It is playoff eve in Cincinnati folks. For the first time in 15 years, the city of Cincinnati will have their home town team participating in postseason baseball. Now it is very easy to notice the excitement in fans, yet at the same time, there is a sense of reluctance. A reluctance on the city’s part of getting fully behind the 2010 version of the Reds. People are nervous. People feel that this year’s team will go 3 and out. I have heard people say, “The Phillies are too good.” “The Phillies are too experienced.” “The Phillies are too talented.” And I could go on and on.
Well I won’t believe it.
The Reds won 91 games this year. They are worthy of a playoff spot and are a very talented and exciting team. Remember, this is the team that ranks number 1 in the National League in nearly every offensive category. This is the team that boasts NL MVP favorite Joey Votto. This is the team that is full of young arms and has the Cuban Missile coming out of the bullpen.
Now I realize that the Phillies won 97 games this year, despite dealing with many major injuries. I realize that this is the same Phillies team that has won the past two NL Pennants. I am more than aware that this is the same Phillies team that won 5 of 7 against the Reds this season including a vicious 4 game sweep right before the All Star Break (take note that 3 of those losses were by 1 run).
But playoff baseball is a whole new monster folks. The Red’s youth and inexperience could be a pro or con in this situation. Possibly they could be too naive to realize what they are playing for and have no fear. Possibly, they could get caught up in the limelight and crash and burn. I really do not know, and nor does anybody else.
That is why they play the games folks. Sure on paper this series looks to be very attainable for the heavily favored Phillies. They possess a pitching staff of Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt. A very formidable staff that appears to have an edge on the Cincinnati Redleg’s young guns. Realize though that the Reds batted .272 overall as a team this year, while the Phillies only hit .260. Reds’ hitters are a tougher out. Plus Roy Halladay has never played in a postseason game. But Cincinnati fans, I plead with you. Do not lose hope yet. In a playoff series, it is never over until your team is officially eliminated. Just ask the 2004 Red Sox. Anything can happen.
This is the final stages before the Fall Classic. Philadelphia may be the fighting city, but Cincinnati will give them all they can handle and more.
My picks are as follows:
Phillies over Reds in 5
Giants over Braves in 5
NLCS: Phillies over Giants in 6
Rays over Rangers in 4
Yankees over Twins in 4
ALCS: Yankees over Rays in 7
Yankees over Phillies in 6 (same as I picked in March on my MLB Preview still)
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.