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  • 03/05/2013, 03:39PM ET

The NL East will have 3 playoff teams

CuntryBlumpkin (305-247-64) vs Marlins Fan (156-78-31)
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Obviously, they are guaranteed to have one, and I don't think many will be picking against the Nationals, so I won't spend anymore time than this on them.


The Braves were the one seed in the Wild Card last season by a pretty good margin, and they have added some bats to their lineup, and they kept the pitching(especially the bull pen) that made them the very good team they were. I don't see a drop off in performance this season, they're still behind the Nationals, but they should be good for 95 wins, which should be plenty enough to get them a wild card birth.


The Phillies ended last season with a bang, and they're starting the season fully healthy. Having a healthy Howard, Utley, Halladay and Lee is huge for the Phillies, and adding Michael Young, Ben Revere and Mike Adams makes them a better team. They are an experienced team that knows how to win, and I think they come home with the second wild card spot.


Just looking at the competition, I think the Reds are the clear favorites in the Central, and I can't see the Cardinals making another magic run. And IMO the Giants are the clear best team in the west, and I expect big time disappointment for Dodger fans.


I'll give ya the Nats and the Braves. Both of those teams are pretty deep in the rotation/pen and have good (with the potential for being great) lineups. The Nats proably have the better rotation but the Braves lineup could be just as good as Washington's, and Atlanta should be the superior defensive team. These two teams will probably collectively run away with the division from the get go. Not sure who winds up winning the East pennant but you can bet the Nats and Braves will be ahead of the pack by a long shot. One of these teams is a virtual lock for a WC spot.

We obviously agree that the Mets and Marlins might as well start planning for 2014 (at best, especially in Miami's case) right now, so that leaves the Phillies as our one and only point of contention in the East.

The Phillies are going to be a bad team. They'll probably finish .500 or even a little worse. Their biggest problem is everybody of note on the team is mad old and extremely injury prone. More on them later.

Moving for now to the the NL West, I see it boiling down to the Giants and Dodgers. I believe one will win the West pennant and the other will join Atlanta or Washington as the WC teams.


I think you're vastly underestimating the Phillies. They miss the playoffs last season because basically every start they had started the season hurt. Check out Philly's second half record, they didn't fall too short of getting the second Wild Card last season.

Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are all healthy, and while their window might be closing, it definitely hasn't closed yet.

With all the talk of the Dodgers' rotation that I'm not in the least impressed with, the Phillies have 3 of the better starters of the last 5 years, and an offense, when healthy that is capable of putting up some big numbers.

They improved their bullpen, improved their offense by getting Michael young and Ben Revere(and even Delmon Young is better than what they had).

The Bottom of the NL East is also a lot easier than the bottom of the NL West, and the NL East gets to play the AL Central in interleague.

The Dodgers, well they have a tougher schedule, are relying on Boston's trash and a pitcher who had a nervous breakdown in Kansas City.

I'll take the team that has been there before. The Phillies are better than the Dodgers, better manager, better players.


You said Philly missed the playoffs because their starters started the season hurt, and there's a lot of truth to what you said. Thing is, some of the Phillies seem to be hurt frequently, so there's no reason to expect these guys to be super healthy this year. After all, they're all just another year older.

Back to the injuries; Ryan Howard has played 162 games ONCE in his career. Last year was his worst yet as far as injuries; Howard only played a TOTAL of 71 games.

Utley is worse. Much worse. Utley's NEVER played 162 games in a season. His last three years look like this:

2010: 115 games
2011: 103 games
2012: 83 games

Notice the trend? His body is never going to recover, and his stats prove his game has completely fallen off a cliff even when he does play.

Injuries aside, the Phillies justaren't as talented as we've grown accustomed to them being. Halladay had a very average 2012; Cliff Lee pitched pretty well but Philly wasted his starts (Lee went just 6-9 in 2012); Victorino and Ibanez are gone, and Carlos Ruiz doesn't have a snowball's chances in Hell of repeating his 2012 stat line.

There's not much to like about the Phillies, at all.

More on LA next.


Ryan Howard has been around a while now, and he tore his Achilles the last game of the 2011 playoffs, and that is the only serious injury he has suffered. Not many players play 162 games these days. I wouldn't call Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee injury prone seeing as last season was the first time in their careers that they missed significant time due to injury. And all of them are tearing it up in spring training. I'll give you that Utley is injury prone, but he's still productive when he plays, and this year, they have Michael Young.


When was the last time the Dodgers made the playoffs? Didn't the Dodgers have a better record before they made the big trade with Boston than after? And when was the last time Don Mattingly managed a team to the playoffs?

Bottom line is every player they acquired from Boston played a significant role in Boston's downfall, and I don't think a change of scenery is gonna help them.

The Phillies have a better rotation, and it's really not even close, a better bullpen, and a lineup that is at worst even with the Dodgers.

I'll pick the team that's been there before, the one that has made the playoffs 5 of the last 6 years.


Your overall point is that the Dodgers haven't made the playoffs much over recent history while the Phillies have.

Only problem with that train of thinking is that the rosters aren't the same anymore (except in Philly's case - a lot of those guys are the same players, they're just mad old now) so all those comparisons can be tossed right into the trash.

When's the last time LA made the playoffs? Why does it matter when their roster has been almost completely turned over? Last year isn't a great gauge of how the new additions will do, anyway. Those guys were all in a brand new environment and many of them were shocked to even be traded.

This year is different. The newbies have had time to adjust to the city and dugout and now they know what they're dealing with.

I don't see any reason at all why the Dodgers would miss the playoffs.

And how is Philly's rotation better than LA's?

