NLDS Here We Come
NL leader in average, runs, hits, total bases, RBI, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, hitting with RISP and runs scored with two out. Defense is second best.
Sounds like the Phillies of 2007-8-9.
Well, say hello to the Cincinnati Reds, champions of the NL Central, who begin the best-of-5 NLDS against the Phillies Wednesday evening at Citizens Bank Park. It is the first time the Reds have been in the postseason in 15 years. They were swept by the Braves in 1995.
The Reds have replaced the Phillies as the most potent offense in the league. The Phillies have been transformed into a ballclub that is strong on starting pitching with three aces in line to face the Reds. The Phillies once potent offense has been a puzzle at times this season. Defensively, the Phillies remain excellent, the fewest errors since the All-Star Game break.
Votto, Stubbs and Bruce are all home-grown players such as the Phillies’ Howard, Utley and Rollins. Votto is in the running for the MVP Award. He narrowly missed the Triple Crown this season. He has the league’s best average on the road and vs. RHP.
The Reds will start three right-handers. Like many clubs, left-handed relievers will be used often against the Phillies. The Reds had three on their September roster: Bray, 20-year-old rookie Chapman and Rhodes, the 40-year-old one-time Phillie. Chapman consistently throws 100 mph.
Both teams have until 10 a.m. Wednesday to submit their 25-man rosters to MLB for the NLDS. The roster can change for the NLCS and again, WS.
The two teams have met once before in the postseason, 1976. The Reds, known as the Big Red Machine, were 102-60 that season, the Phillies, 101-61. The Big Red Machine swept the Phillies, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 and then swept the Yankees.
On paper, the Phillies have better starting pitching and much more postseason experience. During the season, the Phillies were 5-2 against them, sweeping a four-game series here, which stretched the Reds’ winless streak at Citizens Bank Park to six games going back to 2009. Once again, a reminder, the games aren’t played on paper but on the field.
TBS is televising the NLDS. Phillies announcers can again be heard on radio.
This Date in Phillies Postseason History
1950 WS # 2 at Connie Mack Stadium: Robin Roberts started and pitched all 10 innings in a 2-1 loss. Joe DiMaggio’s home run into the upper deck in left field was the game-winner.
1977 NLCS # 2 at Los Angeles: Don Sutton’s complete game and Dusty Baker’s grand slam carried the Dodgers to a 7-1 win as the series moved east to Veteran Stadium.
1978 NLCS # 2 at Vet: Tommy John blanked the Phillies on four singles, a 4-0 decision that gave the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.
1983 NLCS # 2 at Los Angeles: Gary Matthews’ second-inning solo homer was the lone run in a 4-1 loss as the Dodgers evened the series, 1-1. In 14 games against the Dodgers pitching (12 during the season), the Phillies scored a total of 17 runs.
2008 NLDS # 5 at Milwaukee: Homers by Pat Burrell (2), Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth propelled the Phillies to a 6-2 win over the Brewers, sending the Phillies to the NLCS against the Dodgers.