The Dodgers and Giants have dominated the NL West this season. For a period of time, the Giants had the best record in the game. Since mid-summer, the Giants have only been a couple of games above .500. But they played well against the Pirates and have made their way to the NLDS to face off against the Nationals. We know they’re a veteran, battle-tested team. Without Matt Cain I don’t know if they’ll have the pitching to contend, but with two championships the last four seasons, you can’t count them out.
I hate that the Cardinals have to play the Dodgers, because I think they have the horses to win the whole thing. Clayton Kershaw has been absolutely lights out this season, winning 21 games while missing a month in the early going and pitching to the tune of a 1.77 ERA. Under normal circumstances, I tend to agree with the position-player-as-MVP argument. But if I had a vote this season, I’d cast it in favor of Kershaw. Andrew McCutchen had his typically all-around excellent season. Giancarlo Stanton established himself as the preeminent slugger in the National League, too. But Kershaw is in the midst of the best run any NL pitcher has enjoyed since…yes, Sandy Koufax. The comparisons are apt, folks. He’s that good and he deserves both the Cy Young and the MVP in the National League.
While I’m at it, I’d also cast a vote for Billy Hamilton as the NL Rookie of the Year. This year’s crop of rookies is a bit underwhelming, but Hamilton has played every day, he was second in the league in steals, and his defense in center improved.