The defending National League Champions, Philadelphia Phillies, play host to the Reds as the NLDS starts tonight. Here are the keys to winning against the team that most pick to win it all!
The Phillies boast the best starting rotation in the playoffs. It is arguably one of the best ever. Between Cy Young winner, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels, the Reds will have their hands full. Going up against a pitching staff that is probably the most intimidating in all of baseball, the Reds are going to need a game plan.
Here are the keys to beating the Big 3, and the Philadelphia Phillies!
- ATTACK FIRST PITCH! The Phillies’ starters are work horses. They pitch deep into games which means they are efficient with their pitches. This means that the Big 3 don’t get behind in the count very often.
The Reds will want to jump on first pitch strikes. Otherwise, a hitter will fall behind and be at the pitcher’s mercy. Not a good place to be. Therefore, forget about working the count. The Reds have a better chance at making solid contact early in the count.
- The Reds’ Starters will need to keep the game as close as possible to allow the bullpen a chance to save it. A quality start is a must.
- Hold the Phillies to 3 runs or fewer. Philly is 24-51 when they score less than 3 runs. In games where they score more than 3 runs, the Phillies are 73-13.
- Establish lead by the sixth inning! The Phillies are 11-44 when trailing after six. They are 10-11 when the game is tied after six. If the Phils have the lead, you’re doomed! Philadelphia is 76-9 when leading after six!
- Score first! The Phils are 64-12 when scoring first and 33-52 when the other teams gets on the board first.
- Late innings are crucial to be tied or have the lead. This is where the Reds can turn the corner. The Phils are vulnerable in the later innings without the lead. With a lead, expect Brad Lidge to turn out the lights. The Phils have only lost a couple times after leading in the eighth all year. They are 81-5 after eighth inning leads.
- Knock out the Starter before the seventh inning. When the Phillies’ starters work more than 6 innings, the Phillies are 66-27. When they pitch just six, they are 15-12. When they pitch less than six, the record is 16-25.
- If the Reds can keep the game close while knocking the Big 3 out prior to the seventh inning, while holding the Phillies to 3 runs or less, and letting the game be won between the bullpens. The Reds will have a chance. Otherwise, it will be a short series!