Halladay and Lee are basically cancelled out by Kershaw and Grienke, and the additions of Ryu and Beckett, etc, definitely give the edge to LA. The backend of the rotations clearly favors LA and the front end might, too. Might, I said.

Oh, and Michael Young sucks now.

Good TD; GL.

Comment #1 has been removed
March 5, 2013  07:26 PM ET

Awfully difficult for any division to have 3 playoff teams with the uneven schedules. Not sure why you expect the Dodgers to disappoint. With that much pitching in that park they will certainly give the Giants a run for their money.

March 5, 2013  07:36 PM ET
QUOTE(#2):

Awfully difficult for any division to have 3 playoff teams with the uneven schedules. Not sure why you expect the Dodgers to disappoint. With that much pitching in that park they will certainly give the Giants a run for their money.

I just have a hard time believing that Boston's trash will somehow come together in a different city with expectations just as high if not higher than they were in Boston.

Kershaw and Greinke are a solid 1-2 punch, but after that the rotation looks to be Beckett, a huge question mark, Ryu, just as big of a question mark and Billingsley who is coming off an injury.

It's nice having insurance in Harang, Lilly and Capuano, but they're all basically 5th starters.

March 5, 2013  10:00 PM ET

No way Philly makes it.

March 5, 2013  10:01 PM ET
QUOTE(#2):

Awfully difficult for any division to have 3 playoff teams with the uneven schedules. Not sure why you expect the Dodgers to disappoint. With that much pitching in that park they will certainly give the Giants a run for their money.

I agree; LA is LOADED.

For some reason some people arennt expecting much from them but anything short of a playoff berth (at the very least) would be a monumental collapse of epic proportions.

Comment #6 has been removed
March 6, 2013  01:28 AM ET
QUOTE(#3):

I just have a hard time believing that Boston's trash will somehow come together in a different city with expectations just as high if not higher than they were in Boston.Kershaw and Greinke are a solid 1-2 punch, but after that the rotation looks to be Beckett, a huge question mark, Ryu, just as big of a question mark and Billingsley who is coming off an injury.It's nice having insurance in Harang, Lilly and Capuano, but they're all basically 5th starters.

It wasn't so long ago that Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford were two of the best players in the AL, particularly in Gonzalez' case. Remember him as a Padre, or as a new Red Sock? Brilliant.

Boston was a collective mess last year and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Gonzalez post HUGE numbers, especially since he'll be protected by Kemp.

And the rotation has many options. Almost TOO many. Long story short, it would almost take an act of God to prevent LA from having a great rotation.

March 6, 2013  11:42 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

It wasn't so long ago that Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford were two of the best players in the AL, particularly in Gonzalez' case. Remember him as a Padre, or as a new Red Sock? Brilliant.Boston was a collective mess last year and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Gonzalez post HUGE numbers, especially since he'll be protected by Kemp. And the rotation has many options. Almost TOO many. Long story short, it would almost take an act of God to prevent LA from having a great rotation.

Adrian Gonzalez can still produce. Carl Crawford, stick a fork in him, if he can't hit in Boston, he can't hit in LA. Hanley Ramirez, he's on a downward spiral, and the two Ellis's are nothing special.

Kemp, Ethier and Gonzalez, that's basically the Dodger's offense.

And while they might have a lot of pitchers, I'd rather have quality than quantity. Harang, Capuano and Lilly are all old and at best 5th starters. Ryu is an import, so he's a mystery, and Billingsley was hurt to end last season. Kershaw is a beast, and Greinke has the potential to be one, but he is definitely a headcase.

And much like their cross town rivals of last year, I'm willing to bet the Dodgers' bull pen blows more than their share of wins.

March 6, 2013  11:47 AM ET

I think the Braves and Nationals both make it. I think the Reds and Giants win their divisions. But I'd still take the Cards, Padres, and Dodgers all over the third best NL East team.

March 6, 2013  11:48 AM ET

Padres are my sleeper team this season!

March 6, 2013  11:51 AM ET
QUOTE(#10):

Padres are my sleeper team this season!

Way to copy me.

March 6, 2013  05:40 PM ET
QUOTE(#2):

Awfully difficult for any division to have 3 playoff teams with the uneven schedules. Not sure why you expect the Dodgers to disappoint. With that much pitching in that park they will certainly give the Giants a run for their money.

BLASPHEMY!

Comment #13 has been removed
March 7, 2013  01:07 AM ET

I tend to agree with Outlaw (UH) on most of his MLB TDs, but this is the second one in a row that I am leaning right on.

MTC.

Maybe.

March 7, 2013  01:08 AM ET
QUOTE(#12):

BLASPHEMY!

You don't think the Giants will be in it this year?

March 7, 2013  01:09 AM ET
QUOTE(#4):

No way Philly makes it.

Agreed.

LA>Philly,

By a lot.

March 7, 2013  04:54 PM ET

don't think that Philly will make the playoffs, honestly. right now, I have the Braves/Nationals and Brewers/Reds making it which would take up all WC. then probably LAD out of the West

Comment #18 has been removed
March 7, 2013  10:37 PM ET
QUOTE(#18):

Uh...because the Dodgers disappointed last season. And, they're like an island of misfit toys...lots of individual parts, but no one knows how they'll fit together. LA still has holes too. Who will lead off? Where is HanRam going to play? Will Kemp hold up? Who will close?Most important, who is the team leader? Greinke? HanRam? AGon? This team has no Jason Varitek-Derek Jeter type.

Yeah well they didn't have the majority of the players discussed here last season. Kind of a weird comparison.

Sorta like saying the Clippers still suck because they always sucked, when in reality the additions of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin actually made them a top 5 NBA team.

Sometimes things change. This is the Dodgers' year.

 
Comment #20 has been removed

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