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Phillies follow the Yankees’ lead

by Matt Smith

MlbHlSqI raised the prospect of a Phillies-Yankees World Series repeat in my last post and, rightly or not, anything else would be something of a shock now.

Everything seems to be coming together for the Phillies at just the right time.  Their ‘big three’ is fearsome enough, but adding it to their potent batting lineup makes them tough to beat on any given night.

Cole Hamels completed the sweep over the Reds with a complete game shut-out on Sunday after Roy Halladay had started the series with a no-hitter.  Roy Oswalt wasn’t quite as sharp as his rotation-mates in Game Two, lasting just five innings; however, the bullpen and batting lineup will quite happily pick up the slack if the three-headed-ace monster dominates two games out of three.

The Phillies’ stress-free progression will be in contrast to whoever comes out of the other NLDS.

Both the Giants and Braves have their strong points, but they also have their flaws and they have been demonstrated so far in this series.  Poor old Brooks Conrad has been as much use as Bruno Brooks at second base for Atlanta and San Francisco will gladly accept such gifts as he dished out in Game Three.  The Braves need to fight back tonight in Game Four and they have the advantage of experience on the mound with Derek Lowe against Madison Bumgarner.

The Phillies will fancy their chances regardless of who prevails.

It’s the same in the American League.  The Rays beat the Yankees to the AL East title, but Joe Girardi and his team didn’t appear to be too fussed about that.  New York’s Wild Card placement put them on course to face their favourite postseason opponents from recent years and they duly dispatched the Twins in three games.  While the Yankees can take a breather, the Rays and Rangers are locked into a series that will go all the way to a Game Five after the Rays took both games in Texas to level the series at 2-2.

Cliff Lee and David Price will take the mound on Tuesday night and whoever comes out on top, it will be the Yankees who will feel like the real winners as they will have the better of the pitching match-ups with those aces being unavailable in the opening game (or two) of the ALCS.

So, we can pencil-in a Phillies-Yankees World Series again then?  Maybe, but we all know baseball can produce a surprise or two and there will surely be several more to come over the next couple of weeks.

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