We all agree that the Phillies are going to the playoffs. And barring a huge collapse, they're going to finish with the best record in the NL. So, who do we least want them to play in the NLDS? The four options:
San Francisco Giants: The positives to facing the Giants would be that the Phillies just took three of four from them and that San Francisco arguably has the worst offense of these four teams. The negatives, of course, are that the Giants just eliminated the Phillies in last season's NLCS and that they have the best pitching - both starting and relief - of any potential NLDS opponent.
Arizona Diamondbacks: The positives are that the Diamondbacks are the least-experienced potential opponent and the Phillies would have the pitching advantage in every matchup of the series. The negatives are that the D-Backs hit a lot of home runs (130, the most in the NL), though the Phillies have generally been good about not surrendering the longball this year. And the Arizona ace, Ian Kennedy, has dominated the Phillies in both of his career starts (one this year and one last year).
Milwaukee Brewers: The positives to facing Milwaukee would be, ummm, hmmmm, anyone have one? The negatives are that the Brewers have a terrific 1-2-3 punch in their rotation with Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Yovani Gallardo, in addition to a back end of their bullpen that has been nearly flawless this year. They also have a balanced offense based around Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. And the Brewers - more so than any other team on this list - are in the mindset where they have to win the World Series this year, since Fielder is likely to leave this offseason.
St. Louis Cardinals: The positives are that the Cardinals' rotation probably doesn't stack up as well in a five-game series as, say, the Giants or Brewers. And their bullpen is a bigger question mark than the other teams on this list. Of course, St. Louis is also in win-now mode with Albert Pujols destined for free agency. Another negative to facing the Cardinals would be that their 3-4-5 of Pujols-Matt Holliday-Lance Berkman is as dangerous as any team the Phils could face.