September 15, 2019

Ranking the Goliaths and Davids

October 5, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

The 2010 playoffs begin tomorrow and at first glance you would assume that the Tampa Bay Rays were carrying the banner of underdog once again. That would be wrong. The most under-privileged team teeing it up will be the Texas Rangers. Does their cheap price tag limit them? How far can we expect the light-weights to go this year?

Had San Diego beat out the Braves for the NL Wild Card, it would have been a ‘giant’ victory for the under-paid and un-appreciated. San Diego salaries were under $38 million and only Pittsburgh spent less and they certainly got what they paid for.  Texas now carries that flag as the lowest paid team in the playoffs, ranking 27th among the 30 teams, but winning the AL West in convincing fashion.

There is a caveat.  Trading for Cliff Lee has added big money to the Rangers payroll, but in truth they are one of the most home-grown teams in the playoffs, looking as much like the Rays and Twins as either of those two teams. Lee heads a rotation that includes CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis, both developed from within the Ranger organization.  Although the team signed Vladimir Guererro in the off-season, it was their only free agent signing of note.  They brought in Jorge Cantu and Benjie Molina as trading deadline additions along with Lee, but that was after they appeared to be the class of the AL West and were gearing up more for the playoffs than the stretch run.  Other than those additions, the lineup is overwhelmingly home-grown.

It seems unfair that they should have to play the other “David” franchise in the playoffs, the Tampa Bay Rays, in the first round. The Tampa payroll sprang up to $72 million this season, modest but still 21st overall.  Tampa made no additions at the trading deadline and that inability to add payroll at a key time may tilt the table towards Texas who were significantly improved by their additions. Put Adam Dunn in a Tampa uniform for the playoffs and they look like a much more formidable team.

For Texas Cliff Lee is one of the most daunting playoff talents around.  Last year for Philadelphia he was impressive and there is no reason to believe he will be less so this fall.  David Price is a gifted athlete and could develop into one of the best pitchers in the game, but he is young and less proven than Lee.  The nod in game one has to go to Texas.  Then in game two, James Shields goes against CJ Wilson and Wilson is a much better pitcher on nine out of ten days.  So I am picking the Rangers to go up against the winner of the Yankees-Twins series which is most likely to be the Yankees unless Felix Liriano and Carl Pavano can somehow shut down the Yankees powerful lineup–a tall order indeed.

So I am projecting the Rangers into the AL Championship series where once again the presence of Cliff Lee has to be ranked as the deciding factor.  He is one of the best and most proven Yankee-killers on the planet, a veritable Kryptonite that renders Pin-Striped supermen into mere mortals.  The rest of the Ranger rotation will have a tough time following that act however.  I would wager that CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis will have to step up their games if the Rangers are going to beat the Yankees.  It can be done, but the odds have to favor the men from the Bronx.

Which puts one of them into the World Series against the Phillies again.  Roy Oswalt has been almost as good as Roy Halladay since he was traded to Philadelphia.  Something about the two Roys just makes me think no one is going to catch the Phillies in the NL and that they will once again command the NL Championship.  Atlanta could have a strong run from their pitching staff and they should beat the Giants and their retread lineup.  Cincinnati can score runs but their pitching is too young to pitch with the Phillies. Edison Volquez against Roy Halladay favors the Phillies big time.  The Phillies are just too good.

So the only David in the bunch with a slingshot’s chance of getting into the World Series is Texas.  Tampa has proven that they can beat the Yankees having won the season series, so if they make it past Texas, they should play the Yanks tough.  The match-ups in the AL will be far more interesting to watch.  But they will be fighting to go up against the best and the odds-on favorites to win it all again this year, the Phillies–or the Phillistines if you will.  Ryan Howard, Jason Werth, Utley, Rollins and company are likely to be just one team of giants rumbling into the valley of Elah.  Will there be any Davids there to sort things out?  Maybe, but either way it should be a good show.

Comments

3 Responses to “Ranking the Goliaths and Davids”
  1. Bill Miller says:

    I’m predicting the Phils vs. Tampa Bay in the World Series, with the Phils winning it all this time. Just too much pitching, and a still formidable lineup.
    Regards, Bill

  2. Brent says:

    You are a soothsayer through 1 night of games.

  3. Ted Leavengood says:

    I am a big Joe Maddon fan, but I don’t think the pitching is seasoned enough. If they can keep that rotation together for a few more years and still keep enough around Longoria, they could win it all, but that is a tall order unless they move that damn stadium. Conversely, I think this is the apex of the Phillies run. All down hill after they win it all this year.

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