The Colorado Rockies vs. the Philadelphia Phillies

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,The Playoffs by chinmusic on Wednesday 3 October 2007 at 11:43 am

This will be an outstanding matchup between the two hottest teams in baseball.  The Rockies won 15 of their last 16 games including a miraculous comeback victory over Trevor Hoffman in a one game playoff on Monday!  The Phillies won 13 of their last 17 games to overcome a 7.5 game deficit to the New York Mets to win the N.L. East.  This series also matches up the two best offensive teams that made the playoffs.  Here’s a closer look at the matchups in this series:

CATCHER:  The Rockies wanted rookie Chris Ianetta to win the starting job in Spring Training but he struggled and lost the starting job to Yorvit Torrealba.  Torrealba is a decent hitter but his main job for the Rockies is to handle the pitching staff and he has done a great job at that.  He played in 113 games this season and he was 101 for 396 (.255 avg, .708 OPS) with 47 runs scored, 8 homers and 47 RBIs.  Carlos Ruiz won a battle in Spring Training for the catcher job on the Phillies with veteran Rod Barajas.  Ruiz had a very solid season as he played in 115 games and he was 97 for 374 (.259 avg, .736 OPS) with 42 runs scored, 6 homers and 54 RBIs.  EDGE: EVEN

FIRST BASE:  Todd Helton isn’t the power hitter he used to be but he’s still very effective.  He played in 154 games this season and he was 178 for 557 (.320 avg, .928 OPS) with 86 runs scored, 17 homers and 91 RBIs.  Helton also is a very solid defensive player.  Ryan Howard is a absolute beast with the Phillies.  He played in 144 games this season and he was 142 for 529 (.268 avg, .976 OPS) with 94 runs scored, 47 homers and 136 RBIs.  His only downfall is his whiffs as he set an all time major league record with 199…..but that’s nitpicking!   EDGE:  PHILLIES

SECOND BASE:  The Rockies have been pleased with Kazuo Matsui since they saved him from the Mets.  He gives the Rockies a dimension of speed at the top of the batting order.  He played in 104 games this season and he was 118 for 410 (.288 avg, .747 OPS) with 84 runs scored, 4 homers, 37 RBIs and 32 stolen bases.  The Phillies boast having the best 2B in all of baseball in Chase Utley.  Utley played in 132 games this season and he was 176 of 530 (.332 avg, .976 OPS) with 104 runs scored, 22 homers and 103 RBIs.  EDGE:  PHILLIES

SHORTSTOP:  Troy Tulowitzki had an incredible rookie season as he helped drive the Rockies to the playoffs.  He played in 155 games this season with the Rockies and he was 177 of 609 (.291 avg, .838 OPS) with 104 runs scored, 24 homers and 99 RBIs.  He also is a solid defender.  Jimmy Rollins is probably the MVP of the National League because he was dominating this season.  Rollins played in all 162 games with the Phillies and he was 212 of 716 (.296 avg, .865 OPS) with 139 runs scored, 30 homers, 94 RBIs and 41 stolen bases.  EDGE:  SLIGHT FOR PHILLIES

THIRD BASE:  Garrett Atkins is one of the best kept secrets on the Rockies as he keeps putting up big numbers.  Atkins played in 157 games this season and he was 182 of 605 (.301 avg, .853 OPS) with 83 runs scored, 25 homers and 111 RBIs.  The Phillies threw a lot of money to Wes Helms to start at 3B but he pretty much lost the job to Greg Dobbs who made the team as the 25th man on the roster out of Spring Training.  Dobbs brings a solid lefty bat to the lineup for the Phillies.  He played in 142 games for the Phillies this season and he was 88 of 324 (.272 avg, .781 OPS) with 45 runs scored, 10 homers and 55 RBIs.  EDGE:  ROCKIES

LEFT FIELD:  Matt Holliday is Jimmy Rollins likely top competitor for the N.L. MVP Award and he should win it.  Holliday played in 158 games this season for the Rockies and he was 216 for 636 (.340 avg, 1.052 OPS) with 120 runs scored, 36 homers and 137 RBIs.  His batting average and RBIs both led the National League.  Pat Burrell had a horrible first half of the season but he was awesome after the All-Star Break.  Burrell played in 155 games this season for the Phillies and he was 121 of 472 (.256 avg, .902 OPS) with 77 runs scored, 30 homers and 97 RBIs.  EDGE:  ROCKIES

CENTER FIELD:  Ryan Spilboroghs will start in center field for the Rockies in this series due to Willy Taveras’ quad injury.  Spilboroghs is a good hitter but he’s no where near the defender that Taveras is.  He played in 97 games this season and he was 79 for 264 (.299 avg, .848 OPS) with 40 runs scored, 11 homers and 51 RBIs.  Aaron Rowand had a career year in his free agent walk year and the Phillies hope he can keep up the good work for 4 more weeks.  Rowand played in 161 games this season and he was 189 of 612 (.309 avg, .889 OPS) with 105 runs scored, 27 homers and 89 RBIs.  He also is an outstanding defender that loves to get dirty.  EDGE:  PHILLIES

RIGHT FIELD:  Brad Hawpe had a breakout season for the Rockies this year.  He played in 152 games and he was 150 for 516 (.291 avg, .926 OPS) with 80 runs scored, 29 homers and 116 RBIs.  Hawpe is the silent assassin in the Rockies lineup.  Shane Victorino played well in his first real season as a starter.  He played in 131 games this season and he was 128 of 456 (.281 avg, .770 OPS) with 78 runs scored, 12 homers, 46 RBIs and 37 stolen bases.  EDGE: ROCKIES

