And Then There Were Four: 2010 LCS Preview and Predictions

October 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

What an incredible LDS highlighted by Roy Halladay’s no-hitter. We saw the Rangers over the Rays in five, the Yankees sweep the Twins, the Phills sweep the Reds and the Giants top the Braves in four.

I went 3-1 in the LDS, with my blemish coming when I picked the Rays. I wish I had do-overs. This year’s LCS looks amazing. We have a classic David vs. Goliath story in the AL, and a mouth-watering pitching dual in the NL. Let’s run it down:


ALCS: New York Yankees vs. Texas Rangers

I would absolutely love for the Yankees to get knocked out. It could happen too. The big thing here is that the Rangers will only be able to use LHP Cliff Lee once, since he’s projected to start Game 3. If he starts again, it’ll be on short rest – something he’s never done. Lee has been insane in the playoffs : seven starts, 6-0 record, 1.44 ERA, .185 batting average against and 9:1 K/BB ratio. In five of those starts, he has pitched at least seven innings without a walk.

Lee has four starts in which he struck out 10 and walked none — only four other pitchers in playoff history have done that, with Lee being the only one to repeat said performance. Tuesday night, Lee became the first pitcher to strike out 11 in a winner-take-all postseason game. In the ALDS, he set a postseason series record with 21 strikeouts without a walk.

That said, the Yankees can hit him – he’s 6-4 with a 4.42 ERA lifetime against the Yanks. Keep an eye on Lee throwing inside on righty bats. The Yanks’ rotation is a bit of a mess, but it looks like LHP C.C. Sabathia will go on short rest should the series go seven.

The Bronx Bombers come in as the rested team, but their lackluster starting pitching remains the biggest concern. That said, if LHP Andy Pettitte stays Mr. October, anything is fair game. Call me crazy, but the Rangers are a very similar team build to the Angels of the early 2000’s – they run like crazy.  They’ll make it close, but the Yanks prevail. I pray that I’m wrong, I really do – I’d love to see the Rangers advance given all they’ve been through, but I just don’t see it happening.

Pick: Yankees in 7


NLCS: San Francisco Giants vs. Philadelphia Phillies

What a pitching matchup! Lincecum, Cain and Sanchez vs. Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels. Sign me up!

Starting July 31, the Phillies have gone 30-5 in games started by H20. In the LDS sweep over the Reds, the Phils limited Cincy to four runs in three games, and held the highest-scoring team in the NL to a .124 average. Halladay threw the second no-hitter in postseason history, and Hamels threw a shutout in Game 3, making them only the second pair of teammates in the divisional era (from 1969 on) to throw shutouts in the same postseason series.

Starting September 1, H20 is 15-1. But, the Giants hit all three of them this year: Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels combined to throw 45 innings against San Fran, and they allowed 51 hits and 24 earned runs (a 4.80 ERA).

Don’t count of the Giants’ rotation, either – In four games against the Braves in the NLDS, Giants’ starting pitchers posted a 0.93 ERA, the third lowest starters’ ERA by an NL team in any postseason series. Lincecum pitched one of the greatest games in playoff history in Game 1 of the LDS: a two-hit, 14-strikeout gem in a 1-0 win.

Lincecum made one start against the Phillies this season, pitched 8 1/3 innings, allowed three hits, two earned runs, walked one and struck out 11. Cain threw well in Game 2 against the Braves, but the bullpen blew it. Sanchez has an ERA just north of 1.00 in his past eight starts. In two starts against the Phillies this season, he is 2-0. In 13 innings, he has allowed only five hits, two runs, walked seven and struck out 13.

LHP Madison Bumgarner is going to come in under the radar, having a 1.43 ERA in his past seven starts.

Let’s take a look at the closer’s situations. RHP Brian Wilson led the NL in saves with 48 and had a 1.81 ERA, walked 26 and struck out 93 in 74 2/3 innings. He tends to throw heat away to get batters to chase, but if he starts running it on the black, he’s nearly impossible to hit off of. In the LDS, he threw four scoreless innings and struck out five.

RHP Brad Lidge has been here before, both pitching well and terrible. Since August 1, though, he’s been “Lights Out” Lidge again. He’s thrown 24 2/3 innings, allowed 10 hits, two runs and struck out 25.

Could this series come down to middle-relief? The Giants’ pen was great all season, but stumbled against the Braves. The opposite is true for the Phils – a poor season with a strong LDS. On an aside, Buster Posey is epic. He’s accomplished so much in such little time. Not enough credit goes out to him.

If the Phils beat the Giants, they will become the first NL team to reach the World Series three years in a row since the 1942-44 Cardinals. My biggest fear is that the Giants’ bats fall asleep. The Phillis bats are too consistent, and I think that’s the difference-maker here. The Giants are the masters of one-run wins, but are they capable of holding the Phillies to a mere one-run lead? I don’t think so. My season-long prediction of Phils over Yankees in the World Series looks like it’ll be put to the test.

Pick: Phillies in 7


Although I’m new to B/R, I’ve been making previews and predictions through my website for each of the big-four sports. You can take a look at my playoff prediction accuracy below:

2007-08: 12-3 (80%)
2008-09: 10-5 (67%)
2009-10: 9-6 (60%)
Total: 31/45 = 69%

2007-08: 11-4 (73%)
2008-09: 9-6 (60%)
2009-10: 11-4 (73%)
Total: 20/30 = 67%

2008: 5-2 (71%)
2009: 4-3 (57%)
Total: 9/14 = 64%

2008-09: 9-2 (82%)
2009-10: 7-4 (64%)
Total: 16/22 = 73%

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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