2010 NLCS Preview and Predictions by Whatifsports.com From WhatIfSports.com image

Phillies Win NLCS in Six-Game Stunner

Cody Ross' rise to the top no match for Phillies

By Ryan Fowler and Mike Schneid, WhatIfSports.com
Update: October 15th, 2010

Please note: This series has been updated to account for the shuffle in the Phillies' and Giants' rotations. If there is a change to either team's rotation or lineups, YOU have the ability to re-simulate any game by clicking on the "Simulate Game" link inside the box score.

We all know, and will be reminded again throughout the NLCS, about the greatness of Roy Halladay and the precision of Roy Oswalt.

Experts and baseball analysts will pound it into your head how prominent the Phillies 1-2-3 punch is on the mound. My 2-year-old nephew knows they are good.

Ruben Amaro Jr.

The dynamic duo acquired in highly publicized trades before and during the season have allowed Ruben Amaro Jr. to enjoy his Monet moment. He, after all, helped created these October masterpieces.

As for San Francisco's late-season transaction, their guy was an afterthought. He was page-2 news on a front page bursting with big names and blockbuster deals that transpired during baseball's 2010 season.

This wasn't Cliff Lee to Seattle or Texas. Brian Cashman doesn't bother with guys making under 5-million dollars. A team wouldn't sacrifice a prospect to gain his services in return. He's not going to throw a no-hitter this October nor steal Derek Jeter's post-season moniker anytime soon.

Maybe you know his name, maybe you don't.

Cody Ross was placed on waivers by the Florida Marlins in late August. A couple days later he was claimed by the Giants whose reported intention was to blockade divisional foe San Diego from adding him rather than bolster their own lineup. San Fran, at the time, really didn't have a place for him in the outfield.

Ross was simply a pawn in the playoff chase chess game out West.

Story continues below

NLCS 1001 Simulations of Best of 7 Series
MatchupWin%4-Games%5-Games%6-Games%7-Games%
San Francisco3136 8 13
Philadelphia691121 2511

Using our MLB simulation engine we "played" the NLCS Best-of-7 series 1001 of times.

In the table above you will find each team's chances of advancing to the World Series and how often they win in 4, 5, 6 or 7 games. As you can see, the most likely scenario is the Phillies beating the Giants in six games 25-percent of the time.

You can view the box scores and summaries of Philadelphia's 6-game series win below.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Cody Ross Bobblehead

This is nothing new for the well-traveled fifth-year veteran who has traded his Dodgers' blues for Cincinnati red and Florida fish all in the same season.

But where it started, is where I started, back in 2003 with the Toledo Mud Hens. Cody played while I interned. Ross was a major part of the Tigers' Triple-A offense that season.

He banged out 135 hits, 20 home runs, 61 ribbies and hit .287 for Toledo earning him a September call-up where he played in six games for the Tigs.

The Mud Hens' fan base truly embraced Cody in '03. He even reached the pinnacle of having the franchise create and promote his bobblehead.

That's respect.

"Cody Ross quickly became a fan favorite during his time in Toledo," public relations director and Mud Hens' broadcaster Jason Griffin said. "It was evident very early that he was destined to be a quality major leaguer. It is fun to watch him do well in the playoffs."

We fast-forward seven years, past the trades for players to be named and get over the Giants' chess match with the Padres and focus on what Ross has meant to this San Fran team five games in to the post-season.

Batting 8th in Game 1 of the NLDS, he reached base twice and collected one of only five Giants' hits. It proved to be a big one because his single to left drove in the only run of the game.

Cody Ross

Then in Game 4, when Derek Lowe once again looked unhittable, Ross provided the offensive punch his team needed. Trailing 1-0 in the 6th, the guy hitting before the pitcher smacked a solo shot to left to tie the game at one.

Ross wasn't done.

An inning later, after the Giants rallied to tie the game at 3, Ross delivered again with a single scoring the go-ahead and eventual game-winning run.

Talk about your pawn stars.

It should be noted the Marlins were interested in keeping Ross, but the front office was engrossed in promoting outfielder Cameron Maybin to get him some playing time when the rosters expanded.

So, in a way, Ross has Maybin to thank for his opportunity this October.

And, in a weird twist, Ross and Maybin both have the Tigers to thank for drafting them.

It's transactional irony worthy of the front page.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Below is a game-by-game summary and related box score of our simulation's predicted results.

Game 1 NLCS
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Giants140Boxscore
Phillies580Simulate Game
WP: Roy Halladay LP: Tim Lincecum
Player of the Game: Roy Halladay - 9 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7 K
Roy Halladay

Roy Halladay, fresh off his no-hitter of the Cincinnati Reds in Game 1 of the NLDS, went the distance for the victory but lost the no-no early to his counterpart, Tim Lincecum. Halladay allowed 1 run on 4 hits while striking out 7. Lincecum suffered the loss in going the distance, allowing 5 runs on 8 hits and 3 walks.

