The last time Roy Halladay took the mound in a playoff game he was pitching in the Colorado High School 5A State Tournament for the Arvada West Wildcats. That was 1995 and also the same year that the Cincinnati Reds last reached the playoffs.
It’s hard to say who is more eager for the clock to strike 5:07 p.m. ET on Wednesday when first pitch is schedule in Game 1, Halladay a 15-year veteran without a sniff of the playoffs, or the Cincinnati fan base, who have not seen playoff baseball since being swept by the Atlanta Braves in 1995 NLCS.
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It’s not hard to say who the favorite is. The Phillies are favored to win an unprecedented third consecutive NL pennant and they are the favorite to win the World Series while the Reds are the biggest longshot.
The Phillies (97-65) finished the season winning 19 of 24 games while the Reds (91-71) were 12-12 over their last 24. The Reds were swept in Philadelphia in a four-game series back in July, but Cincinnati lost the four games by a combined five runs, including two 1-0 losses. In Cincinnati in June the Reds took two of three from the Phillies.
The series starts Wednesday in Philadelphia with Game 2 scheduled for Friday at 6:07 p.m. ET in Philadelphia before the series shifts to Cincinnati on Sunday and Monday for Games 3 and 4. A deciding Game 5, if necessary, will be in Philadelphia on Wednesday Oct. 13.
Game 1: Edinson Volquez (RHP, 4-3, 4.31 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (RHP, 21-10, 2.44 ERA)
Game 2: Bronson Arroyo (RHP, 17-10 3.88 ERA) vs. Roy Oswalt (RHP, 13-13 2.76 ERA)
Game 3: Cole Hamels (LHP, 12-11 3.06 ERA) vs. Johnny Cueto (RHP, 12-7 3.64 ERA)
Dusty Baker is sticking with all right-handed starting pitching for this series, a controversial decision considering the left-handed power hitting Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez, as well as switch hitters Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino, who both excel from the left side. The decision is also controversial because it omits rookie phenom Tim Wood. Baker wants to keep Wood away from hostile away crowds and save him as a bullpen complement to Aroldis Chapman and Arthur Rhodes.
Volquez is one of the freshest pitchers in the postseason. He only made 12 starts in the regular season after serving a 50-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy. He is 2-0 with a 0.73 ERA vs. the Phillies and 1-1 with a 1.95 ERA in four starts since returning to the Cincinnati rotation. He has pitched 62 innings this season compared to Halladay’s league-leading 250 2/3 innings.
Arroyo is 1-5 with a 5.54 ERA vs. the Phillies, but Baker wants the slow-throwing veteran Arroyo in the rotation sandwiched between the flame throwing Volquez and Cueto. Arroyo is the lone Cincinnati starter with playoff experience. Oswalt has dominated the Reds. He is 23-3 with a 2.81 ERA against them in 34 career starters. Hamels’ numbers are just as impressive against the Reds. He is 6-0 with a 1.07 ERA in his career against Cincinnati.
Phillies vs. Reds Series Odds
The Phillies are by far the biggest favorites in the first round of the playoffs. They are listed at -300 to win the best-of-five series while the Reds are listed at +220 to win the series. In Game 1 the Phillies and Halladay are -210 favorites with the Reds and Volquez priced at +175. Looking further down the road at World Series odds, the Phillies are the favorites to win it all at +225 while the Reds are the biggest longshot at +1600. MLB Playoff odds courtesy of BetUS.
Phillies vs. Reds Betting Trends
Reds are 5-2 in their last seven games after an off day
Reds are 2-8 in their last 10 road games vs. a right-handed starter
Phillies are 12-1 in their last 13 playoff games as a favorite
Phillies are 12-3 in their last 15 playoff home games
‘Under’ is 4-1 in the last five meetings between Cincinnati and Philadelphia
Reds are 0-6 in their last six games in Philadelphia
Reds vs. Phillies Predictions and Series Baseball Picks
The Reds have the bats and the pitching to steal a game against the Phillies. Look for Volquez and the Reds to spring an upset in Game 1 at Philadelphia, but this Phillies team is far too seasoned in the playoffs to lose three games to the Reds when it counts the most. Cincinnati has had the NL Central clinched for some time while the Phillies were playing meaningful baseball for nearly the entire season. That will make the transition even tougher for a Cincinnati team with extremely limited playoff experience on its roster. Philadelphia wins the series in four games.
Jason Sharpe is the newest member of Doc’s Sports Advisory Board, but he is not new to the sports betting scene, as he has made a living in Las Vegas for several years betting sports as a Wise Guy. For his baseball picks has compiled five of seven nights entering the postseason. If you are interested in baseball betting, this is one guy you don’t want to miss. Also, check Doc’s Sports homepage each day for exclusive baseball betting articles, current baseball lines and matchup reports to boot!