Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder: The Top 5 Hitting Duos in the 2011 MLB Playoffs
The MLB Playoffs are always filled with some explosive lineups, and this year is no different. After just two games, every series has featured a game in which a team scored at least nine runs.
As far as duos go, it seems like Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder have stolen the show. Braun drove in three runs today, and Prince Fielder hit a two run bomb in Game 1.
While the Brewers have a scary lineup, there are others that will keep pitchers up all night this postseason. Here are the Top 5 most dangerous duos in the 2011 Playoffs.
5. Josh Hamilton and Michael Young
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After getting shut down by rookie pitcher Matt Moore, the Rangers' offense broke out in Game 2. This duo went three for seven in the win.
It's pretty hard to pitch around Josh Hamilton with Michael Young on deck. Usually the third spot is for someone with a better batting average, and the fourth spot is for the home run hitter. Young hit .338 this year and Hamilton hit 25 home runs. So it seems like the Rangers have it backwards.
There are a few reasons it works, though. Hamilton is a free-swinger, so he needs to get pitches to hit. Like I said before, you can't pitch around him with a guy like Michael Young on deck. He serves as great protection for the Rangers' slugger. When your protection is third in the league in batting, you're in pretty good shape.
4. Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard
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These guys aren't back to back in the lineup, but this is the duo that comes to mind when you think about the Phillies.
For a while now, Ryan Howard has been one of the most feared left-handed bats in the National League. His three run blast lead the Phillies to a 11-6 win over St. Louis in Game One of the NLDS.
Rollins is always the guy who gets on base and ignites the Phillies' lineup. He does a great job getting on base and setting the table for their dangerous middle-of-the-order. And the fact that he's a switch hitter makes him tough on lefties and righties.
I'm sure the people in Philadelphia are hoping he re-signs this offseason.
3. Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman
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There isn't really much I can say about Albert Pujols. He's the best hitter in baseball and will sign a monstrous contract this offseason.
Lance Berkman is the guy who gets overlooked the most. What a year he had -.301 31 HR 94 RBI. Having Pujols is great, but you have to have other guys produce like this to be successful. Berkman has exceeded expectations and has been a force in the middle of their lineup.
Berkman's swing and style of hitting hasn't changed a whole lot since the Killer B's days in Houston. He's 35-years old now, but he's a very smart hitter who does a great job protecting Pujols.
2. Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez
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The entire Yankees' lineup from top to bottom is dangerous, but the duo in the middle of Cano and A-Rod is flat-out scary.
Robinson Cano has become one of the best all-around players in the game. He's great defensively and can hit for contact and for power.
Hitting a Major League fastball is perhaps the hardest thing to do in all of sports, but his smooth swing makes it look so easy. Cano has developed some serious pop since breaking into the league. He won this year's Home Run derby and has already hit two home runs this postseason.
Like Pujols, no explanation is really needed for A-Rod. He tore the cover off the ball in the Yankees' '09 World Series run, but his struggles in October outside of that season have been well documented. The Yankees need him to hit like he did two years ago if they're going to return to the Fall Classic in 2011.
1. Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder
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The Brewers arguably have the best offense in the National League, and the heart of their lineup is Braun and Fielder.
Not only did Ryan Braun come within points of the National League batting title, but he hit 33 home runs and drove in more than 100 runs. He's also hitting .750 so far in the postseason. Not bad.
We all know about the impending free-agency of Prince Fielder, so this might be the last chance for this duo to win a World Series. All signs point to Fielder leaving Milwaukee, which really is a shame. Braun and Fielder have been so fun to watch together.
What makes this duo so special is the dynamic that exists. Braun is a great contact hitter with surprising power for his size. Then you have the stereotypical lock-and-load power hitter in Prince.
Braun and Fielder have lead the Brew Crew to a pair of convincing wins over the Diamondbacks in the NLDS. They've obviously come ready to play in October. I think they have a pretty good shot at bringing Miwaukee their first ever World Series title.