(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Saturday, September 26, 2009


Which MLB team will go into the season on the biggest roll, the most confident that it can march through the playoffs and win the World Series? I'm not totally sure, but here's a recipe for that confidence:

1. Having at least two top-of-the-rotation starters who are pitching well going into the post-season.

2. Having a healthy and settled bullpen, strong in set-up men and the closer. The latter group needs to be pitching well going into the post-season.

3. Having a healthy everyday lineup that's produced consistently, especially in the last couple of months. Take away points if you have a middle-of-the-lineup star who is in a prolonged slump or a top-of-the-lineup player who's on-base percentage has dipped in the past 6 weeks.

4. Having some oomph on your bench, a guy who can hit the pinch-hit home run, steal the base or get the clutch hit. It's always nice to have a pinch hitter who scares a reliever just a bit.

5. Calmness and good decisionmaking from the bench. All managers make mistakes; you just don't want yours to make the big one in the middle of a pivotal game.

The winner? We'll see, but it doesn't necessarily end up being the team that had the best record during the regular season. Yes, you play who you play, but fattening up excessively on the Nationals, Pirates and Padres during the regular season could give the fan and his team a false sense of the art of the possible.


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