MLB National League Division Preview: Colorado Rockies vs. Philadelphia Phillies

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MLB National League Division Preview: Colorado Rockies vs. Philadelphia Phillies
(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

About The Philadelphia Phillies:

This past season, the Philadelphia Phillies clinched their third straight NL East Division Title with a record of 93-69.

As defending World Series champions, they have a huge targets on their back. However, they field a team that is strong in many areas.

Offensively, they led the National League in runs scored and home runs, thanks to contributions from Ryan Howard (45 home runs, 141 RBIs) and Chase Utley (26 home runs, 93 RBIs, .282 average). They also boast one of the strongest pitching staffs, with two legitimate aces in mid-season acquisition Cliff Lee (7-4, 74 Ks, 3 Complete Games since the trade) and 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels (10-11, 4.28 ERA, 168 Ks).

In addition to the two lefty aces, they could use mid-season replacement Pedro Martinez in the bullpen, allowing Joe Blanton or J.A. Happ to get the third game start.

However, with 11 blown saves, closer Brad Lidge is not who he was in 2008. Happ or Ryan Madson could take the role from him in the playoffs.

About The Colorado Rockies:

It’s another season of Rocktober for the Rockies, who clinched the wild card spot with a 92-70 record after being left for dead earlier this season.

The comeback Rockies rely heavily on young pitching and defense, knowing full well that their offensive stats are inflated due to the high elevation of their field.

The team finished sixth in the NL in ERA, a fine stat considering where they play. They are led by Ubaldo Jimenez (15-12, 3.98 ERA) and Aaron Cook (11-6, 78Ks). All five of their starters had ten or more wins, giving them great depth for the playoffs.

But with all that said, they are a young team with no real power hitters, and a lot of spent energy getting themselves into the playoffs. It will be tough to keep that momentum up, but if anyone can do it, they can.

The Matchup:

The Phillies won the season series 4-2, but Colorado won the previous two matchups.

Colorado had one of the best home records at 51-30, and opponents usually claim extreme fatigue after a few days in the thin air. However, Philadelphia counters that with a major league leading 48-33 record on the road, and going undefeated at home in the 2008 playoffs. 

Both teams boast strong pitching records, but Philadelphia easily has the power advantage, and can capitalize on one or two mistakes. However, if Philadelphia does not figure out their bullpen situation soon, they could open the door for a comeback or two from Colorado.

The Pick:

Philadelphia seems to have all the necessary tools (and a few extra ones) to give them a great shot at being the first repeat World Series winner since the New York Yankees (1998-2000).

Philadelphia in four games.

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