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By Michael Tapia

The stage is set and the players are ready for what many say will be a historical pitching showdown between the Philadelphia Phillies and San Francsico Giants. If you are a fan of great pitching then this is the perfect series; the Phillies and the Giants feature six of baseball most acclaimed starters in their rotations.

This year’s National League Championship Series is loaded with pitching talent, both aces in each of the rotation are Cy Young winners and their counterparts have been selected to multiple all-star games. Both Roy Halladay of the Phillies and Tim Lincecum of the Giants have won a combined three Cy Young awards; and their teammates Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels (Phillies) and Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez (San Francisco) account for five all-star game selections.

Game 1 of this series will be very exciting, as this will match-up arguably the two best pitchers in the National League – Roy Halladay (21-10, 2.44 ERA, 214K’s) vs. Tim Lincecum (16-10, 3.43 ERA, 231 K’s). With numbers like these you cannot expect nothing short of a pitching duel to remember for years to come. Avid baseball fans call this the battle of “The Freak” (Lincecum) vs. “Doc” (Halladay), will the Phillies be devoured or the Giants be cured remains to be seen as it is too close to be called. Lincecum is a strikeout mastermind and Halladay is a complete game stud.

Game 2 will have, Jonathan Sanchez (13-9 3.07 ERA, 205 Ks) versus Roy Oswalt (13-13, 2.76 ERA, 193 K’s) on the mound. These two pitchers have an electrifying arsenal and with both striking out circa 200 batters during the regular season expect K’s in the double digits.

Game 3 will take the series to San Francisco where Cole Hamels (12-11, 3.06 ERA, 211 K’s) will be facing Matt Cain (13-11, 3.14 ERA, 177 Ks) will be facing. Both of these pitchers are very talented, with Cain selected to the 2009 All-Star Game and Hamels selected in 2007. Do not be surprised if this game is decided in the later innings with two starters of such high caliber.

Game 4 will not be as highly coveted as the first three, but both of the starters have potential to become all stars in the near future. Joe Blanton (9-6, 4.82 ERA, 134 K’s) will match up against Madison Bumgarner (7-6 3.00 ERA, 86 K’s). Blanton was part of the 2008 World Series championship Phillies team and Bumgarner has been a promising prospect in what has been successful pitching recruiting by the Giants.

With pitching match-ups being so tight between both teams, this series has to come down to hitting. It is more than evident that with, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Jason Werth the Phillies have the more powerful offense. The Giants are lacking slugging with Aubrey Huff, Buster Posey, Juan Uribe and Freddy Sanchez and only two hitting more than 20 home runs the Giants do not pose much of a threat to the Phillies’ powerful rotation.

Because Bumgarner has somewhat of an edge over Blanton, the Giants might win Game 4, which projects the Phillies winners in five. This pitching bonanza begins Saturday at 7:30 PM EST.


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