October Baseball is literally days away as we are knocking on the doorstep of the 2010 MLB Postseason set to begin this Wednesday with the NLDS. As we sit here literally less then a month away from crowing a World Series Champion out of one of the eight remaining teams left in Baseball. Eight teams remain but when it’s all said and done there will be one left standing. Let’s dedicate this blog by looking at and previewing the National League and the NLDS series.
[adinserter block=”2″]Philadelphia Phillies (97-65) vs. Cincinnati Reds (91-71)
It was just another September and another amazing late season stretch run for the Philadelphia Phillies as they won their 4th straight NL East Division title and their 4th straight appearance in the MLB Playoffs. They enter the Postseason as the favorite to be crowned World Series Champions at seasons end and have one of the most potent lineups in Baseball. Not to mention they just might have the best 1-2-3 rotation in the entire playoffs.
But they could very well be playing the best underdog in the entire postseason in the NL Central Division Champion Cincinnati Reds.
Cincy makes its return to the Postseason for the first since 1995, a 15 year stretch that never saw them knock on the doorstep of the greatness they had in the 70s when they were the “Big Red Machine.” But they are back in the Postseason and look to surprise the world by giving an October run to remember them by. They can do just that by defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS.
Philly enters the Postseason as the team to beat by far. They have the best lineup and the best rotation out of all the 8 teams. I wrote a blog here on Camel Clutch Blog that they are the best team in Baseball entering the postseason. But all this talk that is surrounding them can not get to their heads.
The Phillies have the edge out of all the NL Postseason teams in the fact that they are playoff tested. They have been to the big dance that is the Fall classic the last two seasons and know what it takes to play postseason baseball. But they can not allow that same mentality to be their fault.
Cincinnati is a team on a mission. They are a young and hungry team looking to prove to everyone that they deserve to play in the Postseason and there is no better way then battling the Phillies in October. Despite putting the Phillies as my postseason favorite, out of all the series in the Postseason this very well could have upset special written all over it.
The Reds have young fiery pitchers that aren’t going to be intimidated by Roy Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels. They will try and pitch quality starts against the Phillies lineup to do what it takes to give them the win. If the Reds can keep the lead against the Phillies up until the 7th inning then watch out because then it becomes Chapman time.
The most talked about secret weapon in the Postseason will be Aroldis Chapman as the setup man for Cincy. It reminds me of 2008 when the Rays had a young lefty named David Price in their bullpen as their secret weapon. Should the Reds lead the Phillies into the 8th inning and Dusty Baker hands the ball to Chapman, the game is basically over in my opinion as he either closes it out or sets it up for Francisco Cordero in the 9th inning for the win.
Philadelphia needs to hit the Reds hard and needs to hit them early. They need to take the starters out right away to not allow the Reds to go to their bullpen and preferably Chapman. If Philly can score runs in the early innings and give their starters run support then the series is over. But if Philly can not do those things then look out for this series to go 5 games.
This is the series that I am most looking forward to due to the potential that it may have. This is not an easy matchup for the Phillies and very well could be the NLCS in a 5 game series. These two teams in my eyes were the best teams in the National League all season long and it’s amazing that we see it in a 5 game series.
While it’s could have upset special written all over it, it is very hard to pick against the Phillies right now. They have everything going and until they show me something different, they are the team to beat in the 2010 Postseason. If anyone wants to win a World Series they will have to go through Philadelphia. We will see how badly the Reds want to make a statement in this series.
As for predictions I like the Phillies in 5 games. The Reds will be a pesky ballclub that will give them a great run for their money but when it’s all said and done this is the Phillies destiny. You can not stop destiny unless your fight in bigger then their bark. This is the series I am most looking forward to and I hope it lives up to its potential.
Prediction: Phillies win series 3-2.
[adinserter block=”1″]San Francisco Giants (92-70) vs. Atlanta Braves (91-71)
I am happy I get to see Bobby Cox patrol the dugout one last time in October before he rides out into the sunset at the end of this season. The heart both of these teams showed in the last couple of weeks have been fun to watch and has made any Baseball fan respect them for what they accomplish in late-September. While both deserve to be here, I think out of all the playoff matchups this very well could be the worst one out of the four.
San Francisco has been underrated this entire season with the talent they have on their roster. As I always say and will continue to say throughout my blogs, pitching wins championships. The Giants have that in Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. While the Braves do have talented veteran pitching they can not match to the pitching of the Giants. But that is not the biggest problem the Braves have
You want to talk about perseverance, the Atlanta Braves have it. Despite teams like Philadelphia & Boston having injury troubles that hurt their season, the Braves didn’t have the bench or the farm system like the two other organizations have. When their players go down it affects the quality and ability of their team, but it also makes certain role players step up.
The Braves enter this series without their longtime clubhouse captain in Chipper Jones who has been out for most of the 2010 season and without their best hitter in Martin Prado who is out for the rest of the year. Those are two huge blows that may affect them in October. Add injury problems to pitcher Jair Jurrjens and there is cause for concern in Atlanta.
Despite having a lineup filled with Derek Lee, Jason Heyward and Alex Gonzalez this team can not match the Giants 1-2 punch. If they want to beat the Giants they need to do it on what carried them at the end of the season, heart. This team has been fun to watch due to the heart they have showcased and the desire to play another day for their legendary manager, if they can do that then will beat the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS.
Like the Reds thought, the Giants are a pesky team that is young and filled with energy. That energy level will be cranked up a notch in Postseason play. They are playing a wounded Atlanta Braves team and are by far the favorite in this series. It helps when you have the starting pitching of Lincecum, Cain and Sanchez, combined with great bullpen help and rising star closer in Brian Wilson.
While the fight has been fun to watch and cheer for, the Atlanta Braves run in my opinion will end in the NLDS. It has been great to watch Bobby Cox manager over the years and as a Baseball fan it will be sad to see him go. This Braves team is a young team that needs Postseason play to continue to make it better. There was a team in 2007 that was the same exact way in the Philadelphia Phillies and we all know what happened in 2008 after they got a taste of the Postseason.
The Braves will be good for years to come but the Giants will win this series based on the strength of pitching and the injuries the Braves have faced. I don’t think it will be a long series and the Braves may win one of the games but not against Lincecum or Cain. I like the Giants winning this series in 4 and going onto the NLCS.
Prediction: Giants win series 3-1
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