Thursday, October 14, 2010

NLCS Preview: Phillies vs. Giants

So here we are, about to watch the Phillies partake in their THIRD STRAIGHT NLCS. After 10,000 losses, Joe Carter, the 1964 collapse and Celine Dion (she has nothing to do with the Phillies, but she’s awful), who would have a thought our local baseball team would ever see this much success? The best record in baseball? Three aces? Puke monster? It’s still hard to believe this is all real. But guess what folks, it’s real. Very real. And the Phillies have a chance to do something over the next week no NL team has done since 1944, go to three straight World Series.

Standing in their way of history, yet again, is a team from California. This time around though, it’s not those Manny-led Dodgers, but the Pat the Bat-led San Francisco Giants. The Phillies are overwhelming favorites to be sure, but the Giants are a very good (although flawed) team and shouldn’t (and won’t) be taken lightly by our Fightins’.

(Quick side note, the word “Giant” comes from greek “Gigas” which is root for the word Gigantism. Gigantism, also known as giantism, is caused by an overproduction of human growth hormone, otherwise known as HGH. HGH, of course, was used quite frequently by everyone’s favorite Giant, Barry Bonds. Just thought that whole Giant, HGH, cheater, Giants suck thing was interesting.)

Anyway, to defeat our next opponent we must first understand them, so here is a quick rundown of who the San Francisco Giants are:

Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, Madison Bumgarner. Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez, Brian Wilson. Buster Posey.

See what I did there? Yea, it’s pretty obvious what the Giants are all about, and that is why they are so dangerous in this series. The Giants boast an amazing pitching staff, full of both dominating starters and shut-down relievers. They led the majors is ERA, strikeouts and opponent’s batting average. Tim Lincecum has rebounded from a shaking July/August and the bullpen gave up something like 1 run in September. It’s safe to say, when combined with the Phillies awesome pitching (which we all know about), that runs will be at premium. Not surprisingly, I expect the Phillies offense to struggle in this series, so I think you can’t expect much more than two to four runs from our bats in any game. So, to that end, I figure we should focus on what will likely be the deciding factor in this series…can the Giants score enough to beat the Phillies?

If you look strictly at statistics, the Giants offense is pretty underwhelming. The finished 17th in MLB in runs scored and 17th in OPS. They also were awful on the basepaths, with only a 63% steal success rate, worst in the league (both leagues, like 30 out of 30 bad).

However, they thrived on timely home runs, and actually only hit 4 less than our “powerful” Phillies did (166 to 162). Now that doesn’t take into consideration the vast amount of time that Rollins, Utley, Victorino and Howard missed, but the Giants didn’t have Burrell, Posey and Cody Ross all year either (not that they are equals to our guys, just saying). After calling up Posey and adding Burrell, the Giants lineup became a whole lot more imposing. The late season addition of Ross was brilliant to, he's a good hitter who has seven career homers at CBP, the most of any visiting ballpark. Throw in a resurgent Aubrey Huff and a career-year-having Andres Torres and the Giants offense doesn't quite have as much suck in it as it did in April and May.

My ultimate point is, the Giants have enough power on the roster to be scary, and with their pitching a 3 run homer might be enough to win any game. It will be important that the Phillies keep base runners to a minimum (which they do better than any team in baseball, by the way, just look it up) so that those homers (if they happen) are only solo shots. Of course if the Phils pitch like they did in round 1, the Giants might score four runs all series.

The matchups:

Game 1: Roy Halladay (21-10, 2.44 ERA, 219 SO) vs. Tim Lincecum (16-10, 3.43 ERA, 231 SO)

I don't need to tell you that this is an awesome matchup,'s an awesome matchup. Lincecum was the best pitcher in the NL the past two years, Halladay was the best pitcher in the NL this year. Since changing his grip on his slider in September, Lincecum has been lights out and absolutely dominated the Braves in the first round. The Phillies will offer him a little tougher competition, but if this game is anything else than a 2-1 or 3-2 ballgame, I'll be surprised. Oh, and Halladay threw a no-hitter in the NLDS. Just remembered.

Game 2: Roy Oswalt (13-13, 2.76 ERA, 193 SO) vs. Jonathan Sanchez (13-9, 3.07 ERA, 205 SO)

Giants manager Bruce Bochy shuffled his rotation so that Sanchez will start Game 2. Pretty smart idea, cause Sanchez owns the Phillies. He has a career 2.86 ERA against our Phils and has struck out 40 in 34.2 innings. That's pretty dominate stuff and I suspect more of the same. I have a really strong feeling this series is going back to San Francisco 1-1. Unless Oswalt throws a shutout, since...ya's his turn now.

Game 3: Cole Hamels (12-11, 3.06 ERA, 211 SO) vs. Matt Cain (13-11, 3.14 ERA, 177 SO)

These pitching matchup are ridiculous, aren't they? I mean, the highest starter ERA is Lincecum's at 3.43 and we all know how good he is. The more I think about it, the more I'm positive that the winning team in this series might not score more than 15 runs the whole series.

Game 4 and on is up for debate, obviously depending on where the series stands. Just know this, if Roy Halladay is starting, it means the Phillies are behind in the series. In the end though, I truly expect the good guys to win. The Phillies offense is due for a breakout and I'm hoping facing great pitching forces them to step up to the challenge and bring it. I expect H2O to do their thing too. Plus, we have Carlos. It is Choochtober afterall.

Oh, and I expect to meet the Yankees in the World Series after they dispatch the Rangers in 6. And you can take my predictions to the bank, just see for yourself.

Go Phils.


  1. I'm a little worried about this matchup, but do agree with you that we'll have a Phillies/Yanks rematch. By the way, what the hell is that thing in the picture? It looks like Terry Crewes in drag.

  2. that's one of the greatest hitters of all time.

    one of the biggest heads of all time, too.

  3. I am little worried about the match but other wise their would be lot of excitement and every one surely enjoy this match. And these are real competition.

  4. Great article! You really have a way with words. Keep up the good work and keep the great article flow comming.