The Phillies are back in the NLCS for the third straight year and are looking for their third straight National League Pennant. The Giants are back in the Championship Series for the first time since 2002 and will look to finish the job this time.
Will pitching rule again or will the bats finally break out? Here are five bold predictions for the NLCS.
1. San Francisco Pitching Shuts Down Philadelphia Hitting
The Phillies managed only seven earned runs in three games against the Reds and did most of their damage as a result of defensive errors. Now they will be going up against an even tougher pitching staff led by Tim Lincecum. Even with their lineup, they better hope for good pitching because runs will be few and far between.
Neither Team Scores Above 5 Runs in a Single Game
As I previously mentioned, runs will be at a premium with these two pitching staffs toeing the rubber, and it goes both ways. Outside of Buster Posey, no Giants hitter even sniffed .300 during the Divisional Series. Dominate pitching performances from both sides should keep all the games low scoring.
Buster Posey Leads the Giants in All Three Triple Crown Categories
Posey hit .375 against Atlanta, but didn’t hit a home run or drive in any runs. That will change against Philadelphia. The rookie hit 19 home runs and drove in 67 runs in only four months of play this season, and in 12 plate appearance against the Phillies this year, Posey batted .417.
Charlie Manuel Goes to a Four-Man Rotation
Time and time again we have seen that starting pitchers on three days rest does not normally end well. No matter where the series stands, expect Manuel to go to Joe Blanton in game four. Blanton has pitched well against the Giants. In his only start, he pitched six and third innings giving up only two earned runs.
Roy Halladay Gives Up a Hit
The Doc was nearly perfect in his last outing against Cincinnati, but he’s going to have to come back to earth eventually, right?