Well it goes to show how tough it can be to predict the MLB playoffs. I had the Phillies in 5 and did not expect a sweep. I did have Arizona, but in 5 games over the Cubs and again did not expect a sweep (I did however nail the ALDS perfectly Red Sox Sweep, Indians in 4).
So here we have two very interesting teams in the NLCS. The Colorado Rockies who for all intensive purposes shouldn’t be playing, but are and the Arizona Diamondbacks who had the best record in the National League at “only” 90 wins, the lowest amount for a 1 seed ever.
Overall I think Colorado has a better offense and the Diamondbacks have better pitching. As it has been shown this post season, you need both to be successful. The Rockies also have better defense and can boast of the fact they took 10 of 18 from the Diamondbacks this season. The two teams are very familiar with each other.
Keys to Winning:
For Colorado its hit early and often, especially in Arizona. Philadelphia’s park plays even better the Coors Field in Denver, so the Rockies were in a very favorable environment. Arizona’s stadium is a pitchers park, so the Rockies need to think about the gap more. I am a firm believer in that series that it was the Phillies lack of hitting, more than the Rockies pitching which turned the tide. The Rockies will have no surprises against the Diamondbacks. To win this series the Rockies need to get offensive. They need to score every chance they get. Their pitching needs to keep it close and they need to field well. As we have seen so far, if hot bats go cold this time of year, your season can end quickly.
For Arizona victory will come with timely hitting (see Indians) and pitching. They will be able to send Brandon Webb two, possibly 3 times in the series and that alone could be enough to tilt it in favor of Arizona. The Rockies lack a stud starter (17 game winner Jeff Francis is not it) and rotation members 2, 3 and 4 are very vulnerable despite pitching well against Philadelphia. Doug Davis and Livan Hernandez and Micah Owings stack up better against an essentially no name Colorado rotation. The fact that Arizona has 4 games at home helps as well. Having the last AB can be very valuable, just ask the Indians or Red Sox.
This series is a classic situation, that Yogia Berra said best “Good Pitching beats Good Hitting and Vice Versa.” If the Rockies hit, they can win, if Arizona pitches well they will win.
But I have a lot of faith in Brandon Webb getting 2 victories and the Diamondbacks taking the series in 6.