Postseason X Factors
Three years ago Castillo sparked the Marlins to a World Series title with his contact hitting and speed around the bases. Can he do the same for the Twins?
The Cardinals' Gold Glove center fielder played in only six games in September while coming back from post-concussion syndrome. It will be up to him to protect Albert Pujols in the St. Louis lineup.
The days of closer Mariano Rivera entering games in the eighth inning may be over. That means the Yankees' flamethrowing, erratic eighth-inning setup man will have to come through.
The 35-year-old Giles posted a career-low .771 OPS this season. He still drew more than 100 walks, however, which means the Padres at least can still rely on his ability to work the count.
The Tigers slumped in the second half in no small part due to Granderson's struggles. The spark plug scored 57 runs with a .366 OBP in the first half but managed only 33 runs and a .293 OBP in the second half.
The A's won the AL West while missing arguably their best pitcher for most of the season. Harden has struck out 15 batters in 11 2/3 innings in three starts since coming off the DL and is slated to start Game 3 for Oakland.
With Pedro Martinez sidelined, the Mets' bullpen will have to shoulder more of the load. Much of that will fall to Heilman, the setup man who dazzled in the second half (2.65 ERA in 35 games).
This unheralded rookie started five games in September, striking out 42 batters in 32 1/3 innings. He could be the Dodgers' secret weapon against the Mets, who were only 25-22 (.531) against left-handed starters this season compared with 72-43 (.626) against right-handers.