NLDS Preview: Philadelphia Phillies vs Cincinnati Reds

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NLDS Preview: Philadelphia Phillies vs Cincinnati Reds

For one player, game one of this series is going to be the biggest game of his life.

Starting his first ever play-off game Roy Halladay has done it all, played in All-Star games, won a Cy Young Award, won 20 games and pitched a perfect game. What he hasn’t done is play post-season baseball, something which all change tonight when the Philadelphia ace takes the mound to face the Cincinnati Reds.

Philadelphia Phillies

They had the third-best starters' ERA, most innings pitched by starters, finished third in runs scored and had the fourth best fielding percentage in the National League – the Phillies are a true powerhouse team.

They have one of the best pitching line-ups coming into the play-offs and probably the best offence. Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels will lead the rotation and each have pitched liked aces this past season. Only Hamels posted an ERA over three and that was a 3.06 ERA. They all strikeout batters, taking pressure off a defence that is already good and they allow the offence to relax and play their natural game.

In the bullpen Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson will come on to close out games and when your three starts have pitched over 200 innings during the season that’s all you need. But should one of the starting three get lit up there isn’t that much depth to the Phillies’ bullpen which could make them quite vulnerable.

Batting-wise, the Phillies should have not problems generating offence as it runs deep. Chase Utley and Jason Werth are the club’s two best hitters and Ryan Howard continues to crush the ball, although he failed to hit over 40 home runs for the first time in four years. He won’t hit lefties but rest assured that he will punish any bad right-handed pitching.

Shane Victorino could take the lead-off spot from Jimmy Rollins if Rollins’ groin injury is still bothering him. Victorino has had a down year but his speed makes him a threat from the get go.

Cincinnati Reds

If the Red are going to beat the Phillies, which most people think won’t happen, they’ll need a complete team performance.

Firstly they’ll need their offence, which ranked first in run scored this season, to hit against the Phillies’ strong starting pitching. If they can chase Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels out of games early, they should have a decent chance against an average Phillies bullpen.

Joey Votto was in the race for the triple-crown but faded towards the last month when the Reds went into cruise control; he’ll have to settle for being the front runner for the NL MVP. He hits to all parts of the field with power and has great discipline at the plate.

Jay Bruce is showing what a talent he is, hitting .333 in August and .326 in September. If he continues the Reds’ middle line-up will be very dangerous, especially with Scott Rolen playing well.

The big weakness for the Reds is in the rotation. Johnny Cueto will lead the pitching staff and will need to be at his best if he’s to overcome the strong Phillies offence. Edinson Volquez is still finding his command following Tommy John Surgery, but he says he’s looking forward to the challenge of the play-offs.

"For me, it's something really big. I was out for one year and came back from Tommy John surgery. This is the first game of the playoffs. It's something big. Really big,” he said.

Bronson Arroyo will have to be at his absolute best if he’s to be effective against the Phillies. He’s an off-speed pitcher and against lefties tends to serve up bombs; Ryan Howard and Chase Utley could punish him.

One X-Factor the Reds have comes in the form of Aroldis Chapman. The Cuban defector can touch 104 mph on the radar gun and against left-handed batters is dominant. If nerves don’t affect him Chapman could be very useful against the Phillies.


The Reds might have scored the most runs in the National League this season but the Phillies combination of amazing pitching and great offence will be just too much for the Reds. Phillies in four.



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