Here's an early look at a preview box that is running in the newspaper tomorrow. I've been saying for a month that the Giants are the only team to fear in the NL. Now, we'll see just how much they should be feared.
2010 National League Championship Series
Phillies (97-65, 1st in NL East) vs. Giants (92-70, 1st in NL West)
Game 1: Saturday, October 11, Citizens Bank Park
History: The Giants haven’t won a World Series since moving to San Francisco from New York in 1958. In fact, they haven’t won one since 1954, which is the third-longest drought in the majors behind the Cubs and the Indians. They last advanced to the World Series in 2002, losing to the Angels in seven games. The Giants and Phillies have never faced each other in the postseason.
Recent History: Dating back to the start of the 2008 season, the Phillies are 9-10 against the Giants, including 6-6 this season. Of those 19 games, they have scored fewer than four runs in 12. They have struggled particularly at ATT Park, where they have lost seven of their last nine while averaging 2.8 runs per game.
Pitching: Both teams have some decisions to make with regards to their rotations. Cole Hamels started Game 3 of the NLDS for the Phillies, but he had better results (a five-hit shut-out) than Game 2 starter Roy Oswalt (four runs in five innings) and has struggled at AT &T Park, allowing at least four runs in all four of his career starts there (including a no decision in April when he allowed four runs in six innings with 10 strikeouts). Oswalt has pitched well in each of his last three starts in San Francisco, allowing six runs in 23 innings.
Meanwhile, Giants NLDS Game 2 starter Matt Cain allowed five runs (two earned) in six innings in an 8-2 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in August. That same series, Game 3 starter Jonathan Sanchez held the Phllies to one run on two hits in eight innings of a 5-2 win. One thing seems certain: a match-up of the ages in Game 1 between two-time defending Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum and 2010 frontrunner Roy Halladay. The Giants also feature rookie lefty Madson Bumgarner, who could match up well with the Phillies.
Offense: The Giants have struggled at times this season, finishing ninth in the NL in runs scored and second-to-last in stolen bases. They do have some weapons, including rookie catcher Buster Posey (.305 average, .862 OPS, 18 home runs in 108 games), veteran first baseman Aubrey Huff (.290, .891, 26 HR) and, of course, former Phillie Pat Burrell (.266, .872, 18 HR).