Best Team in the NL (And It Really Isn't Close)
I'm starting to think about my World Series picks, because in about another week I'm going to have to take a public stand on this. But all of a sudden, at least in the NL, everyone at the top seems to be going backwards -- kind of like the Redskins' offense, I suppose. The problems facing baseball's division leaders, in fact, was the subject of my dead-tree-edition piece this morning.
There is, however, one true juggernaut out there in Contender Land, but you probably can't name their starting rotation or their leadoff hitter. They are the Colorado Rockies, and they are the best team in the NL -- dare I add, by far.
I'm not just making this up, folks. Since May 29, the day the Rockies fired Clint Hurdle as their manager and gave the gig to Jim Tracy, they have a record of 70-40 -- a .636 winning percentage. This isn't some fluky hot stretch -- we're talking about four solid months of playing like a 103-win team (which is what a .636 extrapolates to, over 162 games).
There's nobody close to them in the NL over that stretch. The Phillies (65-45) are a distant second, five games behind the Rockies' pace. The Braves (62-46), the only team with a legitimate shot at catching them for the wild card, are seven back. The Cardinals (62-47) are 7 1/2 games back, and the Dodgers (59-48) 9 1/2 games back. (In the AL, only the Yankees, at 73-36, are better.)
Assuming they get in, the Rockies, who likely would start Ubaldo Jimenez and Jorge De La Rosa in Games 1 and 2 of the Division Series, don't necessarily match up well with either of their potential first-round opponents -- Philadelphia (Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, not necessarily in that order) or St. Louis (Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright). But I keep going back to the fact that the Rockies have outplayed both of those teams, by a wide margin, for a very large chunk of season. And of course, they just took two of three from the Cardinals over the weekend.
If I had any guts at all, I'd pick the Rockies right now to advance to the World Series. But I don't, and I don't have to -- yet.
September 28, 2009; 11:07 AM ET
Categories: Angels , Astros | Tags: Cardinals, Dave Sheinin, Dodgers, Phillies, Rockies, playoffs
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