as though it was just yesterday that I was sitting here, just waiting for the
NLDS match-up between the Phillies and Reds. Yet, I am, less than a week later,
after the Phillies have completed their franchises first ever post-season
sweep. However, it was not the Phillies
trademark power, or even their much improved contact hitting that carried them
through the series. It was their much
anticipated started pitching trio of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels,
who are commonly referred to as H20 by analysts, fans, and just about everyone
within the Philadelphia area. Although
Oswalt did not perform as expected, Halladay and Hamels did more than pick up
the slack for their right-handed colleague.
Halladay started his first ever playoffs well beyond expectations,
coming one walk away from becoming the first ever pitcher to throw two perfect
games. Instead, he was forced to settle
for the second ever playoff no-hitter, and being the 5th pitcher
ever to throw two no hitters in the same season, joining hall-of-famer Nolan
Ryan. Cole was also incredible, throwing
a five-hit complete game shutout, his first complete playoff game of his career. He also managed a stunning nine strikeouts. Now to the real review. NOTE: Just to remind those who forgot, I
predicted a sweep… just saying…
Really, in this contest there was no winner. Both teams came into the series as, what most
considered the top two offenses in the NL.
Yet, the two teams combined for only three home runs in the series, in
two of the most hitter-friendly parks in baseball. On top of that, neither team really scored
much without the help of the opponent’s defense. Ultimately though, being no-hit one game and
then shutout only four nights later, is incredibly disappointing and for that,
the Phillies get the nod. However, with only one total home run, they need to
pick up the bats soon to avoid problems, that not even the pitchers will be
able to bail them out of.
Better Offense: Phillies
Pitching: Anyone who watched any game (except
maybe game two), could see that the Phillies were clearly the better pitching
team in this series. Any team that is
able to throw a one base-runner no hitter, and a shutout in the same series, is
clearly doing something correctly with their starting pitchers. Even the low point of their rotation, Roy
Oswalt, only allowed three earned runs.
Of course, this is not putting down the Reds pitchers who did well,
however were plagued by awful defense.
Yet, it is nearly impossible to beat a team whose ERA is 1 for an entire
series. Not only that, but the
strikeout/walk ratio for the Phillies was an unbelievable 6:1, as opposed to a
weak 6:5 ratio for the Reds. This
category goes easily to the Phillies.
Better Pitching: Phillies
Real X-Factor(s): For those of you not watching
these games let me give you a little stat.
The Reds averaged a pitiful 2.3 errors per game. What is worse is that errors accounted for
six of the Phillies 13 runs, almost half.
Though bad fielding definitely affected the outcome of the series,
another x-factor was inexperience of the Reds.
It was clear, that some plays were just nervous throws and mental errors
by the Reds. Seven-time gold glover
Scott Rolen committed two errors, and on other plays, specifically Logan
Ondrusek’s error in game one, the Reds just looked shaken and nervous.
Real X-Factors: Fielding and
NLDS now over, the Phillies look to their NLCS series with the San Francisco
Giants, which starts on Saturday in Philadelphia.
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