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Ranking playoff teams on defense

10/6/2012 - MLB
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

The postseason teams exemplify the classic difference between the stereotypes of the National League and the American League. Combined, the four NL teams own 33 defensive runs saved (DRS), Baseball Info Solutions' measurement of total defense relative to an average player at each position. In contrast, the four AL teams have minus-38 defensive runs saved. It seems likely the World Series will feature a pair of teams with drastically different styles, but there is still a lot of baseball to be played before we get there. First, there are the division series. We'll preview all four from a defensive perspective and rank the eight remaining teams based on DRS.

Washington Nationals vs. St. Louis Cardinals

I've exhausted my vocabulary of superlatives to describe the defensive excellence of Yadier Molina, but he seems especially important given the limitations of some of the other Cardinals' defenders. Matt Holliday, in particular, has been bad of late. Since Sept. 1, Holliday has minus-8 defensive runs saved, which is tied for the third-worst total in baseball. At least St. Louis has found a good replacement for injured Rafael Furcal. Pete Kozma has saved the Cardinals two runs in fewer than 200 innings at shortstop, a major improvement over Daniel Descalso, who had minus-7 DRS in similar playing time away from his normal position.