Route to the Playoffs
Philadelphia Phillies (97-65) won the National League East division
by six games over the Braves (91-71). The Cincinnati Reds (91-71) won the
National League Central division by five games over the St. Louis Cardinals
(86-76) and the San Francisco Giants (92-70) won the National league West
division by two games over the San Diego Padres (90-72). The Atlanta Braves
achieved the last remaining 'wildcard' playoff because of having the best
record among the non-divisional Champions.
The Phillies are the heavy
favorites to win their third straight
National League Championship and certainly served notice to the other teams of
that fact with their 4-0 Game 1 victory over the Reds. Roy Halladay pitched a
no hitter in that game marking only the second time the trick has been achieved
in MLB history. The Phillies feature a starting rotation nicknamed by fans as
"H2O" (Halladay, Hamels, and Oswalt) and any one of the three would be an ace
on any other team.
MLB World Series Outright
Odds and Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds Live Lines
Keep an eye on the Live odds below and click to bet when you see
value, for my MLB pick take a read at the end of the article
Odds from BookMaker on the World Series Winners
The Phillies are the favorite to win the World Series being paid $140 back for
every $100 wagered (+140) whilst the
Yankees are listed at +185. Further out you can catch the
Rangers at +400, the Giants +750 and the rank outsiders with the Sportsbooks seem to be the Rays +1200, the Twins +1250,
the Braves +1500, and the Reds +1700.
The Reds were nearly knocked senseless by Halladay and would have
to face him again if they have any hope whatsoever of competing in this series.
So, put yourself in their shoes. Despite being top level professionals, the Reds confidence
has to be questioned and of all the series, this one is all but over. My MLB
Pick is for the Phillies move on to the
NLCS and they sure do look strong to be World Series Winners.
Game Two Overview
In game two the Phillies' Roy Oswalt will face the Reds' Bronson
Arroyo starting at 6:07 EST Friday. Bookmaker has this game lined at Phillies -190/+180 and a posted total of 7u -120.
Bronson Arroyo has had a
solid season posting a 17-10 record with a 3.88 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP
spanning 215 2/3 innings worked. He ranks fourth in wins and those 17 wins
marks a career high. He also ranks eighth in WHIP, and eighth in innings
pitched. He allowed a 234 batting average, but did allow 29 home runs.
Breaking down his stats by category shows that he posted a 10-5
mark with a 3.76 ERA and a 1.099 WHIP in 18 road starts; a 4.14 ERA and a 1.081
WHIP allowing 23 home runs in 22 starts spanning 143 1/3 innings in night
starts. Over his last three starts he has posted a 2.00 ERA and a 0.778 WHIP
walking just one batter in 18 innings pitched.
Arroyo has not had much success against the members of the
Phillies allowing a .305 batting average spanning 82 at bats in their
respective careers. Polanco was not in the lineup in Game 1 due to injury, but
may be available for this game knowing that he is batting .353 (6 for 17)
against Arroyo. Moreover, Arroyo is just 1-5 with a 5.84 ERA and a 1.568 WHIP
in seven career starts against the Phillies.
Arroyo is an exceptional pitcher with no runners on base, posting
a 2.32 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. However, he has had trouble with runners on base,
posting a 6.35 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP; with runners in scoring position (RISP) an
8.18 ERA and 1.07 WHIP; with RISP and two outs a horrid 17.05 ERA and a 1.05
Teams can attempt to work the count with a starter like Arroyo.
Batters are hitting 227 on the first pitch of at bat. Even if that pitch is a
strike the batter's chances go up markedly. On a 0-1 pitch batters are hitting
290 and on a 1-0 pitch hitting 265. On the 1-1 count pitch batters are hitting
310; after 2-1 count hitting 315. So, look for the Phillies to work the counts
into hitter friendly situations.
Arroyo is the type of pitcher that seems to go up and down as the
game wears on. That stands true for the first 60 pitches, but after that is
when he becomes quite vulnerable to yielding runs. Arroyo has allowed a 227 BA
on the first 15 pitches; 186 BA on pitches 16 through 30, 195 BA on pitches 31
to 45; 259 BA on pitches 46 to 60; 242 BA on pitches 61 to 75; 261 BA on
pitches 76 to 90; 306 BA on pitches 91 to 105. Again, this points to the
Phillies being patient during the first times at bat and looking to get his
pitch count to 60 quickly.
Oswalt has three major
trends moving in his favor for the Phillies to win this game convincingly.
First, he sports a 7-1 record with a 1.31 ERA in his last 11 starts. Second, he
is 9-0 with a 2.10 ERA in 10 career starts at Citizen's Bank Park. Third, he is
an amazing 23-3 with a 2.81 ERA in 34 career starts against the Reds.
