Dodgers / Phills
And here's David:
The Phillies finished much stronger than the Dodgers. The same story has been told about the Dodgers' strong finish. But the Phillies were 17-8 in September, the same exact record as the Dodgers for the month. And the Phillies were much stronger in the last 16 games. The Phillies finished 13-3, whereas the Dodgers went only 9-7 to finish the season.
Ok, let's dig a little deeper now. Here are some relevant numbers for the final few months of the season.
OPS LAD PHI AUG .783 .716 SEP .815 .793 LDS .787 .798
OPS Allowed LAD PHI AUG .731 .699 SEP .652 .740 LDS .628 .525
Run Differential for August and September RS RA Diff LAD 250 217 33 PHI 253 211 42
Run Differential for September RS RA Diff LAD 135 86 49 PHI 138 111 27
The notion that the Phillies finished stronger or that they are the better team is a difficult case to make when you take in all of the above numbers. Cohen points to the Dodgers 9-7 finish to the season but remember, Philadelphia was playing meaningful games until the very end. The Dodgers had vanquished the Diamondbacks by the time Los Angeles lost three of its last four games.
Going around the diamond, the teams look remarkably similar to me. A lot of the position players seem to cancel each other out, except that the Dodgers enjoy considerable advantages at catcher and in left field, while Philly's first and second basemen provide them a big edge. I think the Dodgers are a bit better to begin with but there is one built-in aspect to this match-up in particular that I think may dictate the series outcome. Pat Burrell and Jayson Werth pound on southpaws but are just .230/.348/.439 and .255/.360/.407 hitters respectively against righties. With the Dodgers' bevy of right-handed power arms lined up, Philly's offensive supporting cast should be neutralized.
I like the Dodgers in six.