The Nats have a lot of power too (4 over 20, 2 of them over 30, 2 high teens, and the catcher would have been in range if he played all season; total 194, 2nd in NL). Lots of good hitters too, 5 guys who are pretty good, above .800 OPS but not over .853, one who just missed (.791 OPS) and two in the low 700 OPS range. Most are RHB, LaRoche and Harper are LHB, Espinosa SH (he's their worse hitter in the lineup). Their four starters in the NLDS are Gonzalez (2.89), Zimmerman (2.94), Jackson (4.03), Detwiler (3.40), in that order. They are also a very balanced team, with many good players, and while not great, Gonzalez and Zimmerman had great seasons, under 3 ERAs.
Based on that, I think I would rather face the Cards. Their pitching is not as good as the Nats (is not even close and it would have been worse if Strasburg was pitching). Their offense seems better, but as my research showed, pitching can shut down good offenses. Neither team has key lefty hitters, so perhaps the Giants might go with Hensley over Mijares in this series. The Nats have more LHP, so RH hitters more of a premium against them, the Cards are mostly RHP (only Garcia, SP, and Rzepczynski, RP, are lefties), so LH hitters are preferred.
I'll try to get into more details once the opponent and rotations are set. I would expect the Giants to do the same again, announcing starters on an as needed basis, adjusting according to the circumstances.
Just in terms of who to root for, I realize I'm so late it don't matter, what I will just throw it out there. This is an exercise I usually do when the Giants are not in the playoffs, just in terms of who we hate less than the other team, and general overall MLB hate. I think the rooting order would be this:
- Giants: Naturally. Naturally.
- Orioles: It would be kind of cool for two orange and black teams to face off in World Series on Halloween.
- Tigers: never did anything against the Giants that I can recall
- Nats: never did anything yet against the Giants, unless you want to reach back into their Expos years, when I felt ripped off by the Speier for Foli trade. Plus Felipe would love to give them a noogie for how they treated him when he was manager there (though the people who did that are now with Marlins).
- Cards: I'm still mad at them for 1987 and some older fans remember the lopsided (for them) trade of Cepeda for Sadecki.
- A's: embarrassed the Giants in 1989, stupid marketing campaigns putting salt in Giants fans wounds, dumb and mean fans.
- Yankees: just bad for baseball, money, money, money, and more money
- Reds: Naturally, if they win, we lose (but we didn't!)