STARTING PITCHING:  The Rockies are pretty young in the rotation and it will be interesting to see if they are intimidated or not by pitching in the playoffs.  Young lefty Jeff Francis had a true breakout season as he was 17-9 with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP this year.  He had problems pitching against the Phillies this season but the Rockies will be in good shape if he looks good in Game #1.  21-year old lefty Franklin Morales has outstanding stuff but he has only started 8 games in his major league career.  He was 3-2 with a 3.43 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP with the Rockies this season.  23 year old righty Ubaldo Jimenez also has outstanding stuff but his results have been so-so.  In 15 starts this season Jimenez was 4-4 with a 4.28 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.  Josh Fogg will be the #4 guy in the rotation for the Rockies.  He was 10-9 with a 4.94 ERA this season.  The Phillies will use Cole Hamels as the #1 starter in the rotation and he enjoyed a breakout season.  In 28 starts this year Hamels was 15-5 with a 3.39 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP.  Look for the Phillies to be tempted to stretch him out a little bit as he is coming off an injury.  Rookie Kyle Kendrick will be pitching in game #2 and he came out of nowhere to help save the Phillies pitching staff that was ransacked by injuries in the middle of the season.  He started 20 games this season for the Phillies and he was 10-4 with a 3.87 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP.  Kyle Lohse will be pitching in game #3 and he had a so-so season in 2007.  In 34 games (32 starts) with the Phillies & Reds, he was 9-12 with a 4.62 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP.  Veteran lefty Jamie Moyer will fill out the Phillies starting rotation.  The crafty lefty started 33 games this season for the Phillies and he was 14-12 with a 5.01 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP.  EDGE:  EVEN

BULLPEN:  The Rockies have a pretty deep bullpen that will likely give them an advantage over the Phillies.  Closer Manny Corpas stepped up when Brian Fuentes was injured early in the season and he didn’t give the job back.  He pitched in 78 games this season and he was 4-2 with 19 saves, a 2.08 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP.  Lefty Brian Fuentes is also a very solid pitcher late in games and lefty hitters usually don’t have much of a prayer against him because he releases the ball way behind their backs.  He pitched in 64 games this season and he was 3-5 with 20 saves, a 3.08 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.  LaTroy Hawkins turned in a solid effort in a setup role this season as he worked in 62 games and was 2-5 with a 3.42 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP.  Lefty Jeremy Affeldt was a career underachiever until this season when he was very solid.  He pitched in 75 games this season and he was 4-3 with a 3.51 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP.  The Rockies saved Matt Herges from the junk heap and he has earned his way onto the playoff roster with the way he pitched this season.  Herges pitched in 35 games this season for the Rockies and he was 5-1 with a 2.96 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP.  The Phillies will likely hope that the starters can get deep into games because the Phillies only really trust three of their relievers.  The Phillies have been really pleased with Brett Myers who took over as the closer when Tom Gordon was injured early in the season.  Myers pitched in 48 games as a reliever and he was 5-5 with 21 saves, a 2.87 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.  He has worked 53.1 innings as a reliever this season and he allowed 46 hits, walked 18 batters and whiffed 64.  Tom Gordon is now the setup man for the Phillies and he had a rough season.  He worked in 44 games this season and he was 3-2 with 6 saves, a 4.73 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP.  Lefty J.C. Romero was outstanding for the Phillies this season after the Red Sox let him go early in the year.  Romero pitched in 51 games with the Phillies this season and he was 1-2 with a 1.24 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.  EDGE: ROCKIES

BENCH:  The Rockies bench is kind of weak right now.  Outfielder Corey Sullivan is probably the #1 pinch hitter off the bench for the Rockies.  He played in 72 games and he was 40 for 140 (.286 avg, .722 OPS) with 19 runs scored, 2 homers and 14 RBIs.  Jamey Carroll had an off year as he played in 108 games and was 51 for 227 (.225 avg, .617 OPS) with 45 runs, 2 homers and 22 RBIs.  Reserve catcher Chris Iannetta had a tough season with the bat as he played in 67 games and was 43 for 197 (.218 avg, .680 OPS) with 22 runs scored, 4 homers and 27 RBIs.  The Phillies have quite a few weapons on the bench.  Wes Helms was brought in to start at 3B but he lost the job.  He played in 112 games this season and he was 69 for 280 (.246 avg, .615 OPS).  Jason Werth was the #4 outfielder for the Phillies this season and he had a great year.  He played in 94 games for the Phillies this season and he was 76 for 255 (.298 avg, .864 OPS) with 43 runs scored, 8 homers and 49 RBIs.  Tadahito Iguchi was outstanding after his arrival in a trade with the White Sox after Chase Utley broke his hand.  Iguchi played in 45 games with the Phillies and he was 42 for 138 (.304 avg, .803 OPS) with 22 runs scored, 3 homers, 12 RBIs and 6 stolen bases.  Chris Coste and Rod Barajas will also provide some pinch hitting as reserve catchers.  Coste played in 48 games this season and he was 36 for 129 (.279 avg, .730 OPS) with 15 runs scored, 5 homers and 22 RBIs.  Barajas played in 48 games also and he hit .230 (.745 OPS) with 16 runs scored, 4 homers and 10 RBIs.  EDGE:  PHILLIES

PREDICITION:  Although the Rockies are smoking hot coming into the playoffs I would be a fool not to also acknowledge the play of the Phillies down the stretch.  I like the Phillies to win this series in 5 games as the teams are pretty evenly matched.  I do think the Rockies can surprise though especially if Francis pitches good enough that they win Game #1.

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