The San Francisco Giants manhandled the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Wild Card game on Wednesday. They soundly won by a 8-0 score, with seven runs batted in coming from Brandons Crawford and Belt. Madison Bumgarner posted the strongest outing of the postseason thus far, going all nine in a shutout, striking out 10. Can they continue on by beating the Nationals in the NLDS?
The Washington Nationals over the San Francisco Giants
The answer to the question above: no. The Nationals have the deepest roster in all of the major leagues. Their rotation consists of Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Gio Gonzalez, and Tanner Roark, all of whom are among the most underrated pitchers in the National League. Ryan Zimmerman, the team's best player not too long ago, is a bench player. They've got Adam LaRoche, Asdrubal Cabrera, Ian Desmond, and Anthony Rendon, perhaps their team MVP, around the infield diamond. This team is built to go far and the Giants won't be able to match up with them.
The Giants need to win game one in order to have a chance at winning this series. Bumgarner likely won't be able to pitch until game three, so if they can take game one or game two, they possibly could take a 2-1 lead in this series. However, that won't be easy. They've got to face Strasburg and Zimmermann, two pitchers that are extremely hot. The Giants can usually find a way find a way to win in the postseason, but I do not believe that their luck will get them through the National League Division Series.
The St. Louis Cardinals over the Los Angeles Dodgers
The St. Louis Cardinals are one of the sneakiest teams in the postseason. They won the World Series in 2011, lost in the NLCS in 2012, and lost the World Series in 2013. The one thing in common? They've been able to get through the NLDS every single year. Adam Wainwright can match up with Clayton Kershaw and Michael Wacha can match up with Zack Greinke. Then it comes down to which team has the better roster. While the Dodgers have a very talented squad, the Cardinals postseason experience, might be able to win them this series.
As for the Dodgers, money does not always buy championships. They've invested a lot of money in their players. In fact, their payroll is the highest in the major leagues. Kershaw has issues in the postseason and the team always seems to get out prematurely. I wouldn't be surprised if they can finally break through this season, as now the team has postseason experience (prior to 2013, the team hadn't made the playoffs since 2009), but the Cardinals always play well in the playoffs. This is going to be a fantastic series, no doubt.