Mlb Playoff Tickets – A Great Pitching Matchup In The Nlcs
Heading into the year, the Philadelphia Phillies were expected to have the best team in the National League while the Giants were touted as one of the best starting rotations. As it turns out, both prognostications have ended up being true enough for them to both clash in the National League Championship Series. Here’s the breakdown of how it might play out.
From top to bottom in their rotations, it’s strength versus strength. Nobody in the entire league is capable of matching zeroes with the Phillies as well as the Giants. Though Tim Lincecum won’t win the Cy Young for the first time in three years, he’s still as dominant as anyone when he’s on, which is something the Braves found out first hand in the division series. But not only do the Giants have Lincecum to lock up bats, they also have Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner. With four quality starters, the Giants don’t have to score a ton of runs to be competitive or make a real push to reach the World Series.
The Phillies, on the other hand, come in as the more touted of the two teams. Everyone knows about Roy Halladay, especially now with a no-hitter in the only playoff start of his career, but Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels are capable of being just as dominant. Though Oswalt struggled a bit in the first series against the Reds, you saw the advantage of having Hamels follow up in the three-spot of the rotation when he blanked the Reds to end the series.
In the bullpen, both teams have solid arms but lack the completely dominant closer that the Yankees have in the ALCS. This could lead to some dramatic late-night heroics if the bullpens can’t turn great starting performances into wins. Overall, though, we could be looking at three potential must-see games between Tim Lincecum and Roy Halladay in the best-of-seven NLCS, which is certainly a series of matchups that should sell plenty of MLB playoff tickets.
Here’s where the decided advantage goes to the Phillies. The Giants do have a couple of sticks, which is largely what separated them from the Padres at the end of the regular season, but they also don’t have nearly the pop of the Phillies. If Philly first basemen Ryan Howard can remain disciplined, he provides strength to the entire lineup and will give base runners ahead of him more breaking pitches to run on. Chase Utley proved once again in the division series that he is unbelievably clutch and he is finally back and fully healthy heading into the NLCS. Jayson Werth is another big piece to the puzzle as he can provide significant protection behind Howard if he can get it going. The scary thing, though, is that those are already names capable of powering a lineup and I haven’t even mentioned Jimmy Rollins, a productive veteran in Raul Ibanez and scrappy hitters like Placido Palanco.
Contrary to the Phillies’ ability to swat the ball out of the ballpark, the Giants need to find ways to manufacture runs. Andres Torres has blazing speed that the Phillies don’t want to see on the base paths and it will be up to him and others to provide a spark. Buster Posey has been the Giants’ best hitter for much of the season and carried that into round one, though Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell also need to have a big series to have a chance at taking down the Phillies. Also in the mix is Pablo Sandoval, their expected superstar on the rise who had nothing short of a terrible season following his promising 2009 campaign. In one series, however, Sandoval has the talent to give the Giants a huge lift if he can give any production at all for the bottom third of the Giants lineup.
Prediction: Phillies in six.
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