Blog Entry

NLCS pitching matchup one for the ages

Posted on: October 12, 2010 12:32 am
Edited on: October 12, 2010 6:01 pm
Could anyone have asked for a better NLCS matchup? (Okay, after putting partisan picks aside.)

The Phillies will do battle with the Giants for the right to advance to the World Series, and at the forefront of it will be the most valued commodity in baseball: pitching. Both teams will square off with the best three-deep postseason pitching matchup since 1992's World Series.

Here is a breakdown of the top three starters, plus the projected Game 4 starters.

Tim Lincecum GAME 1

In Game 1, Roy Halladay will battle Tim Lincecum (right). "The Freak" has won the last two Cy Youngs for the Giants, but he has no shot this year -- some due to his own regression, but Halladay is another big reason why. This is as marquee as a matchup can get, and it will be done on the stage of the NLCS.

Lincecum: 16-10, 212 1/3 IP, 3.43 ERA, 3.21 xFIP, 231 K, 76 BB
Halladay: 21-10, 250 2/3 IP, 2.44 ERA, 2.92 xFIP, 219 K, 30 BB

Lincecum: 1 GS, 9 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 14 K, W
Halladay: 1 GS, 9 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, W

Lincecum struggled through a brutal August, but turned it around and is as hot as any pitcher can be. Halladay is coming off a no-hitter (pictured below, celebrating), and there's just no way to pick an edge. Feel sorry for the offenses.


How much in common do the Phillies and Giants have? So much in common that they're choosing not to slot in a lefty in-between right-handed starters. Nope, the No. 2 starters, handedness be damned, belong to Roy Oswalt and Matt Cain. Oswalt has been stupendous since leaving Houston for Philly, and Cain would be the ace of most teams.

Cain: 13-11, 223 1/3 IP, 3.14 ERA, 4.19 xFIP, 177 K, 61 BB
Oswalt: 13-13, 211 2/3 IP, 2.76 ERA, 3.45 xFIP, 193 K, 55 BB

Cain: 1 GS, 6 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
Oswalt: 1 GS, 5 IP, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

Oswalt admitted he was rusty in Game 2 of the NLDS, but don't expect that to slow him down. While Cain spun a nice game against the Braves, Oswalt still has him beat in total numbers, so this is also a push.


And here is an all-lefty Game 3, with Jonathan Sanchez and Cole Hamels opposing each other. Sanchez has a no-hitter to his name. Hamels has a World Series MVP trophy. It ain't gonna be easy, especially for Philly's lefty-laden lineup. Say this about the Giants: they have many options from each side.

Roy Halladay THE SKINNY:
Hamels: 12-11, 208 2/3 IP, 3.06 ERA, 3.43 xFIP, 211 K, 61 BB
Sanchez: 13-9, 193 1/3 IP, 3.07 ERA, 4.11 xFIP, 205 K, 96 BB

Hamels: 1 GS, 9 IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K
Sanchez: 1 GS, 7 1/2 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K

This one isn't a push. Sanchez is a great pitcher with no-hit stuff, but Hamels is consistently great. That gives him a pretty clear edge over Sanchez, but not a gigantic one. Offense aside, this is the one matchup the Phillies need to take advantage of.


Game 4 will likely be started by Joe Blanton and Madison Bumgarner. Each has warts, but each has pros as well. The edge here has to be given to the Giants, which helps make up for losing the Hamels edge. If either team is in a 3-0 hole, a three-man rotation could happen.

Blanton: 9-6, 175 2/3 IP, 4.82 ERA, 4.06 xFIP, 134 K, 43 BB
Bumgarner: 7-6, 111 IP, 3.00 ERA, 4.03 xFIP, 86 K, 26 BB

Blanton: Did not pitch
Bumgarner: 1 GS, 6 IP, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K


Bumgarner is left-handed, which plays against Philadelphia's lineup and has the experience of clinching the NLDS against the Braves. Blanton has been a bit unlucky this season while Bumgarner has been a bit lucky, but luck derives momentum, and momentum is everything in the postseason. Edge to Giants.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .


