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Playoff Preview: Cardinals/Padres

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Update [2005-10-4 14:37:57 by Marc Normandin]: Apparently the Cardinals took Peavy's lunch money first, after scaring Bochy into doing weird things like bunting with 2 strikes.

I know I am in the minority in this, but I would not be surprised to see San Diego be the team heading to the NLCS. This is nothing against St. Louis; I think the chance is essentially equal that the redbirds bludgeon the hell out of the Padres and then take their lunch money too. I just want to start off by saying that I do not think this will end up like the 2004 Division Series shellacking of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Interesting items here: Pujols, Giles and Edmonds would all be the Net Runs Above Average leader in the American League. None of them is NL MVP. Miguel Olivo is the Padres second best player...the problem being, Ramon Hernandez is their other catcher who plays often (+3.92 NRAA) and one of them has to sit. It is amazing the level of production coming out of Brian Giles relative to the rest of the Padres squad. Against the Cardinals this year he hit .417/.548/.792 (maybe they will sign him to replace Larry Walker...like they need another hitter this winter). As far as EQRAA go, Giles takes home the cake (mmm...cake):

I don't think I even have to explain anything on this graph besides Giles is pretty close to half of the production of the Padres. Bochy better not screw up the lineup construction, or this series is over before it starts. If they can stack the lineup as much as possible behind Giles, they have a chance to win with him. That includes platoon/bench players as you can see as well, so the figure should be even higher if it is only among starters. Lineup advantage: St. Louis, but in a close game I'd take Giles as seriously as Pujols or Edmonds.

  1. Carpenter 68.4 VORP
  2. Mulder 37.6 VORP
  3. Suppan 28.0 VORP
  4. Morris 18.9 VORP
  5. Marquis 18.8 VORP
  1. Peavy 56.4 VORP
  2. Lawrence 15.8 VORP
  3. Astacio 15.1 VORP
  4. Eaton 10.1 VORP
The Padres need more Peavy like Christopher Walken needs more cowbell. The fever is the Cardinals lineup, and Peavy is their best chance for survival. Eaton and Astacio are also capable of shutting the Cards down, but they will need two wins from Peavy. If they lose today, they will need a resurgence not seen in a Division Series since Pedro Martinez's first game loss in 1999 in Cleveland. Maybe Peavy can do it without getting injured along the way and scaring half of San Diego to death though.

I've already been through San Diego's bench strengths, with either Olivo or Hernandez on the bench along with Burroughs or Randa, Mark Sweeney or Xavier Nady, and Robert Fick. That is a bench that has swapped starting jobs all season long due to injury and insanity of Bochy, but they are all capable of switching off interchangeably with no real problems. The Cardinals are already using their bench in the lineup, with John Mabry and Abraham Nunez playing third and Mabry occasionally in the outfield. Einar Diaz does not put fear into the hearts of the masses (although he is a future Hall of Famer. Roger Cedeno? Hector Luna? If only it was the Padres bench versus the Cardinals bench for the series. The same can be said about the bullpens.

Whatever San Diego lacks in the starting rotation in comparison to St. Louis can be made up by Scott Linebrink (28.0 VORP), Rudy Seanez (17.9 VORP), Hoffman (12.2 VORP), Clay Hensley (17.2 VORP) and Akinori Otsuka (10.3 VORP). I realize most of these pitchers have better VORPS than the starters, or atleast better rates. In games not pitched by Peavy, the Pads better hope they have a lead after 5 or 6. Astacio and Eaton can do that much for them, so now it all lies in the hands of the Giles lineup...I mean Padres lineup.