The NLCS is a matchup between different organizational strengths and philosophies, says Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: the aggressive spending of the Dodgers versus the eagle-eye drafting and development of the Cardinals. That series kicked off last night in spectacular fashion, with the Cards achieving an extra-inning victory due in large part to the efforts of Carlos Beltran -- himself a free agent acquisition, not a homegrown talent. Of course, the club held the Dodgers offense at bay with impressive bullpen efforts from several players that came up through the St. Louis system. Elsewhere in the NL Central:
- Look for the Cubs' managerial search to pick up pace shortly, says Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. With the Chicago brain trust wrapping up a tour of the club's top prospects, they will begin looking more carefully at potential targets like A.J. Hinch, Manny Acta, and Rick Renteria.
- Meanwhile, team chairman Tom Ricketts penned a letter to the team's season ticket holders, as MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports. Calling last year a "challenging" season and expressing that the decision to can manager Dale Sveum was a hard one, he emphasized that the team's spending on young talent and commitment to player development has created a bright future.
- The Reds, likewise, have a managerial search to conduct, and former Cinci ballplayer Paul O'Neill has thrown his name in the hat, he confirmed yesterday on the Dan Patrick Show. CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman finds him to be an interesting option for the Redlegs.
- Perhaps a likelier candidate is well-travelled former big league skipper Jim Riggleman, with Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com reporting (via Twitter) that many in the industry think that the current Louisville Bats manager could get a call-up. On the other hand, tweets John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, it could be hard to sell a Riggleman hiring to fans. In twelve years in charge, he has mustered just one 90-win campaign, Fay notes. And, of course, he left his last job with the Nationals in mid-season on controversial terms.