As soon as I start a baseball blog, the Angels miss the playoffs for the first time since 2006. I hope you like your post-season previews filled with animosity and tears.
The Braves and the Giants will be the last series to get started Thursday at 8:37 CT. I spent a good chunk of my life living in Atlanta, dealing with Braves fans, both the wishy-washy kind and the dozen or so real ones. They're all annoying if you were wondering. Not quite Yankees or Red Sox fans annoying but still. I do have some pretty strong admiration for Tommy Hanson and Jason Heyward and spent many a drunken days at The Ted. That said, get ready for a heavy dose of Buster Posey love (also from Georgia).
My Completely Biased Opinion.
The Giants' rotation looks much better on paper than that of the Braves who will trot out Derek Lowe to open the series against Tim Lincecum and probably pitch him on short rest if there is a fourth game. If you've read this far, you probably know that Buster Posey is a blog favorite. I expect him to hit somewhere around .900 for the series.
Just Some of the Facts M'am.
Buster Posey hit 18 home runs and .305/.357/.505 in 443 plate appearances with the Giants in his rookie season. Posey's NL ROY competition, Jason Heyward, hit 18 home runs and .277/.393/.456 in 180 more plate appearances. Say what you will about the extra service time but, for me, Poesy>Heyward for this season. Lincecum had his worst season since his 24 rookie starts in 2007, pitching 3.43/3.15/3.21 (ERA/FIP/xFIP) while only striking out 9.79 per 9 innings. But that still trumps Lowe's 4.00/3.89/3.65 line. The Giants follow Lincecum with Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez to round out the best playoff rotation not based in Philadelphia. The Braves have a solid rotation too with Tommy Hanson and Tim Hudson. But if the pitching matchup in game 4 is actually Madison Bumgarner vs Brandon Beachy, Braves fans better start to worry.
Pitching + Posey = NLCS. There's a little more math that goes into that formula but simplified it for you. You're welcome. Giants in 4.