Playoff Preview: Chicago v. Salt Lake

by 11:35 PM 0 comments
#3 Seed Chicago (91-71) vs. #6 Seed Salt Lake City

Chicago has the premier offense in the National League, and led all of Plumpy in HRs this season. The are paced by probable NL MVP Jeff Hackman, who clubbed 70 HRs, knocked in 175, and logged an OPS of 1.225. 2B Mark Spehr added 52 HRs, C Alejandro Romano clubbed over 40, while OFs Richardson & Perez both topped the 30 plateau. For those keeping score at home, the cubs lineup boasts 6 starters out of 8 who hit over 30 HRs, while Neal and O'Malley, the other two starters, each hit over 20, with Neal adding over 100 RBI.

The Cubs pitching is paced by 22 game winner and Cy Young candidate Aaron Hinske. Chipper Anderson and Oscar Christman provide three solid starters who should be very effective in the playoffs. The biggest weakness and probable achilles heal for the Cubbies is their bullpen by committee, which is filled with decent arms, but lacks shut down arms who will slam the door in close games. The Cubs will need their powerful bats and top three starters to give their bullpen large leads which they can hold.

Salt Lake City made a surprise run to the World Series last season. They hit a full 120 HRs less than the Cubs this season, and lack the dominate offense they will face in Chicago. Ewell Coles and Moises Bravo provide the power for Salt Lake, with each hitting over 30 HRs and 100 RBI.

But pitching wise, the top starters for Salt Lake are simply dominate: Tom Booker and Anthony Stanley and Carlos Olivo. All have outstanding ratings, ERAs, and ratios and are a stronger trio than Chicago will be able to bring to the pitching rubber. Salt Lake also has a legitimate front line closer in Doug Caruso, who as a 23 year old posted 40 saves.

In the end, the home field advantage and the superior offense will win this battle for the Cubs, 3-1.

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