MLB: Road to the World Series

WIth the MLB playoffs upon us., the Sports Department offers its wisdom on the steps to the World Series. ÿ

For those looking for juicy subplots, you've come to the right place. Will Dusty Baker, who left the San Francisco Giants to manage the Chicago Cubs, pitch to Barry Bonds in a possible second round? Could the Yankees once again spoil Bostonians' lives by thumping their beloved Red Sox in a possible second round-series between the two biggest rivals in American sports?

The Atlanta Braves and the Chicago Cubs series is a battle between polar opposites. The Braves have won every National League East Title since 1995, so experience is on their side. The Cubs do not have enough firepower to defeat the Braves, not to mention that they are underdogs.ÿ

Next, the Florida Marlins and the Giants will be interesting. For those who expect a blowout for the Giants, don't be so sure as the Marlins have streaky hitters in Juan Encarnacion, Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo. All are batting over .300 and walking more often than not. Surprisingly, the Giants do not have enough quality pitchers to stop the Marlins from exploding offensively. Also, Marlins manager Jack McKeon will most likely not pitch to Bonds.

The Yankees and the Minnesota Twins also promises to be an intriguing match-up. At first glance this appears to be an easy series for the Yankees. With seven shut outs over the Twins in the regular season, the Yankees have it made with Derek Jeter, Alfonso Soriano and Jorge Posada. The Yankees must win the World Series to have a successful season. However, the Twins have some leverage with Doug Mientkiewicz, Jacque Jones and Torii Hunter.

The Oakland Athletics and the Boston Red Sox are teams desperate for victories. The Red Soxs have one of the best pitchers and hitters in the league with Pedro Martinez and Nomar Garciaparra, respectively. Yet, they have not made it to the playoffs in years. Also, the A's have a better all-around roster. Although, they have not won a playoff series in their last three chances, pitcher Tim Hudson has a deceptive slider.

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