PSB Phillies-Reds predictionby Eric Schwartz
Everyone loves the Phillies right now and to be honest it’s quite a strange feeling.
Philadelphia is the city symbolized by Rocky, the ultimate underdog, yet this team is no underdog. Far from it. On espn.com 18 of the 27 baseball analysts picked the Phillies to not only go to the World Series, but win it. All 27 have them beating the Reds, and most by sweep. Sports Illustrated also likes the Phillies in a sweep.
Not even Obama was favored by those kinds of odds two years ago.
There’s nothing wrong with being the favorite, it is just an unusual spot for this team, and this city. And to be honest it has some fans feeling a little uncomfortable. We in the position Yankees fans have been in for the last decade: If the Phillies don’t win the World Series the season will be viewed as a disappointment. That’s the pressure that comes with having a staff of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. Division title are nice, but championships are now the standard.
It’s an exciting, yet eerie position to be in.
Everyone knows the reasons why the Phillies should win this series against the Reds so I won’t waste time repeating them. As far as the Reds go, I see three great reasons to fear this team:
No. 1: The Reds are being given no chance. They are clearly in the “us against the World mentality” and certain teams thrive in that situation. A team that believes in itslef when knowone else will is a dangerous team.
No. 2: Entering the 2009 playoffs all the talk was about the Cardinals pitching. There was no way that rotation of Chris Carpenter (17-4, 2.24) , Adam Wainwright (19-8, 2.63 ERA) and Joel Pinero (15-12, 3.49 ERA) could be beat in a playoff series, let alone one that only had five games. Yet the Cardinals were swept in three games by the Dodgers.
No. 3: Jay Bruce: All of the media attention in September was placed on the red-hot hitting of Troy Tulowitski, who seemed to hit a home run every night. However Bruce was just a good dating back to August 13. As cnnsi.com points out Bruce hit .371 with 15 home runs in his final 34 games. He does have injury concerns, but he is flat out raking right now. Anyone who brings that kind of bat into the playoffs has to be considered a serious threat.
PREDICTION: With my ramblings now out of the way, it’s time lay out my pick. The Phillies are playing better baseball than any team in the playoffs and deserve their place as the favorites. Though Roy Halladay will be new to the postseason, he doesn’t strike me as a guy who will falter under ultimate pressure. I’m not sure the Phillies bats will explode right from Game 1, but I don’t think they will need to given the pitching. The Phillies are just too god right now. With that in mind I will play into my own fears:
Phillies in 3