Wednesday, October 6, 2010

NLDS preview: Reds v. Phillies

My [stuff] doesn't work in the play-offs. My job is to get us to the play-offs. What happens after that is [freaking] luck.

-Billy Beane, A's GM, as quoted in Moneyball

It's no surprise the Reds are a big underdog against the Phillies. This says more about the Phillies than the Reds, however, because the Phillies would be favored against any other team in the playoffs. With Hallady, Oswalt, and Hamels, in a five-game series, it would be difficult to pick against them. Then you throw in they have a strong line-up and a ton of post-season experience and it's impossible to pick against them.

But anything can happen in the playoffs as Billy Beane so eloquently stated it. Espcecially in a short series. If the ultimate goal is to win the World Series the Reds are probably better off drawing the Phils in a five-game rather than seven-game series. If they just want to go as far as possible, they would have been better off drawing any other team.

The key for the series will be for Dusty to manage every game as a must-win. Don't hold anything back. Worry about tomorrow tomorrow. Starting pitcher for every game: Johnny Wholestaff. That's a lot of cliches, but the Reds have to put pressure on the Phillies. They can't wait around for something to happen. Imagine this, the Reds squeak out a win against Halladay (they beat him in June albeit at GABP) in game one and Arroyo's off-speed crap has the Phillies out of whack in game two. All of a sudden the Phillies are feeling the pressure. But if the Reds sit back and let Halladay and Oswalt steam roll them in games one and two, they'll have a monumental task in beating Hamels with the great change-up and curve. The Reds are a fastball hitting team and they need to do some damage against Halladay and Oswalt early on when they're seeing fastballs.

And Dusty can't be afraid to throw the entire bench and the entire bullpen out there every night to gain favorable match-ups when he can. The Reds have depth and they need to use it. They have four lefties in the pen, so Howard, Utley, et al. should never see a righty from the seventh inning on.

I can't in good conscious pick the Reds to win it, but I think this team is fearless. If they're able to score early on Halladay and Oswalt, and somehow get into the Phillies' pen in games one and two, they'll have a phighting chance.

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