Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Phillies-Brewers Playoff Preview

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It starts with the Phillies-Brewers at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies throw Cole Hamels while the Brewers throw some guy I've never heard of name Gallardo. C.C. Sabathia goes tomorrow.

The Phils must score early and put pressure on Gallardo plus they'll pour gasoline on an already fired-up crowd. Rollins has to set the table by getting on base, he's got to be selective and draw walks if he can. Werth has to be selective as well, he's a free-swinger with power but he's also the number two hitter and he can't take the bat out of Utley's hands.

Speaking of Utley, Chase had a year that most players would kill for but it was not a great Chase Utley year. His stroke is off. If he gets hot in the playoffs, the Phillies will be tough. Which brings us to the guy who has been smoking hot over the last month--MVP front-runner Ryan Howard. Howard got his swing back and has been the driver for the late stretch. He's been an all-around better hitter because he's swinging at better pitches and laying off the junk that was his bane in the early going. He scorched the ball in September (.852 slugging percentage) and was the catalyst for the late drive to secure their second straight division title.

Further down the order, the Phils need Shane Victorino on base. His speed is an asset that has paid huge dividends this year and made the front office look pretty damn smart after allowing fan favorite Aaron Rowand to get away to San Francisco. Victorino has proven beyond a doubt that he is a big league ball player.

Jamie Moyer. Moyer is amazing and more than one great hitter has walked away from the plate shaking his head in wonder. Get six strong from Moyer and then hope Madsen, Durbin and/or Romero can get you to newly-minted Comeback Player of the Year Brad Lidge to close it out.

BTW, check out John Gonzalez' take on Milwaukee including this:

Philly has always been able to work up animosity for other cities. Dallas, New York, Boston - pick the place, we can detest it. But how do you dislike Milwaukee? Milwaukee is the awkward home schooled kid of American Cities. It's the three-legged pound puppy of these United States.

Every conversation that begins with Have you been to Milwaukee? invariably ends with Yes, those poor people.

Not since the Hartford Whalers came to town has hate been this hard. We're going to have to work at it. Maybe these will help:

Bernie Brewer: After Brewers home runs, the mascot used to slide into a mug of beer. Now he slides onto a platform. The PC police have managed to make him even lamer than Mr. Met. No. 57 from's top 100 things to do while in town: "Milk cows at a farm." I'm not making that up.

Socialist politics: Todd Zolecki is from there, bless his heart. He tells me that Milwaukee has elected three socialist mayors over the years. Three. Elect one, and maybe you can explain it by pointing out that the entire city was founded on beer, and the citizenry loves to partake. But three? No hangover excuses that, comrades.
Prediction: Phillies in four.

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