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2010 MLB Playoffs: What Can Go Right (And Wrong) For The Phillies

As part of our MLB Postseason coverage, David S. Cohen from SB Nation's Philadelphia Phillies blog, The Good Phight, examines why the Phillies, the N.L. East champions, will beat the Reds in the NLDS. And then details why they'll lose.

Why they will win:

This really doesn't take much complex analysis. The Phillies will start Roy Halladay (165 ERA+ for the season), Roy Oswalt (232 ERA+ as a Phillie), and Cole Hamels (2.23 ERA for the second half) against the Reds ... and no one else. From the bullpen, they'll have the dominant combination of Ryan Madson (1.50 ERA in the second half) and Brad Lidge (2.10 ERA in the second half) to finish up games. They'll back up the pitching with an offense that scored the second most runs in the NL. They have home field advantage and will be playing before packed, intimidating crowds in a stadium where they've been 12-5 over the past three post-seasons. They've played .721 ball (49-19) since July 22 and won the season series against the Reds five games to two, including a four-game sweep in Philadelphia.

Why they will lose:

In 1968, the Cardinals lost 10 of the 34 games Bob Gibson started. In 1985, the Mets lost seven of the 35 games Doc Gooden started. In 1995, the Braves lost six of the 28 games Greg Maddux started. In 1999, the Red Sox lost five of the 31 games Pedro Martinez started. You get the point. Teams lose baseball games even with the best pitchers in baseball on the mound. Halladay, Oswalt, and Hamels guarantee nothing in the postseason. Just ask the Braves fo the 1990s.

Add in the fact that the Phillies scored one run or less this year in 34 games (with a record of 6-28), showing just how impotent the offense can be at times (when almost as healthy as they were at any point in the season, they were swept by the Mets in late May, scoring a total of no runs in three games). In five games, if the hitting goes quiet and the pitching isn't dominant, this team can be beat.