Chase Utley and Ryan Howard each collected 2 hits, including a 2-run blast by Utley in the 3rd inning.

Game 2 NLCS
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Giants171Boxscore
Phillies480Simulate Game
WP: Roy Oswalt LP: Jonathan Sanchez SV: Brad Lidge
Player of the Game: Roy Oswalt - 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 K
NLCS Boppers
Player HRs in NLCS (Avg.)
Burrell 1.3
Howard 1.2
Werth 1.0
Burrell has the best chance of a NLCS HR

Jonathan Sanchez struggled with his command, issuing 7 walks and allowing 3 runs on 5 hits in 5.1 innings. The game was tied 1-1, but the Giants took the lead on a Carlos Ruiz single and a pinch-hit sac fly by veteran Mike Sweeney.

Roy Oswalt earned the win allowing only one run in 6 innings. The Phillies bullpen combined for 3 shutout innings with Brad Lidge earning the save.


Game 3 NLCS
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Phillies160Simulate Game
Giants461Boxscore
WP: Matt Cain LP: Cole Hamels
Player of the Game: Matt Cain - 9 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 6 K
Matt Cain

Like in Game 1, the bullpen doors remained closed. Matt Cain gave up 6 hits and 1 run in a complete game effort to get the Giants back into the series.

The Giants got on the board early and never looked back. In the 2nd inning, Pablo Sandoval hit an RBI double and then veteran Cody Ross followed with a 3-run homerun to put the Giants up 4-0. Cole Hamels would cruise from that point, only allowing 2 more hits and finishing with 10 strikeouts.

Game 4 NLCS
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Phillies9141Simulate Game
Giants6131Boxscore
WP: Joe Blanton LP: Madison Bumgarner SV: Brad Lidge (2)
Player of the Game: Jayson Werth - 1-4, HR, 3 RBI
NLCS Top BA
Player BA in NLCS (Avg.)
Ruiz .305
Polanco .304
Werth .301
The Phillies' line-up has some pop vs SF

Both teams' offenses came alive in Game 4, combining for 15 runs and 27 hits. The Phillies win the game 9-6 thanks to four runs in the 7th off the usually reliable Sergio Romo.

Joe Blanton, a last minute addition to the Phil's LCS rotation, was efficient and effective in 6 innings. Brad Lidge came on to close things down and picked up his 2nd save of the series.


Game 5 NLCS
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Phillies481Simulate Game
Giants5120Boxscore
WP: Brian Wilson LP: Chad Durbin
Player of the Game: Nate Schierholtz - GW single
NLCS Top ERA
Player ERA in NLCS (Avg.)
Oswalt 2.80
Halladay 3.48
Sanchez 4.67

Game 5 would not be a sequel to the Game 1 pitcher's duel.

While Halladay and Lincecum were both solid, it was a Jimmy Rollins' error that cost the Phils' 2 runs and handed the Giants' a victory.

The Phillies roared back in the back to tie it in the 8th thanks to a 2-run double by Chase Utley. But the Giants won it in the bottom of the 9th thanks to 3 straight hits off reliever Chad Durbin. A Nate Schierholtz single followed a Burrell base knock and Renteria double sent the Giants' fans home happy.

Game 6 NLCS
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Giants252Boxscore
Phillies3100Simulate Game
WP: Ryan Madson LP: Javier Lopez SV: Brad Lidge (3)
Player of the Game: Chase Utley - 2-4, HR (2), 2 RBI
Placido Polanco

This game fit right in with the theme of the series - pitching. The starting pitchers took shutouts into the 8th inning before either team could muster a run.

Roy Oswalt loaded the bases in the 8th inning and was pulled after a Freddy Sanchez single scored the game's first run. J.C. Romero entered and forced in a run with a walk to Aubrey Huff. Ryan Madson avoided further damage, but the Giants had taken a 2-0 lead.

It was then up to Bruce Bochy's bullpen. The Giants were six outs away from forcing a Game 7.

Sergio Romo entered and got Victorino to ground out. Following a Polanco single, Chase Utley smacked a 2 run homerun off Romo and just like that this game was tied. The Philly fans, waving their white towels, got back into it as well.

Romo was pulled for lefty specialist Javier Lopez, who immediately gave up a single to Ryan Howard. Ben Francisco came in to pinch run and stole second. A rare, erratic throw from Buster Posey allowed Francisco to take 3rd, 90 feet away from giving Philly a lead.

Following a Jayson Werth groundout, Jimmy Rollins doubled into right field and the Phillies took a 3-2 lead.

Brad Lidge came on for the third time this series and made things interesting, giving up a 2-out double to Nate Schierholtz. But he struck out Mike Fontenot and the celebration began.

The 2010 Philadelphia Phillies head to the World Series with a 4-2 series win over the San Francisco Giants.

Check out the ALCS preview from WhatIfSports.com.

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Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for Whatifsports.com. He can be reached at rfowler@whatifsports.com.

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