Saturday, October 16, 2010

National League Championship Series Preview

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-Digger's Daily-

Philadelphia Phillies vs San Francisco Giants

Do the Giants have what it takes to tame the Phillies starting rotation? Roy Halladay become the second pitcher is Major League baseball history to toss a post-season no hitter (Don Larson, 1956 World Series perfect game). Cincinnati never had a chance. San Francisco took advantage of nearly every break Atlanta threw their way in NLDS. Giants hurlers must come through with career games if they're to have any chance of knocking off NL Champ Philadelphia. Don't bet on it.

The best of 7 NLCS begins tonight. Time to break it down...

Starting Rotation: EDGE PHILLIES
Game 1: Halladay vs Lincecum (in Philadelphia)
Game 2: Oswalt vs Sanchez (in Philadelphia)
Game 3: Hamels vs Cain (in San Francisco)
Game 4: Blanton vs Baumgarner (in San Francisco)

Tremendous edge to Phils. Top 3 starters all capable of tossing complete games. An epic pitching match-up in Game 1 featuring Cy Young candidate Halladay's first start after no hitting Reds vs back to back Cy Young winner Lincecum. Every baseball fan should tune in for this one! Oswalt and Hamels will be too much for Giants inconsistent lineup to handle. Blanton should be skipped if Giants win any of first 3.

Batting Order: EDGE PHILLIES
Howard, Utley, Werth, Rollins, Ibanez, Ruiz, Victorino. Phils lineup weaknesses? None. They'll take it to Giants pitchers all series long. All clutch performers. SF got a late season boost acquiring Ross & Burrell. Don't take Giants lineup lightly. Posey, Uribe, Huff, Burrell could stroke some damage. I'd bet they won't see many run scoring situations. When opportunities arise... these guys better step up because there will be no second chances vs Phils.

Defense: EDGE EVEN
Both defenses are solid and make big plays. Phils (NL's 4th best) .986 fielding percentage. Giants .988 (NL's 3rd best). Rollins leg may limit ability to snag hot shots up the middle.

No player from either team is feared off the bench. These squads feature mostly role players expected to perform when their number's called.

Middle Relief: EDGE GIANTS
No need for Phils long relievers unless control issues pop up for Oswalt (or extra innings). Relievers are Philadelphia's one weak spot. You never know what you're going to see with this erratic crew. Romo, Casilla & Ramirez were lights out during regular season for SF.

Closers: EDGE EVEN
Phillies Lidge and Giants Wilson will keep local fans biting their finger nails off all series long. Nothing is easy with these fellas. Their managers are hoping for more than one run leads before comfortably calling either hurler.

Prediction: The Phillies will win their 3rd straight NLCS. I can't picture any scenario favorable for San Fran to win 4 games. Not against Halladay, Oswalt & Hamels. Phillies dominate all 4 games.

Phillies in 4.


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