|Tom Verducci |
Have you noticed teams are attacking Manny Ramirez with fastballs -- with first base open? Los Angeles can't win with Ramirez hitting like this: .152 in his last 12 games with no home runs. The Dodgers have played 19 straight games without a home run from Ramirez in a win. CARDINALS IN FOUR.
|Jon Heyman |
The Dodgers' rotation isn't overwhelming anyone, while the Cardinals' one-two punch is clearly the best in the playoffs. However, a close series will often come down to the bullpens, and the Dodgers' 'pen is the best this October. Plus, their young nucleus has just enough moxie to get it done. DODGERS IN FIVE.
|Ted Keith |
No team has a more impressive rotation lined up than the Cardinals, who will open on the road but get to throw Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, possibly the top two pitchers in the Cy Young voting, back-to-back in Games 1 and 2, and still bring back a highly effective Joel Pineiro in Game 3. Albert Pujols breaks out of his late-season funk, but Manny Ramirez doesn't, and the Cardinals advance. CARDINALS IN FIVE.
|Joe Posnanski |
St. Louis limped to the finish line, but we've seen that before. Combination of Albert Pujols hitting and the 1-2 punch of AdamWainwright and Chris Carpenter is too tough. CARDINALS IN FOUR.
|Joe Lemire |
Unless the sleeping slugger, Manny Ramirez, awakes, the Dodgers' offense won't be strong enough to contend with a pair of Cy Young frontrunners, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright. CARDINALS IN FIVE.
|David Sabino |
The Dodgers were baseball's best team over the first half of the season but stumbled at the end, barely edging out the streaking Rockies for the division title. Even with Manny Ramirez anchoring L.A.'s lineup, the Cardinals have too much pitching with the top two NL Cy Young Award candidates, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright ready to pitch four of the five games of the series. CARDINALS IN FOUR.
|Ben Reiter |
The Cardinals could get three or four starts from Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, and that will leave the Dodgers wishing they'd been matched up with the Phillies instead. CARDINALS IN FIVE.
|Jonah Freedman |
With the best managers in the NL matching wits, this will be a better series than most think. But the Dodgers have too many question marks entering the postseason. Even if the bats wake up, it's hard to see them matching up on the mound against Carpenter and Wainwright. Still, no one expected L.A. to get past the Cubs last year, either. CARDINALS IN FIVE.
|Cliff Corcoran |
I've doubted both teams all season, and both come limping into the playoffs, the Cardinals having won just seven of their last 20, the Dodgers having won four of their last 10 (and narrowly avoided losing the division they've led since April 15). I'd love to see Joe Torre's Dodgers face the Yankees in the World Series, but L.A.'s rotation is in flux, with Randy Wolf starting Game 1 and Vicente Padilla and Jon Garland in the mix for Games 3 and 4. Meanwhile, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright have combined for a 1.50 ERA in four starts against the Dodgers this year, and John Smoltz lurks in the bullpen as St. Louis's potential Game 4 starter. That kind of starting pitching supported by the 3-4 punch of soon-to-be 2009 NL MVP Albert Pujols and impending hecta-millionaire Matt Holliday (.353/.415/.603 as a Cardinal) should push Tony La Russa's 13th playoff entry past his predecessor's 15th. CARDINALS IN FIVE.
|Lee Jenkins |
It's been said a million times, but to win these short series, you need a couple premier starters. The Dodgers don't have any. CARDINALS IN FOUR.
|Albert Chen |
Yes, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright are the field's most devastating starting duo (with a 1.50 ERA in 30 innings against L.A. this year), but I also think the Cards 'pen is ready for October's cauldron. Chad Billingsley? Not so much. CARDINALS IN FIVE.
|Melissa Segura |
Carpenter and Wainwright. Need I say more? CARDINALS IN FOUR.