The 2011 Major League NLDS stacks up to be one of the more competitive ones in recent years. Each of these 4 teams has a legitimate chance at winning the World Series. Let's take an in depth look at these intriguing matchups.
The Arizona Diamondbacks (94-68) meet the Milwaukee Brewers in one series while
the team with the best record in the majors, the Philadelphia Phillies (102-60)
squares off against the resilient St. Louis Cardinals (90-72) in the other
matchup. Hold onto your seats.
First pitch starts with Arizona at Milwaukee at 2:07 pm ET on Saturday, and the Cardinals at Phillies take off at 5:07 pm ET.
Arizona vs. Milwaukee
The Diamondbacks have been riding the arm of ace Ian Kennedy for the entire
season. A lot was expected of Kennedy when he started off in the Yankees
organization but the Big Apple wasn't a comfort zone for the 1st round pick in
Up until this season, Kennedy had a losing record. This was his breakout
year at 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA. He's been consistent for the entire season. He
should give a team like the Milwaukee Brewers, who thrive at home (57-24),
everything that they can handle.
Upton on the upswing
The Arizona offensive isn't one comprised of top level players except for right
fielder Justin Upton. Upton has been steady and clutch all season at 31 HR, 88
RBI,.289 BA and 21 SB. The D'backs are composed of clutch players that keep a
low profile. This has what's gotten them past the defending world champion San
Fransisco Giants and into the post season. Can this team of
"no-names" upset the MLB odds favorite Brewers like the Giants defeated the
Phillies last season. Stay Tuned.
Sportsbooks currently have Arizona listed at +150 to win this series. MLB bettors will definitely see them as the big underdog against a team who has home field
advantage and is nearly unbeatable at home.
Go West young man!
When he started his career with the Yankees, southern California native and
former 1st round draft pick Ian Kennedy quickly realized that home is where the
heart is. He's not playing in California, but Arizona has sure felt like home this
season, as he has pitched to near perfection for the entire season, Kennedy has been the
difference between the D'Backs going home and making the playoffs. Can he
withstand the post-season pressure? That's the question that will be answered.
The Milwaukee Brewers have thrived at home this season. They're a major
league's best 57-24. Having home field advantage in a short series is key.
However, the Brewers are vulnerable on the road with an sub .500 record.
will be key, and Ian Kennedy can defeat the Brewers, Arizona, has a major
advantage. If Kennedy and the Diamondbacks are defeated, Millwaukee will be in
the driver's seat. Two keys to the effectiveness are Ryan Braun and Prince
Fielder. Milwaukee will go as far as they take them.
Left fielder Ryan Braun and 1st baseman Prince Fielder might very well be the
most effective 3-4 combination in the game today. The Brewers can be down in
any game but when an opposing pitcher see's Braun and Fielder "next
up", they usually buckle due to the pressure. Braun is a 5-tool player in
the 30-30 club this season and Prince Fielder has also had an MVP-like season.
In game 161, he hit 3 home runs against the Pirates. Can Fielder continue the
hot hitting into the playoffs? Look's likely.
The question is, if the Milwaukee pitching can hold up in this series, they
should do very well here.
Phillies vs. Cardinals
Competitive and confident
The Cardinals come into this series as a heavy MLB betting dog at +245. The Phillies were
expected to win everything at the beginning of the season but the Cardinals are
thinking otherwise. Anything is possible, as you saw the Cardinals erase a
large deficit to overtake the Atlanta braves for the NL Wild Card spot.
Albert Pujols got his competitive edge and swing back and Lance Berkman has revived
his career in St. Louis. So much, that he's a possible NL MVP candidate. Just
like Kennedy, NY wasn't the place for Berkman. Can the Cardinals pull of
another unthinkable task in defeating the "Fightin Phils"? Some say
Philly sweep, I say competitive series.
Just like the Brewers, a lot will depend on the Cardinals pitching.
Unfortunately for St. Louis, they don't have home field advantage and are going
up a much better team.
As I've mentioned plenty of times before, the Phillies are expected to win it
all. Especially after the less talented Giants took the title last year and
shocked the world.
I don't know if Philadelphia is holding up that good of a hand but they're at
least holding 2 aces and 2 jacks. At one point in his career, Roy Oswalt was a
king or an ace, but at this point, he's a solid major league pitcher. Cole
Hamels (14-9, 2.79) doesn't have the talent to be an ace. He's been close to a
king this season, and he's started off strong and has held opposing hitters to just a
Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are stars. Halladay is the main man on the
staff and Lee likes the post-season. This is a team that can go out every
single night and have the confidence to throw a shutout.
The one thing that makes this matchup extra intriguing and also gives the
bettor an opportunity to take the Cards at a decent price are the injuries that
the Phillies have had to endure all season. The starting lineup offensively is
a solid lineup but I don't see any players with the batting capability of Ryan Braun or
Chasing the past
This is something that 2nd baseman Chase Utley hasn't been able to do. He's
been the disappointment of the year for Philadelphia thanks to injuries he's had to endure. Just this last month, Utley has had to recover from a concussion. Most
athletes don't recover too well from a concussion and this is a baseball
player we are talking about.
On the season, Utley's numbers are not even average, as this marks the secon season where Utley's been out and has underperformed. Can the offense put it
together during the playoffs? Philadelphia is overpriced and this will be
Pick - Philadelphia