- Saturday, October 16, 2010 6:22 AM
- Written By: Alex Siegel
For all the hype the Philadelphia Phillies might have coming into this NLCS showdown, there are plenty of reasons for the Giants to emerge victorious in this series. I've highlighted the Top 10 here:
1) Starting Pitching:
Though much has been made of the Phillies’ “Big 3” of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels, the group has done very little against the Giants — not only this season, but historically as well.
Ace A-1 of the “H2O” trio is Halladay. While it's hard to ignore the no-hitter the righty threw against the major league leading offense in Cincy, Halladay was battered for five earned runs over seven innings and was awarded the loss in his only start against the Giants this year. Even more shocking, Halladay is 0-2 in three career starts against the Giants with a 7.23 ERA.
Ace A-2 is Mississippi native Roy Oswalt. Most Giants fans won't even need to see statistics to know that our team destroys Oswalt. He is 6-8 lifetime against the Giants and in his three starts against the G-men this year, he lost three times (the fourth was a win, but it was against Zito and is therefore void).
The final member of the three-headed dragon is former World Series MVP Cole Hamels, who is 0-1 this season in two starts against the Giants. Also, Hamels is a little girl.
Of the Giants’ big three, only Cain has struggled against the Phils. Lincecum and Sanchez are a combined 5-2 lifetime and are 2-0 this year in three starts.
Over the course of the 2010 season, the Giants had the second lowest bullpen ERA in the major leagues. The Phillies ranked 18th. Also, the Phillies have a closer who is best known for moments like these. The Giants have a closer who is best known for moments like these. Advantage: Giants.
3) Revenge of the Panda
Though it might seem like a decade ago, Pablo Sandoval was really good last year. An unknown to begin the season, “Kung Fu Panda” won his way into the hearts of fans nationwide with his jovial demeanor, inspired play, and multitasking abilities. Though he did not make it to the all star game on his own accord, Sandoval was placed in MLB.com’s “Final Vote” for the last All-Star spot, and was leading the vote by a good margin after the third of the four days. Then a self-promoting douchebag with significantly inferior statistics named Shane Victorino came along, and went door to door with the mayor of Philadelphia for votes on the final day of the vote. With help from some ungodly amount of press, Victorino leaped ahead and stole Panda’s spot.
As you might have noticed, Panda kind of sucks this year. He was benched halfway through the Braves series, and has now been relegated to a pinch-hitting role. I would bet Pablo isn’t very happy about all this, so I’m predicting he goes deep in this series to show up the Philadelphia fans who stole from him a very deserved All-Star spot. If his home run flies over Victorino’s head — perhaps as the Flyin' Hawaiian flies face first into a wall a la Rowand — all the better.
While much was made of the defensive ineptitude of the aging Giants defenders coming into the year, the Giants have somehow assembled a fantastic defense. Though Pat Burrell’s comments about the water buffaloes at the corner outfield spots made headlines in June, the addition of Buster Posey to the catchers spot -- a surprising upgrade over the departed Bengie Molina -- opened up a void at first base, a position Huff actually plays quite well. Torres is a potential gold glove winner in center field and the Gigantes are strong up the middle with Uribe and Sanchez. The cherry on top was the subtraction of Jose “Molina” Guillen from the playoff roster, which allowed the fleet-footed Cody Ross to slot in at the right field spot. According to Fangraphs, the Giants were 2nd in the MLB this season defensively with a 8.0 UZR. Contrastingly, the Phillies ranked 17th with a .08 UZR.
5) Buster Posey:
Buster Posey was the best rookie in the majors this year, and this year’s rookie class is potentially the best ever. Buster Posey accumulated the 5th highest WAR of all catchers in the MLB…and missed the first two months of the season. Buster Posey has hit as many home runs as Shane Victorino this season, but Buster Posey isn’t a self-promoting douchebag. Buster Posey has thrown out 37.1 percent of base stealers, good for fourth best among starting catchers in the National League. Buster Posey is better than the best rookie on the Phillies, Dominic Brown, who is hitting .210. Buster Posey heard that Jason Heyward might win the National League Rookie of the Year award, but Buster Posey “ain’t having it”. Buster Posey.
6) Return of Pat the Bat
Pat Burrell likes hitting home runs at Citizens Bank. He hit more than 150 of them during his time in Philly. He left Philly for Tampa Bay and stopped hitting home runs. He then joined the Giants and started hitting some home runs. Then he returned to Citizens Bank on August 17 and hit a home run his first time back. Then he hit a home run the next day. Burrell could potentially play four games in Citizens Bank, so I'm expecting a few bombs.
7) Fourth Starter:
The Giants have one huge advantage over the Phillies in this series. That advantage is that their fourth starter isn’t Joe Blanton. Since the Phillies’ fourth starter is Joe Blanton, Philadelphia understandably will pitch just three starters in the playoffs. The Giants have Madison Bumgarner. Though Bumgarner is a rookie, he is much, much, better than Blanton, and will pitch in the playoffs. This gives the Giants four starting pitchers, meaning they wont have to pitch their guys on short rest. The Phillies will. Here’s what has happened historically when pitchers go on short rest in the playoffs.
8) Torture: Due to the alarming number of one-run games, comeback victories and devastating losses, broadcaster Duane Kuiper coined this year’s token phrase, “Giants Baseball: Torture.” Though this is due in large part to San Francisco’s frequent inability to score runs, it could likely have a positive effect in the playoffs. In an environment of Halladays, Lincecums, Wilsons and Oswalts, runs will probably be scarce. It might just well come down to the team that knows how to play in close ballgames.
The biggest knock against the Giants is their lack of hitting, especially when compared to the offensive juggernaut that is the Philadelphia Phillies. But for all the big names the Phillies have on their roster, this hasn’t been their best season. Their team batting average was only three thousandths of a point higher, and they only outslugged the Gigantes by five thousandths of a point.
This season, Juan Uribe has been a better shortstop than Jimmy Rollins. Aubrey Huff has outplayed Ryan Howard at 1st base. Andres Torres is Shane Victorino 2.0, but with more defensive ability and less douchebaggery. Sure Freddy Sanchez may be no Chase Utley, and Cody Ross no Jayson Werth. However, Buster Posey.
10) Plus we've got this ...