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NLDS Game 3 Recap: Phillies finish off Reds and are NLCS bound- AGAIN!

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Cincinnati Reds logo: http://metsreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Reds.gif

Philadelphia Phillies logo: http://www.wondergy.com/art/logos/phillies_logo.gif

It would have been awful hard to match the excitement of Games 1 and 2 of the 2010 NLDS, so just the fact that the Phillies  quietly pulled off a 2-0 victory for a three-game sweep of the Reds to advance to their third consecutive NLCS was just fine. The NLCS starts next Saturday, but let's recap Game 3 first.

The good:

Cole Hamels- Hamels was vintage Hamels (if you can even call it that considering how young he is). Pitching a five-hit shutout and striking out Scott Rolen to end the game was truly a beautiful thing. Hamels is currently erasing all thoughts of his disastrous 2009 season. This was a big game, and like I said, Hamels stepped up big-time. I must admit, I was extremely hard on Hamels due to what seemed his general indifference in regards to 2009, but he is winning me over with ever quality start- and lately there have been many.

Chase Utley- It was nice to see one of the Phils finally break the NLCS home run drought tonight. It was also nice to know that Utley's hand isn't bothering him from that Aroldis Chapman beaning Friday night (insert joke here)........

The not so good:

The Phillies offense- The Fightins only managed only one earned run off Johnny Cueto. The Phillies no longer bash their way to victories, but the hitting MUST improve in the NLCS.

The intriguing:

Aroldis Chapman- Of course I don't have to face him, but Aroldis Chapman is really fun to watch. Barring injury, he will be around for a long time. The Reds really don't know what their plans are for Chapman just yet. I don't see them making him a starter, but as a closer.......ouch.

Bottom Line: The Reds are the best offensive team in the National League, so it was great to see the Phils get two out of three quality starts from their rotation this series. That is an encouraging sign for the NLCS. The Reds are a good team, and a few pieces here and there and they will probably be back in the playoffs next year. IF the Phillies go on to play the Giants next Saturday, the pitching won't get any easier, so their offense HAS to step up. This would be an extremely tight series, and chances are the winner will be the team who can squeeze out just enough offense to pull out a victory. Celebrate for now Phillies fans- We deserve it!!!!

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com