He has had a solid season, especially since being acquired by the
Phillies posting a 2.76 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 33 starts. This is one of his
better years, but his career has been marked by consistent domination. He has
posted a 150-83 record spanning 316 games starting in 303 games, posted a 3.18
ERA with a 1.18 WHIP walking 467 batters while striking out 1666.
Breaking his season stats by categories shows he has posted a
3.19 ERA and 1.065 WHIP in 18 home starts striking out 109 in 118 1/3 innings
of work. Over his last three starts he has posted a 0.50 ERA and a 0.722 WHIP
allowing zero home runs, walking just four batters while striking out 18
batters spanning 18 innings of work.
The Reds' Brandon Phillips, their leadoff man, has had strong
success against Oswalt batting 316 (12 for 38) and has struck out just twice.
Joey Votto is batting 333 (10 for 30) with two home runs and seven RBI.
Oswalt has used his slider with tremendous success. He throws the
slider 11% of the time and can change speeds with it to keep hitters completely
off balance. Hitters are batting 188 on the slider and just 218 on the curve.
He will work mostly away from left handed batters since he is right handed. He
will throw roughly a third of his pitches inside and the other two-thirds low
and away. He will throw the curve 33% of the time to left handed batters and
17% to left handed batters. He mixes up the slider and curve to right handed
batters each about 18% of the time.
The Reds will look to make Oswalt work, but this could backfire
in a very big way. The best pitch for the Reds to attack is the third pitch.
Oswalt is allowing a .238 on the 0-1 pitch and a .247 BA on the 1-0 pitch. So,
there is not a material advantage on either count. However, after that third
pitch batters are hitting .182 after 0-1 and .249 after 1-0. Oswalt gets
stronger as the game wears on. He is most vulnerable during the first 15
pitches allowing a .277 BA. From the first inning on, the BA allowed
continuously declines until bottoming a .127 on pitches 91 to 105.
In Game 3 of this series
the Reds will send Johnny Ceuto against the Phillies 'third ace" Cole Hamels, who
was the NLCS and World Series MVP in 2008. Cueto is 12-7 with a 3.64 ERA and a
1.28 WHIP on the season. Hamels posted a 12-11 record with a 3.06 ERA and a
1.18 WHIP. Hamels was a victim of lack of run support and for whatever reason
the Phillies just did not score runs for him. The Phillies have scored more
than three runs in just three of Hamels' last 11 starts.
Hamels has allowed a 196 batting average to left handed batters
and 247 against right handed batters. He started 18 home games and posted a 7-6
record with a 3.14 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP walking 34 batters and striking out an
impressive 114 batters spanning 117 1/3 innings. In 15 away starts he posted a
5-5 record with a 2.96 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP walking 27 batters while striking
out a quite impressive 97 batters in 91 1/3 innings pitched. Whenever a starter
can record the same number of strikeouts as innings pitched it is a sure sign
that that he has very good command and excellent movement on his pitches.
Hamels uses one of the best change ups in the game today to keep
batters off balance. He throws fastball 55%, the change 33%, and the curve 12%.
He has introduced a back door cutter this season used against left handed
batters as his second 'out' pitch. Batters are hitting just .187 on the change
and you will see him use it on any count situation.
Johnny Cueto has allowed a .234 batting average to left handed
batters and a .276 batting average to right handed batters. Just on this
comparison alone you can see that Hamels will have the upper hand in this game.
He has started 15 games each on the road and at home and has recorded a 6-3
record with 3.20 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP and a 6-4 record with a 4.10 ERA and a
1.33 WHIP respectively. He has struggled over the last two months posting an
ERA of 4.42 in August and a 4.32 ERA in September.
He has done well against the current members of the Phillies
allow a .224 batting average spanning 85 at bats in their respective careers.
Victorino, however, is batting 500 (5 for 10) and had a great game in the
Halladay no hitter. Cueto does not have over powering 'stuff'. He throws
fastball 63% of the time and 70% of the time on the first pitch and allowed a
.268 batting average on that pitch. He also throws a slider and changeup using
the change mostly against left handed batters. The change gets hit to the tune
of a .314 batting average. Not good news when you have to face left handed
batters Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, and switch hitters Victorino and
As you can plainly see and I think everyone would agree, the bet
is to play on the Phillies in every game of this series. Friday night with
Oswalt on the hill is cheap and I also like the 'over' seven runs bet too.
Philly offense will come to life inspired by Halladay's Game 1 no hitter. Game
3 is a complete mismatch, but since the Phillies are on the road they will be
lined as a modest favorite to close out the series. Take Philadelphia.