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Phils may only pitch H2O in NLDS

Phils may only pitch H2O in NLDS

WASHINGTON -- The Phillies just clinched their fourth consecutive National League East championship, so it is time to look ahead.

Who could they play in the NL Division Series?

It could be one of four teams.

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Here is a look at the scenarios:

WILD CARD WINNER: The Phillies (94-63) not only clinched the division Monday, they clinched the best record in the league, because they win tiebreakers against the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres. That means the Phillies will play the Wild Card winner, unless it is the Atlanta Braves (Postseason rules do not allow teams from the same division to play each other in the NLDS). The Braves are a half-game ahead of the Padres in the Wild Card race entering Tuesday's action. The Colorado Rockies are 4 1/2 games behind the pack, putting their postseason chances on life support. The Giants are holding onto a slim one game lead over the Padres in the NL West, so the Phillies could play the Giants, if the Padres win the division. The Giants and Padres play a three-game series at AT&T Park in San Francisco this weekend.

REDS OR NL WEST WINNER: If the Braves win the Wild Card, the Phillies would play the Cincinnati Reds, who needed just one win or a Cardinals loss to clinch the NL Central, or the NL West champion. The Phillies would play the division winner with the worse record. Right now that is Cincinnati. The Giants were 88-68 (.564) and the Reds were 87-69 (.558) before playing Tuesday.

How have the Phillies fared this season against their prospective postseason foes? They are 6-1 against the Rockies, 5-2 against the Reds, 5-2 against the Padres and 3-3 against the Giants.

They are 8-7 against the Braves, although they could not face them until the NL Championship Series.

The Phillies have the option of playing an eight-day or seven-day NLDS because they clinched the league's best record. If they chose an eight-day NLDS, it would begin Oct. 6 and allow them to pitch only Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt -- the Big Three -- on normal rest. If they chose the seven-day NLDS, it would begin Oct. 7 and they could pitch Joe Blanton in Game 4.

"They're all right," Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins joked, when asked about the Big Three.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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