NLDS Preview

First of all let me quickly touch on last nights thriller in Denver.  Upon further review I am going to go against the popular opinion and say that I believe there is a definate possibility that Matt Holliday was safe at the plate.  He slid underneath Barrett’s foot, which is why he got spiked and it stands to reason he may have gotten his fingertips on the plate.   Other than that congrats to the Rockies for one of the greatest late season comebacks ever.  Everyone wants to harp on the collapse of the Mets, but what the Rox accomplished was truly for the ages…

And now without further ado…the NLDS Preview


(90-73; NL WILD CARD)




Tale of the Tape:

Catcher: Yorvit Torrealba (COL) vs. Carlos Ruiz (PHI): Yorvit is a decent little hitter and good reciever despite having a first name that reminds me of the hot new Yogurt flavor.  Ruiz is a youngster who has supplanted Mike Lieberthal in Philly.  Small Advantage Colorado

1st Base: Todd Helton (COL) vs. Ryan Howard (PHI): If you aren’t thrilled for Helton finally getting a chance to make it to the post-season with the Rox then you shouldn’t be watching baseball.  That said he isn’t what he used to be and Howard is a slugging maching.  Advantage Philadelphia

2nd Base: Kazuo Matsui (COL) vs. Chase Utley (PHI): Mets fans have to love seeing Kaz playing in the post-season while they sit home.  Utley however is the Robin to Howard’s Batman and really makes the Philly offense go.  Huge Advantage Philadelphia

3rd Base: Garrett Atkins (COL) vs. Wes Helms (PHI): While Holliday is the young stud, and Helton is the aging superstar, quietly Garrett Atkins is turing into quite the player himself.  Wes Helms and his .294 OBP can’t quite matchup.  Huge Advantage Colorado

Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki (COL) vs. Jimmy Rollins (PHI): Tulowitzki is one of the front runners for NL Rookie of the Year.  Rollins is one of the front runners for NL MVP.  Advantage Philadelphia

Left Field: Matt Holliday (COL) vs. Pat Burrell (PHI): Holliday is one of the NL’s fastest rising stars, and in my opinion the NL MVP.  Burrell used to be decent and was a highly touted prospect, but now is nothing more than a strikeout machine with some pop.  Huge Advantage Colorado

Center Field: Willy Tavares (COL) vs. Aaron Rowand (PHI): Oddly enough a rematch of the center field matchup in the 2005 World Series.  Rowand was a lot better than and he still is.  Huge Advantage Philadelphia

Right Field: Brad Hawpe (COL) vs. Shane Victorino (PHI): Hawpe has some pop from the left side and is another good threat in the middle of the Rox order.  Victorino is a havoc reaker at the top of the Philly order.  Small Advantage Philadelphia

Starting Rotation: Colorado features ace Jeff Francis followed by some young kids and journeymen lefty Josh Fogg.  For the Phils they feature young phenom Cole Hamels at the top of their rotation and also have 93 year old lefty Jamie Moyer.  Small Advantage Philadelphia

Bullpen: Both teams feature stellar bullpens.  The Phils feature Flash Gordon setting up Brett Myers and also former closers Antonio Alfonseca and Jose Mesa.  The Rox feature former closer Brian Fuentes along with Jeremy Affeldt and several other studs.  Advantage Colorado

Closer: Manny Corpas (COL) vs. Brett Myers (PHI): Both closers have only been at the helm for one half of the season, but Myers has been downright unhittable. Huge Advantage Philadelphia

Manager: Clint Hurdle (COL) vs. Charlie Manuel (PHI): Both guys could have been fired at any point.  I’ve always been a big Clint Hurdle fan and thought he was just stuck in a tough job.  Charlie is one of those old baseball guys you can’t help but root for. Small Advantage Colorado

Other Catergories…

Best Team Ever: 2007 Rockies vs. 1980 Phillies: Yes regardless of what happens from here on out this is the best Rox team ever.  They pale in comparision to the 1980 Phils who after close to a 100 year wait finally brought a World Title to Philly.  Advantage Philadelphia

Biggest Heartbreak: 1995 Rox give up 4 in the 9th of Game 2 to go down 0-2 to the Braves vs. Mitch Williams giving up a walk off home run in the 93 Series: What do you think.  Losing game 2 of the division series or losing the World Series on a walk off homer.  Disadvantage Philadelphia

Hometown Fans: They will boo Santa Claus, but give the Philly fans credit they are passioniate.  A bit misguided but passioniate.  The Rockie fans on the other hand…well lets just say the team store had a big day Monday Night.  Advantage Philadelphia

Stadium: Coors Field vs. Citizens Bank Park: Both are pretty much your typical new era parks but Coors gets the edge for the beautiful view of the Rockies beyond the left field wall.  Advantage Colorado

Mascot: Dinger vs. The Phillie Phanatic: Biggest. Mismatch. Ever.  The Phanatic is there with Mr. Met and the San Diego Chicken as the greatest of all time.  Dinger is a cheap Barney the Purple Dinosaur ripoff.  Advantage Philadelphia

City: Denver vs. Philadelphia: Well I lied, this might be the biggest mismatch ever.  The city with the Rockies in the backdrop or a poor man’s New York?  Advantage Colorado

Franchise Icon: Larry Walker vs. Mike Schmidt: I’d love to go homer here and pick Larry, but Michael Jack Schmidt is probably the best defensive third baseman ever, and a pretty **** good hitter too.  Advantage Philadelphia

Series Prediction: Flip a coin and take your pick.  They both come in riding huge waves of momentum, but I think the Rox are riding a little bit more of that Rockie Mountain High

Colorado in 5






Tale of the Tape:

