains Valdez, Martinez or Orr

    • Francisco (FC) - Sep 30, 2011 at 9:59 AM

      We’ll see. The Cardinals do have one advantage in Berkman if he hits behind Pujols. I remember the ’09 NLDS when LA pitched around Pujols, walked him intenitonally several times only for Holliday to choke. But well this is 2011 and pitching around Pujols may not be an option anymore.

      • salvomania - Sep 30, 2011 at 10:19 AM

        Having Berkman batting behind Pujols won’t be a factor late in the game, though, because by the 8th inning La Russa will have Daniel Descalso or Ryan Theriot batting 4th.

      • drunkenhooliganism - Sep 30, 2011 at 10:45 AM

        Berkman is still a very very good hitter, but he’s fell off a bit. While still hitting for a good average in the second half, he only hit 3 homers in August and september

    • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 30, 2011 at 10:14 AM

      Everyone knows the Phillies kryptonite is Left -handed pitching…so of course, LaRussa will not start his lefty until game 4. Now I am starting to see why Cardinals fans can’t stand this guy.

      • salvomania - Sep 30, 2011 at 10:21 AM

        Need to save Garcia for the fourth game, so you can either tie the series up 2-2 or take a 3-1 lead. Sort of like how La Russa saved Pujols on the bench in the 2007 All Star Game so he could use him in extra innings.

      • spudchukar - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:26 AM

        Everyone SHOULD know that Jaime Garcia pitches much better at home. In a series in which he would most likely only get 1 start anyway, it is prudent to save him for a home start. Plus, who knows he may start game 1 of the League Championship Series.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:37 AM

        potatoman…you guys keep harping on the humongous 3 of 4 the Cardinals just won in Philly…maybe you SHOULD look at how Garcia handled the Phillies the first game of that series in Philly…

        Didn’t seem to have any trouble that night in Philly.

        Matter of fact, he didn’t seem to have much trouble last year in Philly either…

        It’s a dumb decision to keep Garcia, who may be their #1 option against the Phillies in the playoffs, until the 4th game that may or may not even be played. It’s another case of TLR trying to outsmart everyone. There is no reason to start Jackson in game 2 when he could pitch game 4 if necessary. But personally, I’m glad the Phillies won’t have to see Garcia until game 4…if necessary.

      • spudchukar - Sep 30, 2011 at 12:20 PM

        Fior, first I made no reference to the Cards domination of the Phils in 2011. Second, while Garcia performed admirably vs. the Phils in Pennsylvania in September, he has struggled on the road, and playing in front of the Phaithful will be tough. I would much rather see him saved until game 4 in St. Louis where he has been hugely better than on the road, plus however unlikely it might seem, he could be the LCS starter.

        Jackson starting Game 2, is not the choice I would make. Westbrook has been struggling, but he pitches well vs. the Phils and Jackson seems to be the sort of hurler the Phils would be successful against. Already there is discussion of moving up Carpenter to Game 2, which I guess would make him available for Game 5 (if necessary).

        Looks like the weather will be pretty lousy for Games 1 and 2. The Cards will probably await the outcomes of Game 1 before deciding on the rotation. A Cards win and Jackson or Westbrook goes in Game 2. A Philly win and the Red Birds may move up Carpenter.

        A question. It is supposed to be very windy on Saturday. If so which direction does the wind blow most often? From what I gather the Philly Phaithful all seem to be tuned into that info.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 30, 2011 at 2:05 PM

        The winds will usually blow in from Left Center Field because it is more open out there. But occasionally it will blow out to right…if it does that, watch out for the big man. He may hit one to Oregon Avenue.

      • spudchukar - Sep 30, 2011 at 2:13 PM

        I too will be pulling for the wind to be blowing out to right, it is the perfect recipe for Cardinal success. Look for Halliday to pitch inside to a lot of the Cards righties, with or without the breeze.

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 30, 2011 at 6:36 PM

        Jaime’s splits are notorious. Great at home but struggles mightily on the road. 2nd year pitcher. Cards need to split. Who you gonna’ throw? Your Ace of course…cause’ again…you need a split. And for the record…although TLR gives me fits sometimes I wouldn’t trade him for anyone. If he isn’t the Manager…the Cardinals are NOT where they are. Let’s talk when he gets the NL Manager of the year award for the job he has done this year. Yep…NL Manager of the year (Kirk Gibson or NOT). But I understand…the “trendy” thing to do this year seems to be to rip TLR. Get on board.

  3. kiwicricket - Sep 30, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    The season have changed, the leaves have turned….Craig is now wearing winter PJ’s to work.
    It’s time for play-off baseball.

  4. jayswin93 - Oct 2, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    Who’s that big fat guy on the mound for the Yankees? I bet he makes enough money to stop eating at McDonalds.

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