Philadelphia Phillies: 5 Bold Predictions for the NLDS
After the most exciting, unbelievable finish to a season in MLB history (I'm not even qualifying this as arguable), the NLDS could go seven games and be won on a walk-off home run and still not seem that special.
If this last month has shown us anything, it's that anything can happen. I apologize for the annoyingly cliched statement, but it is in fact true.
So with that, here are my five bold predictions for the series, which you probably already knew unless you completely ignored the title. So get your Cracker Jacks and peanuts ready, here we go:
Michael Martinez Will Have a Game-Winning Hit
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I know this isn't really a bold prediction since Martinez has just crushed the ball this year.
If you didn't get the sarcasm in that joke, read it again because there was a lot of it.
Martinez is stroking the ball at a .196 clip this season and has virtually no power (three HRs on the year) so he's not exactly someone you'd expect to deliver a clutch rip.
But role players for the Phillies have a habit of coming through. Heck, Joe Blanton knocked a bomb in the World Series.
I don't really have much to back this up, but I just have a really good feeling Mini-Mart is going to get an opportunity and deliver.
Kyle Lohse Will Outduel Roy Halladay
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For some reason, former Phillies always shut down the Phills hitters. Lohse owned the Phillies this season to the tune of a 1.76 ERA.
The only problem, though, is that unless Lohse throws a complete game shutout, he can't count on a win as St. Louis' bullpen is, well, terrible.
I think the Phillies will still win the game late, and I think Halladay turns in a line of seven innings and four earned runs.
Ryan Howard Will Have a Multi-Home Run Game
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I know this isn't really that bold, but this is my list so I can do what I want.
The Big Piece's power numbers have been down a bit the last two years, but he's consistently been the most clutch Phillie and I think he will dominate the playoffs.
With Hunter Pence hitting behind him, pitchers can't throw around Howard so he should get decent looks, providing he doesn't continue to insist on swinging at a two-strike curveball in on his hands.
Every Phillies Starting Pitcher Will Get at Least 1 Hit
If you've followed the Phillies this year, you know that, for a while, Cliff Lee may have been their fourth-best hitter.
Other than Doc Halladay, every starter was above .200 most of the season, and Lee has gone deep twice this year.
And if Vance Worley's sterling pitching wasn't good enough, he hit .222 with five RBIs at the dish.
I expect at least one pitcher to rope a double at some point in the series as well.
St. Louis Will Win 1 Game
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This Cardinals are a dangerous playoff team, especially coming off an emotional end of the season.
However, I think that emotional roller coaster will drain them and will be tough to maintain.
St. Louis will take Game 1 to disrupt the sweep, and will put up a fight throughout the series.