As the Command Center predicted, the Phillies and Giants are set to meet in the NLCS and will battle it out to earn a trip to the Fall Classic. The first round was all about pitching, and the NLCS will be more of the same.
Roy Halladay waited a long time to make his postseason debut, and all he did was throw a no hitter in one of the best pitching performances in postseason history. The second “H” in “H2O,” Cole Hamels, also impressed in Round 1, pitching a complete game shutout in Game 3 to clinch the series for Philly. Roy Oswalt was shaky in his Game 2 performance, but the Phillies should expect him to bounce back in the NLCS and pitch like the second ace of their staff.
San Francisco’s ace, Tim Lincecum, pitched a masterpiece of his own in the NLDS, striking out 14 in a complete game shutout of the Braves. The Giants also feature a solid 2-3 punch with Jonathan Sanchez and Matt Cain, so runs are sure to be at a premium. The Game 1 matchup of Halladay and Lincecum could be a classic and should be fun to watch (that is, assuming you don’t have Cablevision and actually CAN watch the game. Thanks Fox & Cablevision).
So what about the offenses? San Francisco struggles to score runs against mediocre pitching, so they will certainly have their hands full with the Phillies’ starters. The Phillies have had an up-and-down year at the plate, but a large part of that was due to injuries to several key bats (Rollins, Utley, Howard). Now that they are back at full strength, they have arguably the deepest lineup in the NL and have the ability to put up crooked numbers at any time.
So, how will the NLCS play out? The Phillies have the better team on paper, and have the home field advantage, so it’s their series to lose. For the Giants to have a chance, they need their starters to pitch lights-out. With the Giants’ offense, their pitchers have little (or no) margin for error. Could they pull the upset? Sure. Will they? Nope.
Prediction: Phillies in 6.