The Philadelphia Phillies, as expected, made quick work of the Cincinnati Reds in the NLDS, sweeping the NL Central champions. The San Francisco Giants also made quick work of the Atlanta Braves, beating the NL Wild Card 3-1. The 2010 NLCS looks to be a pitching battle, as each team’s NLDS success was behind tremendous pitching performances.
San Francisco Giants 2010 MLB NLCS Playoffs Preview
The Giants set the tone early in the NLDS, winning Game 1 against the Atlanta Braves 1-0 behind a 14-strikeout shutout from Tim Lincecum. Every game of the NLDS was decided by one run, mainly due to dominant performances from the San Francisco starting pitching and somewhat stagnant bats from the Giants hitters. The four Giants starters only gave up four runs (three earned) in 29 innings of work, which works out to an obscene 0.93 ERA for the series.
The biggest concern for the Giants going into the NLCs has to be their offense. The San Francisco bats weren’t exactly lighting up the scoreboard against the Braves. No offense to the Atlanta pitchers, but the Philadelphia Phillies have a much better starting rotation than the Braves. It’s possible that Lincecum, Matt Cain, and the rest of the Giants starters could end up on the wrong end of some 1-0 games when facing Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Phillies 2010 MLB NLCS Playoffs Preview
The Phillies made easy work of the Cincinnati Reds in the NLDS, only letting the Reds score in Game 2 of the series. The big story, however, was Roy Halladay throwing the second-ever postseason no-hitter in his playoff debut. It’ll be interesting to see how Halladay follows up his historic performance, as the NLDS didn’t last long enough for Halladay to get a second start.
The Phillies are entering the NLCS without any discernable weaknesses. Their starting rotation is perhaps the best of any team left in the playoffs. Their offense scored the second most runs in the National League, trailing only the team they eliminated, the Cincinnati Reds. The Philadelphia bullpen looked vulnerable early in the season, but Brad Lidge and company have been phenomenal the last two months of the season.
Giants vs. Phillies Conclusion
Including the NLDS sweep of the Cincinnati Reds, the Philadelphia Phillies are 44-17 since the start of August and 26-7 since the start of September. The San Francisco Giants, including their 3-1 NLDS win over the Atlanta Braves, are 35-26 since the beginning of August and 22-11 since the start of September. Both teams are playing their best baseball of the season right now, but the Phillies are on a whole different level than the Giants. Anything less than a World Series championship will be a failure for this Philadelphia squad.
2010 MLB NLCS Playoffs Prediction: Philadelphia Phillies defeat San Francisco Giants, 4-2
All statistics retrieved from ESPN.com