Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I don’t know much about the Colorado Rockies. I’ve often been semi-sympathetic to the baseball writers’ bias toward east coast players for significant post-season awards- just because I know it is difficult to follow players who play a lot of games when I’m asleep. And baseball is like that, it is the sustained exposure- night after night on the “early” Baseball Tonight and the NY Post’s morning box scores- that familiarize you with players and teams.

So I am going to forego a sustained analysis- if anything I think this is a series can be overthought. The Rockies seem to be similar to the Phillies- but the Phillies mix in some good line-up speed with their long-ball prowess. Obviously both clubs hit a ton. But no team in baseball probably benefits more from the shortening of bullpens and the starting rotation than the Phillies. Philadelphia had a bad ‘pen most for the year- but for a month now they’ve quietly had three relievers who cover the three key-roles: left handed situational guy, set-up and the hammer. All three can get three outs.

And no more Eaton, Garcia or Leiber! No more cringing two, three times a week when the Phillies starting pitcher strolls down the third-base line pre-game. The Phillies are only carrying ten pitchers- dropping Eaton entirely, opting for a third catcher- which means both they are confident in the pitching they are carrying and frees them up to use Coste as a free extra move as a bat anytime they want.

So, I'm optimistic about this spot. Best-of-5 is never a sure thing- but both I and Vegas think Philadelphia will win today. Spotting a team a game in an abbreviated series is a sure recipe for trouble- which means the Phillies got a very good chance to advance if Hamels pitches to expectation.