If a lawyer was arguing that 2010 was the ” Year of the Pitcher”, they wouldn’t have to look any further than the National League Championship for Exhibit A. The 2010 National League Championship features the Philadelphia Phillies and the San Francisco Giants. While the runs may be limited in this series, pitching will certainly not be – as both teams feature exceptional starting pitching. Let’s take a look at both teams:
The Phillies made quick work of the Cincinnati Reds, winning in 3 games. The starting pitching of Phillies was the star of the series, holding the high powered Reds to four runs and a .124 average in the 3 games. Roy Halladay started the playoffs off with an “are-you-freaking-kidding-me? ” moment by pitching a no-hitter in Game 1. Cole Hamels was just as dominant in Game 3 with a complete game shutout. The question remains the Phillies offense which was relatively quiet during the NLDS. Sure, the Phillies scored 7 runs in Game 2, but they were also assisted by 4 Reds errors. The Phillies bullpen should be rested, as the starters have done most of the work. If runs are a few, the bullpen will be called upon to get them to the World Series. Will they answer the call?
Just how good is the San Francisco Giants starting pitching? “The Freak” – Tim Lincecum was dominant in his playoff debut. Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez were just as good, with Sanchez striking out 11 in Game 3. Almost as certain as Brent Musberger using the phrase, “Folks, we are watching the freshman grow up before our very eyes”, the MLB baseball playoffs is almost certain to introduce us to a new face in the game. This year it is Madison Bumgarner. The rookie was dominant for the Giants late in the regular season and Game 4 vs. the Atlanta Braves was no different. Bumgarner allows the Giants to pitch Lincecum on normal rest – something huge over the life of the playoffs. The Giants hitters remain the key for this team’s push to the World Series. While not overpowering against Braves pitchers, they scored enough to support their pitchers during the NLDS. They will need more offense to get past the Phillies. But the Giants hit Phillies starters pretty well during the regular season, scoring 24 runs over 45 innings (4.80 era). Can they carry that success into the NLCS?
Prediction: Runs will be few and far between, which means this series comes down to the bullpens. The Giants bullpen is better. Giants in 7. Yes, you heard it here first.
Have a Prediction? Let’s hear it.