Since: Jul 12, 2007
Posted on: October 13, 2010 9:24 pm

NLCS pitching matchup one for the ages

Americas team the Phillies.....NOT. Neither are the Yanks...This is Americas pastime you must be confused...GO GIANTS

Since: Oct 28, 2009
Posted on: October 13, 2010 9:01 pm

NLCS pitching matchup one for the ages

filupper, would never want to be "America's Team". Old school who suffered thru the 50's, 60's and onward with
the Phillies. Not crazy about the Muppet dancin' on the dugout and understand the fun "it " brings. Only want to see the
best damn baseball. Easy to be a Yanks fan thru the decades. Texan's fans will understand. Older Philly fans
as well. Don't need any fish rays swimmin' in a tank, I'll take a pitcher's duel forever! Go Phils!

Since: Oct 13, 2010
Posted on: October 13, 2010 6:53 pm

NLCS pitching matchup one for the ages

haha filuppers you make me laugh. the yankees have a bunch of frontrunners as fans. the only people who can say they are true yanks fans are the ones born and bred in new york. the phillies have a way better fan base as the city of philly has been waiting for a great team like this one. if they dont haw do you explain the millions who showed up for the WS parade 2 years ago?

edge phillies for sure. ill take halladay over lincecum. cain over oswalt. and hamels over sanchez. add in their better offense and experience this one will be over in 6 at the most

Since: Jun 21, 2009
Posted on: October 13, 2010 6:28 pm

NLCS pitching matchup one for the ages

I've said it before, I'll say it again- the outcome of this series hinges upon facial hair. Werth has a clear advantage over any Giants hitters, but I don't see how the Phillies relievers can hope to match up with Romo and Wilson of the Giants. If Posey starts to grow a mustache, look out; the Giants could be celebrating on their home field next Thursday.

Since: Aug 7, 2010
Posted on: October 13, 2010 6:13 pm

NLCS pitching matchup one for the ages

Very well put...When adversity roars its ugly head, the Phillies have a huge advantage and believe they will when each night whether they are winning or losing....Happened time and time again and I think that experience is invaluable.

Since: Jul 17, 2008
Posted on: October 13, 2010 5:32 pm

NLCS pitching matchup one for the ages

Edge goes to this Phillies team because they have experience.  The pitching will be great but it will be the team that knows how to win in October that will be victorious.  I think this Giants team will be great moving forward and could go on their own run of three straight world series appearances someday.  But the Phillies do have a slight edge on the mound, a pretty decent edge in the offense department and a huge edge in experience.  

Since: Nov 30, 2007
Posted on: October 13, 2010 3:30 pm

NLCS pitching matchup one for the ages

The Phillies will NEVER be considered America's team.  To be honest I dont even think the Cowboys really deserve that moniker anymore.  While they are a great team, they just dont have the fan base that a Boston or New York has.  The mlb should put the Giants Phillies matchup on the primetime slot because it will be an epic pitching matchup unlike anything seen this season.  Sure Sabathia vs Lee will be cool, but its obvious to a sportsfan what matchup will be more fun to watch.

Since: Apr 4, 2008
Posted on: October 13, 2010 2:00 pm

NLCS pitching matchup one for the ages

Sounds like it might be a boring game I'll reluctantly take those tix off your hands.Foot in mouth

Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: October 13, 2010 12:50 pm

NLCS pitching matchup one for the ages

Got my NLCS Game 1 ticket in hand and ready to go.  Halladay vs Lincecum.  Probably '10 Cy Young vs '08 and '09. 
Haven't checked the obscure Vegas lines, but what do you suppose the over/under for total hits allowed should be?  6?

Since: May 18, 2009
Posted on: October 12, 2010 11:41 pm

NLCS pitching matchup one for the ages

Checked the listing online for up here the AL game is supposed to be on at 4 on TBS, the NL game at 7:30 on fox

Let's go Phils. Will be a truelly amazing pitchers duel for the first three games. Hopefully the Phils can take a lead going into the game Blanton pitches, he been a little shakey.

Will be very interesting to see who's, if either teams offense can get going.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or