NLCS Preview and Prediction: San Francisco Giants Vs. Philadelphia Phillies

October 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

I will go on record as saying the matchup between the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies is the most anticipated NLCS we have seen in quite some time. I can’t remember a NLCS where people are looking forward to it as much as this one.

The main reason? The pitching matchups. These two teams feature All-World pitchers and it kicks off in Game 1 tonight with Tim Lincecum against Roy Halladay.

Let’s take a look at the entire series at a glance:


Game 1: Saturday, October 16 at 7:57 PM EST. Tim Lincecum vs. Roy Halladay

Game 2: Sunday, October 17 at 8:00 PM EST. Jonathan Sanchez vs. Roy Oswalt

Game 3: Tuesday, October 19 at 4:00 PM EST. Cole Hamels vs. Matt Cain

Game 4: Wednesday, October 20 at 7:30 PM EST. Joe Blanton vs. Madison Bumgarner

*Game 5: Thursday, October 21 at 7:30 PM EST. Halladay vs. Lincecum

*Game 6: Saturday, October 23 at 4:00 PM EST. Sanchez vs. Oswalt

*Game 7: Sunday, October 24 at 8:00 PM EST. Cain vs. Hamels




Lincecum vs. Halladay. Sanchez vs. Oswalt. Hamels vs. Cain. If you are a fan of pitching, this matchup is baseball porn for you. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Halladay, coming off his no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds goes up against Lincecum, who is coming off a dominant performance himself with 14 K=s against the Atlanta Braves. This Game 1 matchup is worth the price of admission alone for the whole series.

Not only do we get this tonight, we could also get this matchup next Thursday. I personally can’t wait.

I think coming into this series, the Phillies have a couple of concerns.

First, despite sweeping the Reds, they really didn’t hit the ball. They only hit .212 as a team in the three games. Their big outburst of seven runs in Game 3 of the NLDS was aided by four Red errors.

Jayson Werth (.167), Placido Polanco (.111), and Jimmy Rollins (.091) all hit under .200 against the Reds, and if the Phillies are going to score some runs against the Giants’ stout pitching staff, these three guys are going to have to wake up.

I would also be concerned with that Game 4 matchup of Blanton vs. Bumgarner. If we ranked all the pitchers in this series, Blanton would end up on the short end of the stick.

Not only that, but he hasn’t appeared in a game since October 3. That is a long layoff, and now he will be asked to win a pivotal game on the road against one of the better young pitchers in the game. That’s a very tough task.

As for the Giants, I like the decision to start Sanchez in Game 2. His numbers during the regular season were better on the road (2.86 on road. 3.26 at home), and he carried his hot pitching on the road with a masterful performance in Game 3 against the Braves (11 Ks and two hits in 7.1 IP).

Plus, the Phillies have a very left-handed dominated lineup, so getting him to pitch twice in this series is a good thing.

My concerns with the Giants are twofold.

First, can Javier Lopez continue to get lefties out late in the game? It will most likely be him who will face Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, or Raul Ibanez in a big spot. Lopez is pitching well, but I just have my doubts about him against that caliber of left-handed hitting late in the game.

Second, how are the Giants going to score runs in this series? I have a hard time seeing them scoring enough runs to beat the Phillies. Asking your pitchers to win 2-1 every game is a tall task.

Outside of Buster Posey, the one guy who needs to do damage in this series is Aubrey Huff. He had a nice NLDS, hitting .267 with a .389 OBP, but he needs to start driving the ball.

It’s very hard to piece together hits off of Halladay, Oswalt, and Hamels. If the Giants are going to win, they are going to need some quick strikes offensively. Going up against three righties in this series, Huff needs to be the guy for the Giants who hits a couple of HRs.

If I were to compare this series to a college basketball game it would be looking at an ACC team against a team from the Big West Conference in the tournament.

The Big West school has a couple of good players that they will try to ride for the game, but overall, they don’t match up well. The school from the Big West conference will try to slow the game down, make it a low-scoring game, and then try to steal it late with a three.

That strategy will work for one game, but not for a series of games against the same team. Talent usually wins out.

In this case, the Phillies are the ACC team.

Phillies in 6

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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