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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Braves Will Revenge Past October Failures

WASHINGTON -- This has been a baseball season of colossal individual deeds from Mark McGwire's and Ken Griffey's homers to Tony Gwynn's and Larry Walker's batting to Curt Schilling's and Rogers Clemens's pitching. Thank heaven it's finally over. Now, at last, it's time to bring on the teams. Can we start the championship portion of the entertainment, please?

Just one thing was missing in this year of monumental stats. Big games. Because of the division-race deflating influence of wild cards, the game managed to have a season without a single contest that'll be part of baseball lore. The two best teams in each league were in the East. We knew everybody would go to the fall party. So, why worry? Or care.

Now we've got nothing but big games. This wild-card deal is a trade-off. The season's sleepier. But October's even crazier, especially the five-game (this-is-as-unfair-as-we-can-make-it) division series that are set to start Tuesday and Wednesday.

In one month, we'll have a new king, Atlanta. Because it should. The Braves still don't know how they lost to the Yankees last year. And they're still mad about it. As they should be. So, they'll beat the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series in six games.

In the first round the stumblin' and staggerin' Houston Astros don't belong on the same field with the Braves. And they know it. "We'll have fun,'' predicted Craig Biggio. Until the games start, anyway.

With Andy Pettitte and David Cone back from shoulder problems look for the Yanks to dominate against the under-armed Cleveland Indians.

For the Orioles, their clearly superior bullpen should see them past the Seattle Mariners. Both have fine pedigrees. Baltimore won seven of 11 meetings and has a better regular season record. The Mariners just set the all-time season home-run record and have the most superstars. The Orioles, however, play better as a team.

The bullpen though is the clincher. One's the best. The other's the worst. In a short series, anything can happen. But it shouldn't. The Orioles ought to win when the bullpens collide. They deserve it. And know it. That helps make it happen.

That leaves the Florida Marlins against San Francisco as our mystery series.

The Marlins have more talent, better starting pitching, a bigger payroll and little clubhouse chemistry. The Giants are scrappers who've gotten Bonds to embrace the program. The pick here is the Giants, wholeheartedly. That probably means the Marlins are a lock.

The only team with a prayer against the Braves is Florida. But the Giants are going to upset them. So, Atlanta's got a bye to the finals and victory.