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Better Know a Playoff Team: Philadelphia Phillies of Philadelphia


Here are three facts about the Phillies, who finished the season at 93-69 to win the NL East by six games.  Two of these things are true, but one is a falsehood!  Which one say you?

1. With 119 stolen bases in 147 attempts, the Phillies topped the 80% SB success rate for the third year in a row.

2. They led the NL with 224 HRs.

3. They have the worst bullpen ERA of the four NL playoff teams.

The answer is no. 3.  The Phillies' bullpen in 2009 was not nearly as strong as last year's, when Brad Lidge had his "perfect" season and setup men Ryan Madson and JC Romero were unhittable down the stretch.  With a 3.91 ERA the Philadelphia bullpen is well behind the Dodgers and Cardinals, among others (including us!).  Colorado, however, had a considerably worse bullpen ERA.  Some dramatic finishes could be in store.

Some other tidbits about the upcoming NLDS:

- The teams are generally an even match.  Philly won 93 games, Colorado won 92.  They have the same pythag record as well.

- Philadelphia has a significant matchup advantage, however.  Their top two starters are lefties, which gave Colorado fits this year.  Meanwhile, the Rockies will throw out righties in the first two games, which should play to the advantage of Philly's lefty-heavy lineup.  Crashburn Alley breaks down the splits in detail. 

- The series will showcase two of the most offensive-friendly stadia in baseball.  That along with the aforementioned bullpens and superb offenses (top two OPSs in the NL) should lead to relatively high scoring games, though that won't stop the broadcasters from dutifully reminding us that you have to manufacture runs in the playoffs. 

- Additionally, there may be some particularly gutsy gusty weather in game 1.  As the article mentions, the sun may also be an issue for RFs Jayson Werth and Brad Hawpe.  A poor outfielder to begin with, teh Hawpe may have some real difficulties on his hands.