Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Looking at possible NLDS opponents

The playoff teams in the National League are officially locked in, so in addition to my beloved Dodgers, congrats goes out to the Braves, Cardinals, Pirates, and Reds.  It's safe to the NL Central is representing.

As of now, the Braves have a 1/2 game lead over the Cardinals for home field advantage, with the other three teams very close behind.  So, with the exception of the NL East champion Braves, the Dodgers still could face any of the three teams from the Central.

And with that in mind, let's take a look at how the Dodgers fared against each of them this season.


Season Series: 4-3 Dodgers (7-0 Cardinals, 5-3 Dodgers, 5-3 Cardinals, 3-2 Dodgers, 5-1 Cardinals, 13-4 Dodgers, 5-1 Dodgers)

Thoughts: The 5-1 loss to the Cardinals was the game that snapped the 15-game road winning streak back in the beginning of August.  And to think, that was a game started by Clayton Kershaw.  No worries, as Ricky Nolasco and Hyun-Jin Ryu took care of business the next two days.

It's probably no surprise that the Dodgers dropped two of three in May, then won three of four in August.  Like pretty much every other team they played, it all comes down to which half of the season it occurred.  Back in May, Brandon League picked up the save in the 5-3 win.  My how times have changed.


Season Series: 4-2 Dodgers (3-0 Dodgers, 1-0 Dodgers, 6-2 Dodgers, 3-0 Pirates, 5-3 Dodgers, 6-3 Pirates)

Thoughts: All of these games took place before July, and after the Dodgers lost the last game, their record stood at 29-39.  Considering how much of a mess they were at this time, it's actually pretty amazing they were even able to win four of six.

After sweeping the Pirates in their second home series of the season, it took until the 14th home series to get another one (late June against the Giants, which was when they began their incredible turnaround).  In the big picture, both teams probably can't put much stock into these matchups because they're both so much better now.  The Dodgers have gotten much healthier, and the Pirates made some big trades for Justin Morneau and Marlon Byrd.


Season Series: 4-3 Reds (5-2 Reds, 2-1 Dodgers, 4-1 Dodgers, 1-0 Dodgers, 3-2 Reds, 4-3 Reds, 3-2 Reds)

Thoughts: As opposed to the Pirates' series, this is a better reflection of how each team might currently fare against each other.  All seven games took place from July 25 and on.  Toss out the first game, and the home team won every game thereafter.

Only two of these games were decided by more than one run, so getting the last at-bat appears to be very important.  Plus, each team has a dominant closer in Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman, so the margin of error is very slim.  I doubt either team would run away with any game if they locked horns in a five or seven-game series.

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