A full slate of division series games kicks off at noon today as all of the match-ups are either playing their second game of the series or just getting underway. A few days ago in the American League version of this post I settled on rooting for the Angels and Tigers and that isn't going so hot, with both teams losing last night. It's certainly fun to watch the Royals in their first playoff appearance in my lifetime though, so I can't be too angry about it. Obviously the Pittsburgh Pirates have already been eliminated from the National League equation meaning only four teams remain to choose from.
The Washington Nationals have been the team that has had a ton of potential in the past few years without ever putting it together, but they really stuck it to the Braves this year and ran away with the division (while crushing every Atlanta fan's hopes and dreams). The excitement of the team begins and ends with Bryce Harper, although he brings enough to the table to satisfy all your excitement needs. He was pretty bad at points this year and there were silly rumours that he was going to be demoted, but he still ended up posting a .344 OBP so the reports of his demise are greatly exaggerated. Honestly, I don't think I have an opinion about the Nationals thanks to rarely getting to see them play. As long as the possibly annoying narrative of a Orioles-Nationals World Series doesn't come true then I'll sleep soundly at night.
The San Francisco Giants are just downright annoying at this point. Every other year they win the World Series and they're probably going to win the championship again this year because they've done it the past two even year seasons and that's a big enough sample size for me. They should be crushed by the massive payroll of the Dodgers every season (even though the Giants have their own bill that comes in over $150,000,000) but they always contend with their in-state rivals with their beautiful stadium, gorgeous views, and cool Hunter Pence. On the bright side, their 2014 rotation isn't very good and their offence isn't powerful enough to make up for it (unless they hit grand slams every game) so there's a solid possibility of a sweep coming at the hands of the Nationals. I hate the Giants because I'm jealous. I hope they don't win.
The St. Louis Cardinals fall under the same category as the San Francisco Giants with their winning culture and repulsive amount of recent playoff appearances. The only thing opposite to the Giants is that the Cardinals decide to do their winning on odd years, which is beginning to make me think there's some collusion going on here. Both teams seem a little too content to be in the World Series every other year. Unlike the Giants, I can see the Cardinals actually winning the World Series this year with their dominant rotation and ridiculous offensive depth. The team had to actually leave Justin Masterson off the postseason roster as well as moving Michael Wacha to the bullpen in favour of Shelby Miller. We may be able to make a shirt that says "Norris & Sanchez & Stroman & Hutchison", but the Cardinals can make a dress for a female basketball player with the amount of arms they have.
We've arrived at the time for a confession that I've already made around here before. I really like the Los Angeles Dodgers. When the Blue Jays are getting demolished by teams with bigger payrolls and more stars, I always enjoy staying up late listening to Vin Scully and rooting for just an embarrassment of riches on a baseball field that in theory should be able to outspend basically everyone. Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball and Yasiel Puig is one of the most exciting, while Scully makes Buck and Pat seem like high school interns in the booth. Sometimes it's nice to ditch the underdog role and just arrogantly cheer for a stacked team like the Dodgers. I hope they crush the Cardinals and Nationals and whoever else they have to face so good ole Scully can witness his team win another World Series. The team actually has a bigger World Series drought than the Blue Jays, making their last appearance in a 1988 victory.
Who will you folks be cheering for when the National League side of the playoffs get underway?