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Phillies-Rockies NLDS Playoff Preview: The Rematch


This NLDS playoff matchup features a rematch between the Phillies and Rockies, who faced off in the 2007 NLDS. It was the Phillies' first playoff appearance since their fabled run in 1993, and it ended quicker than Mike Jackson's second go-around with the Phillies.

In terms of raw stats, both teams are evenly matched on offense, defense, and pitching.

The Phillies were 8th in the majors with a team ERA of 4.16 and the Rockies were 10th with a 4.22. Opponents batted .265 against the Fightins and .261 against the Rockies. They were both pretty even in strikeouts.

This time the Phillies are much stronger than the the 2007 version- despite having the achilles heel in the form of a bullpen in shambles.

But, the Phillies have two frontline starting pitchers in Cliff Lee (game one starter) and Cole Hamels. And, Joe Blanton isn't too shabby as a number three. The Phils also catch a break with Jorge De La Rosa being kept off the Rockies' NLDS roster. De La Rosa, who suffered a groin strain, will not pitch at all this series. This is a huge blow to the Rockies, considering he was their best pitcher over the final four months of the 2009 campaign. De La Rosa went 16-9 with a 4.38 ERA and 193 K's this season and was deadlier than the bubonic plague down the stretch (4-0 with 37 k's in September) prior to his injury. This means Ubaldo Jiminez and Jason Marquis are now their number one and number two starters, with an untested Jason Hammel serving as the number three.

Offensively, both teams are evenly matched in terms of run output. The Phils were 4th in the majors 820 runs, while the Rockies were 6th overall with 804. Both teams are fairly even in batting, but the edge in homeruns clearly goes to the Fightins who had 224 to 190. Not to mention, the Phillies have much more star power than their western counterparts.

Todd Helton regained his form of a few years back and hit over .300. Troy Tulowitzki also had a great year. Brad Hawpe is a nice player, but beyond that is there much to get excited about with the Rockies?

The Phillies' 4th and 5th best players are arguably better than anybody on the Rockies. Victorino and Werth had breakout seasons and help the Phils in multiple ways at the plate, on the base paths, and in the field.

Howard, Utley, Rollins, Victorino, Werth, and Ibanez are as solid as a 1-6 as you'll get. They can hang with anybody in the bigs.

The Phils were second to last in the majors with just 76 errors and the Rockies weren't far behind with just 87 errors (tied for 21st).

The one area where the Rockies have a leg up on the Phils is at the closer position. And if you go on regular season stats alone, pretty much any team in the league has a better closer than Brad Lidge. You can't get any worse than a 7-plus ERA. He led the league in blown saves, and any doctor would advise someone with heart disease to turn the TV off when he takes the mound.

Despite the Phillies' obvious shortcoming, Huston Street isn't going to help the Rockies by himself. The Phillies have a big edge with starting pitching and on offense (despite the regular season numbers).

Philadelphia is also battle tested. Their studs won the big one unlike the Rockies, who went down in flames against the Red Sox.

The Rockies will give the Phillies fits if they can shut down their big bats and keep the games in the 3-2 and 4-3 range. While that's a possibility, it's unlikely. The Phillies have superior starting pitching and offensive firepower. Look for the Phillies' starting pitching to triumph over the Rockies' mediocre staff.

Final prediction: Phillies in 4 games