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Phillies face toughest NLDS test yet

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Phillies face toughest NLDS test yet 
By earjerseyqq147 on Apr 10, 2014 05:07 AM
Phillies face toughest NLDS test yet

Please don't misinterpret or misremember what you are about to read. The Phillies are a better baseball team than the Cardinals. They should win this series, just like they've won their previous three National League Division Series. When they do advance to their fourth straight National League Championship Series, I'm sure I will be on the receiving end of many publiclyhurled insults and projectiles.

Hey crapforbrains! How do you like the Cardinals now?!

And that's great. Better to cover baseball in a town that cares enough about it's sports that the local beat scribe is an object of derision instead of another anonymous byline lost in the swirl of foreboding economic news.

Besides, my answer will be the same as it was in spring training, before Adam Wainwright went down with an elbow injury. I like the Cardinals very much. I like the Phillies much better. But I do like the Cardinals. And I think when you look at the numbers and situations, you have to agree that St. Louis Cheap Colts Jerseys is the toughest NLDS opponent the Phillies have faced since at least 2007.

We'll have plenty more breakdowns of the upcoming BestofFive series, but in the name of leaving Midtown Atlanta with enough time to catch my flight back home, here's a quick primer:

Jaime Garcia has allowed one earned run in 15 innings against the Phillies this season. He shut them down last season, as well. If you were building a prototype of the pitcher that gives the Phillies fits, his would be a good mold to cast.

The best rotation the Phillies have faced in the first round over the previous three postseasons was the 2008 Brewers. Sabathia on three days rest in each of his final three starts of the regular season. So, yes, this Cardinals team will not start ace Chris Carpenter in Game 3, just like the Brewers did not start Sabathia until Game 2 in 2008. But Carpenter was not ridden like a racehorse down the stretch, either. Besides, when you are looking at matchups, Garcia is probably the Cardinals' No. 1 pitcher against the Phillies (again, more on that after I hopefully catch my flight and land safely).

In Game 1 in 2008, the Phillies faced 22yearold Yovani Gallardo, who was coming off an injury that sidelined him for all but the last four starts of the season. Last year in Game 1, they faced Edinson Volquez, who was coming off an injury that sideilned him for all but the last 12 starts of the season. In 2009, they faced righty Ubaldo Jimenez, who was legit.

In Game 2 this year, they will face Kyle Lohse (3.39 ERA, 1.168 WHIP, 5.3 K/9, 2.0 BB/9), compared with Bronson Arroyo in 2010 (3.88, 1.168, 5.0, 2.5) and Aaron Cook in 2009 (4.16, 1.405, 4.4, 2.7) and Sabathia in 2008 (2.70, 1.15, 8.9, 2.1).

In Game 3, it will be Carpenter (3.59, 1.292, 7.1, 2.1) compared with Jonny Cueto (3.64, 1.276, 6.7, 2.7) and Jason Hammel (4.33, 1.387, 6.8, 2.1) and Dave Bush (4.18, 1.141, 5.3, 2.3).

In Game 4, it would likely be Edwin Jackson (3.79, 1.437, 6.7, 2.8), compared with Volquez, Jason Marquis (4.04, 1.380, 4.8, 3.3) and Jeff Suppan (4.96, 1.542, 4.6, 3.4).

In 2008, the Brewers lost Ben Sheets down the stretch. In 2009, the Rockies lost Jorge de la Rosa down the stretch. Two good breaks for the Phillies.

You can argue that Milwaukee's rotation was better in 2008 because of the track record of Sabathia and the potential of Gallardo, but when you look at the matchups, the Cardinals are far better in Games 3 and 4 with Carpenter and Jackson than the Brewers were with Bush and Suppan. Sabathia in '08 that the Phillies face a lefthanded starter in the first round. That's not the hiccup it once was for this team, but guys like Garcia still give them problems, although the new lineup should help to combat that.

This series could very well come down to how well the Phillies take advantage of St. Louis' porous bullpen. The Cardinals blew a ridiculous 26 saves in the regular season, compared with the Phillies leaguebest total of nine. Their 64 percent save percentage ranked 10th, compared with the Phillies' leagueleading 84. The 2010 Reds and 2008 Brewers both had solid bullpens, while the 2009 Rockies made a couple of lateseason editions that fortified their unit. St. Louis finished 11th in the NL with a 3.73 bullpen ERA, compared with the Reds finishing seventh in 2010 with 3.97, the Rockies finishing 13th in 2009 with 4.53, and the Brewers finishing fourth in 2008 with 3.89. But the Cardinals' staff has Cheap Texans Jerseys put up some decent rate numbers, including allowing 29 percent of inherited runners to score (Reds 34, Rockies 32, Brewers 26).

This is the worst bullpen the Phillies will have faced in the first round.

A lot depends on the health of Matt Holliday, who left Tuesday's game with an inflamed tendon in his hand. I have not heard an update on his status, but losing Holliday would be a huge blow. Rafael Furcal is also battling a hamstring strain.

If the Cardinals are healthy, they are potent. They lead the majors in runs, batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage. The Reds did the same last year, except for OBP, where they finished second.

This is a huge difference from the previous three offseasons, when the Phillies faced young underdoggish teams. For all their faults, the Cardinals are 2017 against playoff teams this season. The Phillies are 1213. The Reds were 712 in 2010, the Rockies were 1219 in 2009, and the Brewers were 1021 in 2008. Also notable, the Cardinals were 4536 on the road this season, compared with the Reds' 4239 mark last year, the Rockies 4140 in 2009 and the Brewers 4140 in 2008.

Like I said, the Phillies are the favorites here. Their rotation makes them the favorite in every series they will play. But the Cardinals present a formidable challenge, particularly when you figure that Garcia and Carpenter are on track to start three of the five games of the series. The Phillies' starting pitching advantage can be nullified if the Phillies fail to score and force Charlie Manuel to consider pinchhitting before he would like to. At that point, it would turn into a battle of the bullpens. The Phillies have the edge their on paper. But the bullpen is also something of a question mark after a shaky September.

That's all for now from your resident fearmongerer.

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Depty Insp 75

It's Wholesale Jerseys one thing to be nitpicker but it's quite another to make accusations that are simply false and totally without merit.

I scrutinized the column and couldn't find a single instance of the "mistakes" you cited.

Do you even know the difference between it's and its or their and there?

But the main point is that any Phillies fan should not be fussing about grammar today. They should be in 5th Heaven today 6th Heaven after the Playoffs and 7th Heaven after they win The World Series and enjoying every second.
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