Philadelphia Phillies: Breaking Down the Matchups in September

Zak SchmollAnalyst IAugust 31, 2011

Philadelphia Phillies: Breaking Down the Matchups in September

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    The Philadelphia Phillies have the best record in baseball at 85-46, and they have a very difficult schedule from here on out. While they do get to play a few games against teams in the lower half of the National League, they will also be taking on some pretty stiff competition.

    Let's take a look at every team the Phillies will play for the rest of the season and see how they match up.

Cincinnati Reds

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    Right now, the Philadelphia Phillies are in the midst of the only series with the Cincinnati Reds for the rest of the season.

    The matchup is between big bats and big arms. The Reds have scored more runs than any team in the National League whereas the Phillies have the best team ERA in all of baseball.

    The Phillies took Games 1 and 2, and they have been much more successful so far this season.

    They also had the opportunity because of multiple rainouts to arrange their rotation exactly the way they wanted it. The Phillies match up pretty well against the Reds because oftentimes great pitching is able to handle great hitting.

Florida Marlins

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    The Philadelphia Phillies have five games left with the Florida Marlins. After the current series against Cincinnati, they play in Florida for three games before meeting the Marlins again for a doubleheader in Philadelphia on Sept. 15.

    The Marlins are in last place in the National League East and have been particularly cold as of late with a 3-7 record in their last 10 games. The Marlins' team ERA is more than one run higher than the Phillies, their team batting average is eight points lower than the Phillies, and they have scored 74 fewer runs than the Phillies.

    Again, this leads to a very favorable matchup for the Phillies.

Houston Astros

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    The Philadelphia Phillies have a three-game series with the Houston Astros from Sept. 12-14. I don't really have a lot to say about this one because the Astros have the absolute worst record in baseball at 46-90.

    I know baseball is one of the most unpredictable sports in the world because weird things can and often do happen. However, when the team with the best record in baseball plays the team with the worst record, it creates a very favorable matchup for the Phillies.

New York Mets

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    The Philadelphia Phillies will face the New York Mets in their next-to-last series of the season beginning Sept. 23.

    Despite the fact they have scored almost as many runs as the Phillies this season, they have one of the worst team ERAs in baseball at 4.19.

    Jose Reyes is really having a great year, but since the Mets traded away Carlos Beltran, they do not have much pop in the middle of the lineup. Therefore, with their runs going down and an elevated team ERA, the Phillies definitely have the advantage in this matchup as well.

Washington Nationals

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    The Philadelphia Phillies have a four-game set with the Washington Nationals on Sept. 20-22. On the 20th, they will have a doubleheader, which will not be easy on the Phillies who are bound to be tired by then.

    It will be their 23rd consecutive day playing baseball, and a doubleheader is always rough on a team. The Phillies will have the advantage on paper, but this series could be difficult just because they are playing four games in three days.

    The Nationals are currently in a bit of a skid, so will be interesting to see what happens when the tired team meets up with the cold team.

St. Louis Cardinals

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    The Philadelphia Phillies will face the St. Louis Cardinals for four games from Sept. 16-19.

    The Cardinals, obviously, are led by Albert Pujols, who is tied for the National League lead in home runs with 31, and Lance Berkman, who is one behind him. The Cardinals are near the middle of the pack as far as team ERA and have the highest team batting average in the National League.

    With a better opponent, the Phillies' advantage is definitely not as pronounced in the series. However, the Phillies' pitching rotation has been phenomenal this season, as I keep repeating.

    Also, their offense is heating up against the average St. Louis staff, the Phillies should have the advantage in this series.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    The Milwaukee Brewers will host the Philadelphia Phillies for four games from Sept. 8-11. The Brewers are currently the hottest team in baseball behind a very potent offense led by Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. Their pitching staff has also been very solid behind Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke.

    I don't know how the pitching matchups will look during the series, but it's always good to watch out for the Brewers. They have the offensive firepower to beat up opponents, and if they have their two front starters going against the Phillies, this could be a very difficult series.

Atlanta Braves

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    Here we are at what will arguably be the most important series of year for both the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies.

    They will be facing each other six times in September. From the Sept. 5-7, they will be in Philadelphia for three games, and from Sept. 26-27 they will be in Atlanta.

    These two teams both have great pitching staffs. Philadelphia has a much better and deeper rotation while the Atlanta bullpen has been nearly unhittable all season. Neither team has been particularly hitting the ball well although the Phillies have done better so far and seem to be heating up.

    As two of the top teams in the National League square off, it would not be overly surprising to have this series of six games end up split down the middle.

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