Catcher: Jason Kendall (CHC) vs. Chris Snyder (ARZ): Hey remember back in the day when Kendall was good?  Me neither.  Chris Snyder provides a little pop which is a little more than his Cubbie coutnerpart.  Advantage Arizona

1st Base: Derrek Lee (CHC) vs. Conor Jackson (ARZ): Derrek Lee suffered a tremendous downgrade in the power department this year, but was still one of the NL’s best hitters.  Jackson is a nice hitter in a platoon with Tony Clark.  Huge Advantage Chicago

2nd Base: Mark DeRosa (CHC) vs. Alberto Callaspo (ARZ): How exactly did Arizona get the number one seed in the NL?  Alberto Callaspo?  DeRosa was a curious signing in the off-season but has certainly filled the 2B position well for the Baby Bears.  Advantage Chicago

3rd Base: Aramis Ramirez (CHC) vs. Chad Tracy (ARZ): Aramis cashed in big time in the off-season and has peformed very well in the middle of the potent Cubs lineup.  Tracy is also a middle of the order guy with good pop.  Just not on par with A-Ram.  Advantage Chicago

Shortstop: Ryan Theriot (CHC) vs. Stephen Drew (ARZ): Theriot has been quite the spark plug for the Cubs since coming up early in the year.  Drew is a great young ballplayer and is certainly motivated for a potential World Series face off with his sister JD.  Advantage Arizona

Left Field: Alfonso Soriano (CHC) vs. Eric Byrnes (ARZ): Soriano has been huge since coming back from a torn quad in August, and is consistently one of the games best offensive player.  Byrnes is a media creation if there ever was one.  Huge Advantage Chicago

Center Field: Jacque Jones (CHC) vs. Chris Young (ARZ):  Jacque Jones was ready to be run out of the windy city in July.  Now he is the starting CF.  Young has the statistical anomly of 32 homers and only 68 RBI.  How is that possible.  Small Advantage Chicago

Right Field: Cliff Floyd (CHC) vs. Justin Upton (ARZ): Floyd has been a major disappointment for the Cubbies in his first season on the North Side.   Justin Upton at 20 years old will have to sip on Apple Cider if the D’Backs advance. Small Advantage Chicago

Starting Rotation: For my money the two best pitchers in the NL are matched up in game one with Carlos Zambrano squaring off with Brandon Webb.  In the two hole the D’Backs have 1997 World Series MVP and the Cubs have 40 million dollar man Ted Lilly.  Advantage Chicago

Bullpen: Two more strong pens in the other NL series.  Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, and Bob Howry help the Cubbies get the ball to Ryan Dempster.  Bob Wickman, Tony Pena, and former Cub Juan Cruz get the ball to Jose Valverde for the Snakes  Small Advantage Chicago

Closer: Ryan Dempster (CHC) vs. Jose Valverde (ARZ): Dempster does a really good Harry Caray impression, but any time I fear the 7th and 8th inning guys more than the closer thats a problem.  Valverde has been nails all year for the D’Backs accounting for 47 saves.  Huge Advantage Arizona

Manager: Lou Pinella (CHC) vs. Bob Melvin (ARZ): Pinella is by far the most experienced NL manager in the field and easily the best.  Melvin has done a great job this year, but he’s no Sweet Lou.  Advantage Chicago

Other Catergories…

Best Team Ever: 1908 Cubs vs. 2001 D’Backs: Since the motion picture had just been recently invented I cannot account for exactly how good the 1908 Cubs were.  The 01 Snakes did have the best 1-2 punch since the ’60’s in Johnson and Schilling.  Advantage Arizona

Biggest Heartbreak: 8th inning Game 6 2003 NLCS Cubs give up 8 runs with the Pennant just five outs away vs. D’Backs give up walk off homer to Todd Pratt in 10th inning of 99 LDS: Ahhhh the Steve Bartman game.  Still brings a smile to my face. The choke job by which all other choke jobs should be measured. This might be the easiest call on the board.  Disadvantage Chicago

Hometown Fans: The sad thing is in all reality both fan bases are made up of Cub fans.  This is really a no contest.  Even though Lee Elia doesn’t care for them you have to go with Cub fan here.  Advantage Chicago

Stadium: Wrigley Field vs. Chase Field: Old, rundown, smells like cheap beer and urine, has never seen the home team win a championship, and still proabably one of the best experiences you can have a baseball fan.  That or you can go swimming in the outfield in Phoenix.  Advantage Chicago

Mascot: Baxter vs. Ron Santo: The Cubs don’t have an official mascot so we’ll go with Ronnie here as the unofficial mascot.  He stammers and studders through every broadcast, but his love for the Cubs is overwelming.  Advantage Chicago

City: Chicago vs. Phoenix: There is a reason there are so many Cub fans in Phoenix. Because the rich old guys in Chicago get the **** out of town and move to Phoenix. Advantage Phoenix

Franchise Icon: Ernie Banks vs. Randy Johnson: Mr. Cub was always a crowd pleaser and the best short stop of his day.  The Big Unit is still collecting a paycheck from the D’Backs despite doing nothing this year.  Advantage Chicago

Series Prediction: I really hate the Cubs, but when I look at this Arizona roster I can’t figure out how they are even here, nonetheless the #1 seed.  As much as it kills me I think the Baby Bears move on

Chicago in 4




    The D-Backs may have a disadvantage on paper, but that’s all it is. Paper. The Diamondbacks won despite having the paper against them all season, and so why would paper stop them in October. Plus they’ll have the Billy Goat helping them in the first round. Go Diamondbacks! It’s time for a top seed to win the World Series. Although I will be rooting for the Cubs if they get past the D-Backs, because they’re my sister’s favorite team, and if I can’t have my favorite team win it all, I figure hers might as well be the one.

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