Tuesday, July 06, 2004
1. The San Diego Padres.
The Padres offense doesn't look too formitable at first, but these guys are a good, good team: they are 17-9 in one-run games thanks to a dominating closer (Trevor Hoffman), and they are pitching well with a 3.75 ERA (3rd in the NL) and a 1.30 WHIP (4th). The Pads are also fourth in the NL in ZR (.855). This is a team that is playing good-to-outstanding pitching and defense, and teams that do that play tough baseball. Their pythagorean win-loss record works out to be 87-75, which I tend to think will be good enough for the post-season.
The Padres lineup also hits for some power on the road, so this could be a difficult team to match up against in the playoffs: they can win a 2-1 pitchers duel at Petco and then out-slug you 8-6 at your park.
Imagine facing David Wells in a deciding game in the NLDS or NLCS: a veteran, savvy pitcher with a WHIP of 1.01 and an ERA of 3.03 ... The Phillies could really be in trouble if they see these guys.
2. The Los Angeles Dodgers.
One name: Eric Gagne. This guy is inhuman. Okay, his consecutive save streak just ended, but Gagne is the big reason why the Dodgers are 16-7 in one-run games and 6-1 in extra inning games. The Dodgers lineup doesn't frighten me, but they could get better in a hurry with John DePodesta at the helm as GM. This guy could swing a deal to bring in a big-time player like Griffey, Jr. that could make these guys a juggernaut.
3. New York Mets.
This is a young team with a formitable rotation: Glavine has an absurdly low WHIP of 1.05, and Leiter and Traschel are both playing well too. Plus, they played the Phils surprisingly well this year until this series.
(This would be my reaction to a Padres-Phils NLCS / NLDS...)
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