By Chris Ross
I’m not sure if I heard correctly, but I think the 6-year-old kid across the street chose the Phillies to take the World Series. How can you blame him though?
With the jury still out on the bottom three of the New York Yankees starting rotation, the popular choice for world champions is still the Philadelphia Phillies after they ousted the Cincinnati Reds in three straight games tonight. The team with the best record in the National League was able to shut down the highest powered offence in the NL.
Roy Halladay threw the first no-hitter in the postseason since Don Larsen’s perfect game in 1956, and Cole Hamels went the distance in Game 3, giving up only five hits and striking out nine.
It may be the easy route to take, but sometimes choosing the road most traveled is the best way to go.
The Philadelphia Phillies undeniably have the best starting rotation in the league, and it showed once again in the first round of the playoffs that good pitching beats good hitting.
The Phillies are either going to face the Giants or the Braves in the NLCS, but neither team should be able to give them a legitimate run for their money.
The Giants are up 2-1 in their series with the Braves, and probably have the best chance to upset the Phillies if they get the opportunity. I sound like a broken record, but the Giants have the pitching to do it.
Like Halladay, Tim “the Freak” Lincecum threw an absolute gem in his first ever postseason game. Although the Giants weren’t able to get the win in Game 2, Matt Cain, who gets almost as little run support as Felix Hernandez, still allowed only one unearned run in 6.2 innings of work.
To round out the “Giant 3,” Jonathan Sanchez has been a nice surprise this season, and since the all-star break has posted a 2.61 ERA, while throwing 7.1 strong innings in the Game 3 victory.
As Cain knows all too well, runs are not easy to come by from this San Francisco team. The middle of their lineup is anchored by a rookie, Buster Posey, and a past-his-prime veteran in Pat Burrell. There is no way they are going to score the necessary amount of runs, which may not be that many, against the Phillies to upset them.
The Atlanta Braves, who are the other possible NL opponent for the Phillies, may have a better middle of the order than the Giants, but with Derek Lowe, Tommy Hanson, and Tim Hudson anchoring the rotation, I don’t think they have much hope against the Phillies.
There is no way you can ever guarantee a team a series victory or a world championship because this is sports. Sports are so unpredictable, which is why fans come back year after year to cheer for a team that is just going to end up competing for the same prize the next year.
With the Phillies though, I’ll take a lineup that boasts Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jason Werth, and Raul Ibanez any day of the week.
Then, combine that with three guys that could all be a No. 1 pitcher on any given team, I think my only game plan to oppose is making sure I go to church on Sunday.
If you want to show that you have some serious cohones, then by all means go ahead and pick against the Phillies, but sometimes in life the choices that are the hardest to make are the ones that seem too easy.