Bobby Cox has been the manager of the Atlanta Braves for so long now, it's going to be a little weird seeing someone else in the Bravos dugout next year.
The man who has been kicked out of more games than any manager in big league history leads Atlanta into San Francisco to play the Giants in what he, and the Braves, hope will be the beginning of a magical post season ride in Cox's final year as the Braves skipper.
The opposition will be tough from the start, as Giants ace Tim Lincecum starts game one today against Derek Lowe, who takes the ball for Atlanta.
For me, this is a series about pitching, and if that happens, this is the Giants series to win, but it should come down to a Game 5 in San Francisco, where I like the Giants to beat the Braves.
After Lincecum, the Giants will send out Matt Cain, and the Jonathan Sanchez.
The Braves will be pitching some pretty good guys as well, with Tommy Hanson facing Cain, and the Tim Hudson opening the game for the Braves back at Turner Field.
The Giants are not a powerful offense, but they get the big hits when they need them.
San Francisco must get a big series from 3rd Baseman Pablo Sandoval, who hit just .286 this year, with 13 HRs, and 63 RBIs.
Those numbers for Sandoval were way off his terrific 2009 season where he hit .330, with 25 HRs, and 90 RBIs.
The Giants need Sandoval to protect 1st Baseman Aubry Huff, who hit a team high 26 home runs, and drove in 86 runs, and SS Juan Uribe, who hit 24 home runs, and had 85 RBIs.
Both of those numbers for Uribe were second on the Giants to Huff.
Aaron Rowand, who played for the 2005 Chicago White Sox, made the Giants roster in favor of pitcher Barry Zito, who struggled most of the season.
The Giants also have veteran playoff experience in Edgar Renteria, a member of the 1997 Champion Florida Marlins, and Pat Burrell, who won a World Series in 2008 as a Philadelphia Phillies.
Atlanta has their own World Series experience, with 1st Baseman Derek Lee, a Champion with the Florida Marlins in 2003, and Game 1 pitcher Derek Lowe, who was a starter on the 2004 Boston Red Sox Series Champions.
The Braves will be without future Hall of Fame 3rd Baseman Chipper Jones, who is recovering from a season ending injury.
Atlanta will rely on slugging Lee( 19 HRs, 80 RBIs), Troy Glaus(16, 71), Martin Prado( .307 AVG. 15 HRs, 61 RBIs), Brian McCann( 21, 77), Melky Cabrera, and Erick Hinske, to get on base again the San Francisco pitching staff.
If either team gets the lead to their closer in the 8th, they have the guys to get the job done in the Braves Billy Wagner, who has 37 saves this year, and Brian Wilson of the Giants, who shut the door an amazing 48 times in 2010.
This series will be a great showcase of the two front runners for the National League Rookie of the Year Award.
Jason Heyward of the Braves had 144 hits as a rookie, good for a average of .277, with 18 HRs and 72 RBIs in 142 games, scoring 83 runs.
Buster Posey of the Giants came up later in the year, playing in 108 games, hitting 18 HR, and driving in 67 runs.
Posey had 124 hits, and behind the plate he had a .991 fielding percentage in 76 games as the Giants back stop.
The Giants and Braves are going to put on a show for baseball fans, and the series should go 5 games, where I like the Giants to come out victorious.