NLDS Preview: Phillies-Brewers

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 ·

A streak has to end. Neither the Phillies nor the Brewers have won a playoff series in a long time. The Phillies are better defensively, better offensively, and they have a better overall pitching staff. The NL East Champions should win. However, the Brewers are a team who's bats can get hot real fast and whenever CC has the opportunity to possibly pitch twice in a short series, it is going to be tough.

A Broad View:

In the regular season, the Phillies averaged about 4.9 runs per game and allowed only 4.19. Their +119 run differential was third in the majors only behind Boston and Chicago. Their 799 runs scored was 93 off of last year's pace. Earlier in the year, they were on pace to surpass the 892 runs from last year, but their offered faltered much of the summer, luckily heating up just in time for the September stretch run. Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Pat Burrell all had struggling streaks when the weather was hot, but at least Utley and Rollins are getting back to normal. The Phillies have two year in and year hot MVP candidates in Utley and Howard. Hopefully, hopefully they tune their game to become October MVPs. No one in baseball is hotter than Ryan Howard is right now.

The pitching has been the best it has ever been in a long time, both in regards to the starters and the bullpen. Pitching was the question earlier in the year, but it truly carried this team through some tough times. The Phillies are going to continue have to rely on good pitching, but also hope that their situational hitting improves. When the weather cools down, home runs are tougher to hit with consistency.

The Brewers come into the postseason averaging 4.6 runs per game while allowing 4.25. However, their rotation has taken a hit because Ben Sheets will likely be unavailable for the entire series. Yovani Gallardo is a stud prospect, but he hasn't pitched during most of the year. He injured his knee in May and his only start with the Brewers since was last weekend. C.C. Sabathia will pitch on 3 days rest for the fourth time in four starts in Game 2. While it is likely that he'll continue to be effective, question marks will still arise.

Both the offense and bullpen struggled in September, but finally returned to mid-season form in the final week of the season. The Brewers are another team that relies heavily on the long-ball. Both powerful lineup could put up big numbers, but it is hard to expect any 10-8 slugfests in the cold Philadelphia and Milwaukee weather.

Batting Average:
Phillies - .255
Brewers - .253

On-Base Percentage:
Phillies - .332
Brewers - .325

Slugging Percentage:
Phillies - .438
Brewers - .431

Home Runs:
Phillies - 214
Brewers - 198

Phillies - 586
Brewers - 550

Phillies - 1117
Brewers - 1203

As you can tell, the Phillies have the edge in the major categories. Well, how about the "clutch" situations.

With runners in scoring position, the Phillies still seem to have an edge as well.

Batting Average:
Phillies - .263
Brewers - .245

On-base Percentage:
Phillies - .365
Brewers - .337

Slugging Percentage:
Phillies - .443
Brewers - .405

Phillies - 219
Brewers - 192

Strike Outs:
Phillies - 299
Brewers - 312

On paper, the Phillies have a better offense. In their most recent 4-game series, the Phillies outscored the Brewers 26-10. The Phillies are a better situational team, but they will have to improve to completely hold off a Brewers lineup that could heat up really quickly.

Phillies Team Leaders:
Avg: Shane Victorino - .293
OBP: Chase Utley - .380
SLG: Ryan Howard - .543
HR: Ryan Howard - 48
RBI: Ryan Howard - 146
R: Chase Utley - 113
SB: Jimmy Rollins - 47

Brewers Team Leaders:
Avg: Ryan Braun - .285
OBP: Prince Fielder - .372
SLG: Ryan Braun - .553
HR: Ryan Braun - 37
RBI: Ryan Braun - 106
R: Ryan Braun - 92
SB: Corey Hart - 23

With the addition of C.C. Sabathia, the Brewers had one of the best 1-2 rotation in baseball with he and Sheets. Well, Sheets is likely not going to pitch. So now, the Brewers new 1-2 punch is Sabathia and Gallardo. Don't slouch on Gallardo. He has question marks, he's young, but he has amazing stuff. The rest of their rotation is a question mark as they're still not sure who will pitch game 3.

The Phillies have one of the better National League aces in Cole Hamels who's recored had a lot to do with the Phillies lineup's inability to score runs for him. Hamels leads the league in innings and may be feeling some fatigue, but he'll have 8 days in between starts. Hopefully he is refreshed. Myers have seemed to have found himself since being sent down, but he has been unable to spot his fastball in his last two starts. A problem he had before he was sent down. Hopefully he gets back to whatever he was doing before those two starts. To pitch game 3, the Phillies well send out 45 year-old vet, Jamie Moyer. Moyer was 16-7 for the Phillies this year with a 3.71 ERA. Unreal.

Well, let's compare them. First the Starter's.

Phillies - 966.2
Brewers - 983.1

Phillies - 4.23
Brewers - 3.86

Phillies - 59-47
Brewers - 59-48

Opponent BA:
Phillies - .264
Brewers - .259

Phillies - 670
Brewers - 725

Phillies - 322
Brewers - 314

Phillies - 1.36
Brewers - 1.31

HRs Allowed:
Phillies - 123
Brewers - 119

The Brewers have the edge, however these numbers both include Kyle Kendrick, Adam Eaton, and Ben Sheets. Three starters who will not pitch in this series. I remind you though, Gallardo has the type of stuff that shut down the Phillies last year with the kids in Colorado. As you can see, the Brewers rotation was able to go deeper into games.

The bullpens:

Phillies - 483
Brewers - 472.1

Phillies - 3.19
Brewers - 3.83

Phillies - 33-23
Brewers - 31-24

Opponent BA:
Phillies - .251
Brewers - .249

Phillies - 411
Brewers - 385

Phillies - 211
Brewers - 214

Phillies - 1.38
Brewers - 1.39

Blown Leads:
Phillies - 15
Brewers - 26

The Phillies definitely have the bullpen edge, though they struggled in August and early September. The Brewers bullpen isn't as far off as some may have thought. They still got the job in the grand scheme of things, but those 26 blown leads are not good news for the Brewers fans.

Both of their fielding defense are not great, but they're not terrible. They have a few holes, but rarely do they absolutely kill their respected teams.

Final Analysis:
I don't like making predictions, but I have to, Phillies in 4 or 5. If it gets to 5, the Brewers will likely send out Myers against Sabathia, unless the Phillies plan to use Blanton if there is a game 4, pending on what the series is at. I think both teams are mirror images of each other, but the Phillies experience last year, as little as it is, should deem a huge factor.

Play ball!


Magnum said...
October 1, 2008 at 1:13 PM  

Killer analysis of the series!

Go Phils!

We're going to add you to the blogroll, add us!

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