Now, for the makes me mad part:
Top Five NL World Series Contenders
1. St. Louis Cardinals. Putting a team that's presently out of the playoff picture at #1 won't win me any fans outside of St. Louis, but their top three starters have a combined 2.54 ERA and their lineup has Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Ryan Ludwick, and Colby Rasmus. There is a lot of star power on this roster, and star power - top-level talent - is the biggest advantage come playoff time. Nobody cares about depth in the playoffs. People care about a team's best players. St. Louis' best players make for what I consider the strongest unit in the NL.
2. San Francisco Giants. The fourth-place San Francisco Giants, mind you. The fourth-place San Francisco Giants have a very solid rotation led by one Tim Lincecum, they have an underrated intimidator in Brian Wilson, and they've answered one of their biggest offensive concerns with Buster Posey. With continued success from Aubrey Huff, I expect them to make a strong push, and if they get into October, they'll be scary.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers. If you can't tell, I place a big emphasis on starting pitching in the playoffs, and the Dodgers can come at a team with Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, and an underrated Hiroki Kuroda. There aren't any questions about Jon Broxton in the bullpen, and the lineup produces enough runs to offset the runs they give up in the field. Right now they only really have one offensive hole, and that's at catcher, where you can accept a lesser performance. As much as I like the Padres, I'm worried they might be too thin.
4. Atlanta Braves. I have to say, I'm uncertain about how Jason Heyward's injury is going to affect him the rest of the way, and that lineup really needs him to produce. I'm also not completely sold on Tim Hudson's ERA. Tommy Hanson, though, is very good, and even if Alex Gonzalez doesn't produce as he did with Toronto, he should still improve on what the Braves had been getting from shortstop. This isn't an elite team, but it's a good one.
5. Philadelphia Phillies. Much of the core is older and worse, but that's still a core that's taken the team to two straight World Series. With the familiar pieces in place behind an ace in Roy Halladay, the Phillies are health and a hot streak away from again being in position to make a whole lot of noise. "
YOU HAVE GOT TO BE %#^*^*#$%*$#^*$#^*^#$*@%U# kidding me!
The Dodgers... "I place a big emphasis on starting pitching"... wtf? Yes, Kershaw is good. Yes, Kuroda is decent. But $%$^# , those three are better than our "top" three? I'd take Latos and any two of Garland/LeBlanc/Richard over their three, any day of the week. The Dodger bullpen is not as good as the Padre bullpen, period.
I'd have to think that fans of the Rockies are also pretty pissed by this column.
And the Giants... you've got to be kidding me. Lincecum is still very good... he is an ace, and I would rather not face him on a given day... but their offense is no better than ours.
Bunch of freaking crap in Sullivan's post today. Apparently our +72 run differential (best in the NL) doesn't count for crap... I guess we just played the pirates, nationals, and diamondbacks during the entire 1st half of the season... oh wait,...
The Padres have already played a tougher schedule (not counting interleague play) than the rest of the NL west contenders, and we have a relatively easier time in August, including lots of games against the NL central sub .500 teams and the diamondbacks.
Whoever is in charge of gaslampball should send a letter to the editor or something and complain about the Sullivan article o' crap.
-Zen Blade grrrrr.....