As part of our MLB Postseason coverage, Joel Luckhaupt from SB Nation's Cincinnati Reds blog, Red Reporter, examines why the Reds, the N.L. Central champions, will beat the Phillies in the NLDS. And then details why they'll lose.
Why they will win:
Perhaps the biggest thing that the Reds have going for them is that they are being underestimated. They aren't a great team by any stretch, but they do a couple of things really well that may help in a short series. For one, they are a very good defensive team, with only one weak link in Jonny Gomes in left field. Their defense can keep games close which gives the team a chance to win with some timely hitting.
On the offensive side, the Reds are very aggressive on the base paths. If they can avoid running into outs (a known side effect to their aggressive style of play), they can put themselves in position to eek out a win here or there. With the Phillies incredible starting pitching, it is unlikely that the Reds will win any games by blowout, but if they can keep it close, they aren't intimidated by coming from behind -- something they've done 45 times this year.
Why they will lose:
The Reds don't have the pitching to match the Phillies, especially in the starting rotation. If the offense sputters against Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels, they may not get to the Phillies bullpen, which is their best shot at winning. On the flip side, it's unlikely that the Reds starters will be able to match zeros on the scoreboard if the Phillies are shutting down the Reds offense. The Reds starting pitching is solid, but no one expects that they'll blank a good Phillies lineup completely. The key for the Reds may ultimately be if Brandon Phillips and Orlando Cabrera are getting on base for Joey Votto and Scott Rolen. If the first two hitters aren't getting on, then it could be a short, quiet series for the Reds.