NLCS Preview: Giants vs Phillies

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NLCS Preview: Giants vs Phillies

Roy Halladay vs Tim Lincecum in game one is going to be one of the pitching match-ups of the year.

Halladay threw a no-hitter in his first ever play-off start and Lincecum threw a complete game shutout in his. They’re two of the game’s best pitchers and between them have three Cy Young Awards. If there’s one thing we’re expecting in game on it’s plenty on zeros on the scoreboard.

If there’s any team equipped to put some runs on the board it’s the Philadelphia Phillies who, not only are blessed with great pitching, but have a deep batting line-up.

Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jayson Werth will carry the main offensive threat but the likes Carlos Ruiz Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, and Raul Ibanez can all deliver bit hits. Don’t forget the fact the Phillies have been in this position for the past two years, pressure shouldn’t be a factor for them.

The Giants do have some worries coming into the series.

Firstly their offence isn’t exactly spectacular and against the pitching of the Phillies it’s difficult to see how the Giants are going to score their runs. They don’t possess a big homerun hitter nor do they have someone that will drive in the runs. Aubrey Huff led the team with 26 home runs and 86 RBI’s, not exactly jaw dropping numbers.

San Francisco ranked 17th in runs scored, 15th in batting average, 19th in on base percentage and 13th in slugging percentage. Against the pitching of Philadelphia the Giants look overmatched.

Cole Hamels will start game three for the Phillies and after his complete game shutout in Cincinnati a few days ago the Phillies must be feeling good.

"Our ultimate goal is to win the World Series," Hamels said. "That's where we stand."

But the Giants, pitching wise, are the best equipped to tackle the big hitting Phillies. Lincecum, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez and with the teams splitting their six meetings in the regular season it should be a close series.

The breaker in the series could be the lack of defence the Giants bring to the table. Check their advanced sabermetrics and the Giants rank near the bottom of most measurements. The lack of range in their infield makes the Phillies clear favourites to return to the World Series for a third straight year.

Prediction: Phillies in six




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