Baseball’s Biggest Payroll Takes Center Stage In NLDS

Dodgers don’t have home field advantage, but with two of the best pitchers in the league it might not matter.

The Rolomite | Daily Girth

It’s time for Dodgers baseball. Well, the same could be said of the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates.

The National League divisional series is a best-of-five sprint, however, the No. 3 team could claw its way to the top.

Actually, the Dodgers have the fewest wins of any team in the NLDS (90). They are also the same team that went 42-8 at one point this season and have been on cruise control for the last month, resting players and purposely skipping starts to have their starting pitching rotation just right.

And why not? Home field means nothing when you have Clayton Kershaw (16-9) and Zack Greinke (15-4) starting. Don’t be fooled by neither of them getting to 20 wins; Kershaw had one of the most spectacular seasons in baseball history, posting a ridiculously low 1.83 ERA. Greinke finished the second half with a 1.85 ERA. Both have won the Cy Young award, which is given to the best pitcher in each league. Kershaw is a lock to win it again this season.

Here we go with the match-ups:

Los Angeles Dodgers (NL West champions) vs. Atlanta Braves (NL East champions)

The Dodgers will lean on their ace pitchers. L.A.’s lineup is a threat as well. When they’re all healthy, it’s scary for the opposing team. Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez and rookie phenom Yasiel Puig are all major threats at the plate.

Atlanta also has a power lineup featuring Freddie Freeman (.319 batting average, 109 RBIs), Justin Upton (team leading 27 home runs) and Chris Johnson (.321 average). The Braves’ bullpen is very strong.

Like the Dodgers, Atlanta also coasted to the division title, winning by 10 games.

The pick: Dodgers in four.

Pittsburgh Pirates (NL Wild Card) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (NL Central champions)

The Pirates won the one game Wild Card playoff against a tough Reds squad. They are an upstart bunch. But experience and rest will go in the Cardinals’ favor.

St. Louis’ lineup is extremely tough. Four players average more than .300 and one more, the versatile Carlos Beltran, is not far away with a .296 average. Adam Wainwright led the NL with 19 wins.

Andrew McCutcheon leads the Pirates with a .317 average, 21 home runs and 27 stolen bases. He was, however, the only player who batted more than .300. Not that this team is without firepower. Pedro Alvarez bombed 36 home runs and Starling Marte stole 41 bases. Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau were acquired to help in the postseason.

World Series pedigree should win out.

The pick: St. Louis in four.

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