Now comes the second season for Major League Baseball. How about Game 7 of the World Series in Philadelphia on Nov. 4 after Games 4 and 5 were in the new outdoor park in Minnesota.
That would be a World Series for some wicked good L.L Bean long johns.
If pitching is the end-all, it will be Tampa Bay and San Francisco in the final matchup but probably not.
The Rays’ starters ended with a 3.99 ERA, third best in the AL and first among the AL playoff teams. Their pen was No. 1 at 3.33 with the lowest batting average against at .228.
The Giants’ starters were second in the NL at 3.54 with the lowest batting average against at .236.
The Giants’ pen was also second at 2.99 with the exact same opponent batting average — .236.
Interestingly, the AL postseason features the four best bullpen ERAs in the AL with, in order, the Rays, Texas, Yankees and Minnesota. The runs allowed by those pens are very close, running from 180 by Tampa to 199 by Texas.
These four pens were the only four in the AL to surrender fewer than 200 runs on the year.
The NL pens, after the Giants, had Atlanta third in ERA, the Reds seventh and the Phillies 10th.
The pitching of the Yankees and Rays created the two largest run differentials in baseball at 166 and 153, respectively.
Texas and Atlanta are the two teams of the eight that start the postseason with losing records on the road. Both will start on the road in the division series, so Game 1 is crucial for both.
The starter numbers are far more varied in both leagues. The Rays’ and Twins’ starters lead the AL with 73 wins. The Yankees were right behind with 72 and Texas starters had 58 wins.
In the NL, the Phillies starters piled up a league-leading 70 wins, the Giants had 61, Atlanta 59 and Cincinnati 57.
Philly is the odds-on favorite vs. the Reds in the NL with a strong finish, a healthy team and solid starters for a best-of-five series.
The Braves and Giants are a toss-up with the Giants riding a wave of fan support and the Braves with the adrenalin rush of trying to win a final championship for retiring manager Bobby Cox.
TB should beat Texas. The Rays are a better balanced team. Texas will have to blast its way to wins.
Minnesota can beat the Yankees with a home-field advantage.
Tampa Bay and the Phillies in the Series. Let the second season commence.