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MLB Playoff Bracket 2012: Power Ranking Potential NLCS Matchups

CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 13: Ryan Hanigan #29 of the Cincinnati Reds tags out Danny Espinosa #8 of the Washington Nationals at home plate in the fifth inning at Great American Ball Park on May 13, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Tim KeeneyContributor IOctober 4, 2012

Now that the MLB playoffs are here, every game is must-see TV, but that doesn't mean there aren't certain matchups that we would hold in higher regard. 

While every team, loaded with intrigue and talent, grades high on the watchability scale (yes, it's a thing), not every team matches up perfectly with every other team.

Let's take a look at what potential NLCS matchups would make me the giddiest. 

Note: For a look at this year's playoff bracket, click here. For a look at the complete playoff schedule and seeding, check out MLB.com

 

3. St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Francisco Giants

Of the the remaining NL teams, these are without a doubt the only two that have had any real playoff success. 

The Cardinals won the World Series last year and in 2006, while coming close in both '04 and '05. The Giants, meanwhile, won the NL in 2002 and the World Series in 2010, meaning this would also serve as a matchup between the last two Major League champs. 

Call this one a potential battle for supremacy in the National League. If either one of these squads were to beat the other for a trip to the World Series, no one could call them anything but the best National League team of the past 10 years. 

 

2. Washington Nationals vs. San Francisco Giants

If you enjoy young studs, (and who doesn't?) this would be the matchup for you. 

Even without Stephen Strasburg, Washington's youth movement of Bryce Harper, Danny Espinosa, Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann is a truly ridiculous core to be building around. 

The Giants aren't a bunch of old geezers, either. 

Not only do they have Buster Posey, who is a strong MVP candidate at 25, but Pablo Sandoval, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum are all going to be stars in this league for a long time. 

Moreover, it will be fun to watch San Francisco's young staff—not to mention the intrigue in seeing if the bright lights once again bring out the best in Lincecum, who has struggled immensely this season—battle it out with Washington's dangerous lineup. 

 

1. Washington Nationals vs. Cincinnati Reds

Simple. It's the two best teams. Besides Atlanta, St. Louis and San Francisco fans, who doesn't want that?

The Nats and Reds, owners of the best records in the majors, battled it out to the very end for the No. 1 seed. 

Washington, which boasts a .261 average, 191 home runs and an OPS+ of 101, is the top hitting squad on this side of the bracket. Cincinnati isn't far behind with numbers like .243, 170 and 91.

On the mound, you could give the advantage to either team. Washington has a team ERA of 3.35 with an ERA+ of 119 while Cincinnati is at 3.34 and 126. Without Strasburg, you would have to side with the Reds, albeit in extremely close fashion.

You won't find a closer matchup between two more deserving teams. 

 

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