Re: Thoughts on the AL and NL playoffs....
posted at 10/11/2012 12:30 PM EDT
Best story in MLB this year isn't the Athletics or Orioles, but the Nationals, whose resurgence has basically been decades in the making. When they were the Senators, the saying was, "Washington, first in war, first in peace, and last in the American League." Two Senators teams went elsewhere, to Minnesota and to Texas. Now the third, renamed the Nationals, is like a phoenix rising from the ashes of all those miserable years in Montreal.
I would probably have shut down Strasburg because, as important as these playoffs are, the 98 wins and all that young talent mean they are likely to be coming back to the playoffs next year and for years to come. They are still rebuilding this franchise and need to take the long view. Strasburg should have plenty more good years in him, which should not be jeopardized by one postseason. Besides, if they win the WS this year, the fans are likely to expect that every year because Washington is not yet a baseball town and never has been.
I definitely see the Yankees and A's in the ALCS, but the NLCS teams are a tough call. The Cardinals once again are sneaking in the back door--the Braves errors basically handed that one wild card game to them--and could win it all again this year even though I think the Nationals are the better team. Ditto out west--the Red are better, but the Giants could win the NLDS.
Yes, the playoffs now have a lot of teams which means anyone can win. But that's been true for quite some time--the wild cards have won the WS about as often as the division winners.
But I believe strongly the playoffs should have 10 teams because their records are all pretty darn close when you consider they all play 162 games. The best won 98 games of 162 and the worst 88 games of 162. In the NFL the best teams win like 75 to 80% of their regular season games, and the worst playoff teams win maybe 50%. Same in the NBA.