Making a case for both teams

Posted: October 06, 2010

OVERCONFIDENCE IS flowing loose and free, even in this glass half-empty city. Phillies fans are giddily enjoying this - the best team in franchise history - and maybe even finalizing their parade-day plans.

Of course, there is some baseball to be played, and a fairly decent opponent awaiting.

There are good reasons for all this faith in the Phillies.

Here are 5 reasons the Phillies will defeat the Reds in the NL Division Series:

1. Starting pitching. Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels are the best three starting pitchers in the same rotation the Phillies have ever enjoyed. No rotation in baseball this year is any better. Phillies fans have waited a lifetime - heck, longer than that - to have such a pitching arsenal.

2. Bullpen. Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson have been tremendous. If they continue their brilliance, the Reds will be in deep trouble.

3. Jimmy Rollins. The shortstop thrives in big games, big moments. Expect that enthusiasm to get the Phillies' offense off to a flying start.

4. Someone will step up. Slumps happen. Over 162 games, you are what you are. In a five-game series, a team with as many bats as the Phillies can endure a slump or two and still have someone carry the mail.

5. Bright lights, big city. The Reds haven't been to the playoffs since 1995. It might be easy for the Reds to be satisfied getting here, especially if the Phillies jump on them in Game 1.

Here are five reasons the Reds will win:

1. Brandon Phillips shows up. The Reds second baseman was a no-show when the Phillies swept Cincy in a four-game series in July. He was 1-for-19 in a hitter's park, with zero home runs and zero RBI. The Reds rely on Phillips to get the offense rolling.

2. The Reds really pound the ball. Cincy led the NL in batting average, home runs and RBI. If they get a piece of the Phillies' starters, this series will have an entirely different feel.

3. Grumpy Scott Rolen. Once a Phillies hero, the third baseman has bounced around some after worming his way out of here. He has his ring, with the Cardinals, so he knows what it takes. He had 20 homers and 83 RBI this season and if he gets on a hot streak, he can carry the Reds.

4. Win Game 1. Say the Reds take the first game. Say they beat Roy Halladay along the way. Tomorrow is an off-day, and it will be a long 49 hours between first pitches of the two games. Too much time to think - for both teams. Right now, the Reds think they can win the series. If they take Game 1, they will know they can win.

5. Upsets do happen. In 2009, the Cardinals were the runaway favorites and they were swept by the Dodgers. In 2008, the Angels won 100 games and were considered all but unbeatable. The Red Sox took them out in four games. *

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