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Monday, October 10, 2011
Ryan Braun is crazy good right now

By David Schoenfield

Ryan Braun still has a lot of baseball left to play -- at least four games in a worst-case scenario -- but his blazing start to the postseason (11-for-22, five doubles, two home runs, seven runs and eight RBIs) has us thinking of great October runs. Since the addition of the wild card in 1996, here are eight other great postseason runs.

TBD
Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun is on fire in the 2011 postseason.
8. Bernie Williams, 1996 Yankees (15 games, .345/.435/.707, 6 HR, 15 RBI, 14 R, 1.527 WPA*)

Williams carried the Yankees with five home runs through the first two rounds, and while he cooled off the in the World Series, his two-run homer in the eighth in Game 3 gave the Yankees a 4-1 lead, and he went 2-for-4 in the clinching Game 6, including an RBI single off Greg Maddux in the third inning.

* Win Probability Added, from Baseball-Reference.com. The change in win probability for the player's team given the score, situation and outcome of each plate appearance. A change of plus-1 indicates one win added.

7. Manny Ramirez, 2008 Dodgers (8 games, .520/.667/1.080, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 9 R, 11 BB, 0.741 WPA)

Ramirez was unstoppable in the 2008 playoffs in going 13-for-25, but it wasn't enough as the Dodgers lost to Phillies in five games in the National League Championship Series.

6. Albert Pujols, 2004 Cardinals (15 games, .414/.493/.793, 6 HR, 14 RBI, 15 R, 1.302 WPA)

Pujols went 5-for-9 with four runs, a home run and three RBIs as the Cardinals beat the Astros in the final two games of the NLCS. And don't blame him for the World Series loss to Boston: He hit .333 (although he failed to drive in a run).

5. Troy Glaus, 2002 Angels (16 games, .344/.420/.770, 7 HR, 13 RBI, 14 R, 1.065 WPA)

He hit three home runs against the Yankees in the American League Division Series, hit .316 in the ALCS and won World Series MVP honors by hitting .385 with three home runs and eight RBIs. His two-run double in the eighth inning of Game 6 gave the Angels a 6-5 lead.

4. Alex Rodriguez, 2009 Yankees (15 games, .365/.500/.808, 5 2B, 6 HR, 18 RBI, 15 R, 1.696 WPA)

For one postseason, A-Rod put it all together. He drove in six runs in each round, drew 12 walks and delivered clutch hits, most notably his two-run homer off Joe Nathan in the bottom of the ninth that tied Game 2 of the division series (a game the Yankees won in the 12th) and his go-ahead double with two outs in the ninth off Brad Lidge in Game 4 of the World Series.

3. Carlos Beltran, 2004 Astros (12 games, .435/.536/1.022, 8 HR, 14 RBI, 21 R, 6 SB, 1.041 WPA)

Amazingly, Beltran holds the record for most runs scored in a single postseason, even though the Astros didn't reach the World Series. He hit four home runs in the division series and four more in the NLCS, made several outstanding catches in center field, drew nine walks ... and went 0-for-3 in a Game 7 loss to the Cardinals (Mets fans nod their heads).

2. Barry Bonds, 2002 Giants (17 games, .356/.581/.978, 8 HR 16 RBI, 18 R, 27 BB, 1.202 WPA)

Bonds had been a .196 hitter with just one home run in 27 previous postseason games entering 2002. He led the Giants to the seventh game of the World Series with a monster effort that included 13 intentional walks. I think his home run off Troy Percival in Game 2 just landed two weeks ago. He went 1-for-3 with a walk in Game 7 of the World Series, but the Giants lost 4-1.

1. David Ortiz, 2004 Red Sox (14 games, .400/.515/.764, 5 HR, 19 RBI, 13 R, 13 BB, 1.865 WPA)

First, he hit a series-winning home run in the bottom of the 10th inning in the ALDS against the Angels. He had a walk-off home run to win Game 4 of the ALCS. In Game 5, he hit a home run in the eighth inning as the Red Sox scored twice to tie it, then delivered the game-winning hit with two outs in the 12th. In Game 7, he hit a two-run bomb in the top of the first. And he hit .308 with four RBIs in a sweep of the Cardinals in the World Series. His 19 RBIs are tied with Sandy Alomar of the 1997 Indians and Scott Spiezio of the 2002 Angels for most in a single postseason.