The Giants are the 2010 world champions, it's in the books.
What is the Phillies' answer to the Giants? More pitching. Even willing to let go of all-star outfielder Jayson Werth, instead the Phillies have added Cliff Lee to their already formidable starting rotation. But is this the answer?
Game 1: Roy Halladay gave up all four runs to the Giants, losing, 4-3.
Game 2: Roy Oswalt, pitched like he deserved to win. Beating the Giants, 6-1..
Game 3: Cole Hamels pitched in a losing effort, 3-0 Giants.
Game 4: Joe Blanton, pitched horribly as did Madison Bumgarner. Giants pull through at the end with great bullpen effort, 6-5 Giants.
Game 5: Roy Halladay pitched great but the former two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum out pitched him. Came down to the bullpen with Phillies coming out on top, 4-2 Phillies.
Game 6: Roy Oswalt pitched lights-out again with Jonathan Sanchez coming undone lasting only two innings. But the Giants threw every pitcher and their moms at the Phillies, finishing the series with 3-2 win.
Every game in the NLCS was won and lost within a three-run difference except for Game 2. The Phillies have a far superior offense than the Giants, even without Jayson Werth in the 2011 lineup.
The Giants pitching staff faced much more of a challenge on paper than the Phillies had to with the Giants' mediocre hitting. Every so called "expert" wrote the Giants off. Their reason? No offense.
These "experts" are now ranking Phillies the best starting rotation and team to beat out of the National League due to a Cliff Lee sighting in Philadelphia. Yes, the names in Philadelphia's starting rotation should strike fear to opposing lineups other than Joe Blanton.
They are all formidable contenders for the Cy Young award, well maybe not Cole Hamels. The Cy Young winner Roy Halladay was not a shut-down pitcher like he should have been against "mediocre" Giants hitting.
The only dominant pitcher from the NLCS was Oswalt. Even then, it wasn't so much his great pitching as it was Jonathan Sanchez's horrible pitching and melt down.
Projected fifth starter Barry Zito should not be taken lightly because of his failure to pitch into the postseason. Zito, with his $126 million, seven- year contract has a bulls-eye on his back.
And when you sign for a biggest contract known to mankind for a pitcher and underperform, it's hazardous to your health. But don't be so quick to write Zito off. He was the only thing the Giants had going during early part of the season. And when everyone else struggled, he was a solid No. 2 pitcher next to Matt Cain.
When Barry Zito gets in control of his command and his 12 to six curve ball, lookout! He is unhittable. Talk about health hazard, wait until Cliff Lee struggles with his ginormous new contract especially in Philadelphia. A struggling 32-year-old pitcher with a giant paycheck doesn't look too cute in a sports crazed city.
Talk about underperforming. Fact: Ryan Howard drove in zero runs in this postseason against the Reds and the Giants.
Sure, on paper, Lee, Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels, _____ fill in the blank, look like the best pitching staff to appear since the great Braves starting rotation during the '90s. But Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, Bumgarner and Zito ain't no chopped liver.
Every game but one came down to the last inning in the NLCS. Which you have to not only have great starting rotation, but you also need to have great pen to hold the leads. The Giants come out on top in this category huge with Brian Wilson and everyone in between. The lasting visuals from the NLCS (well, at least one of it I'd say) is Brian Wilson striking out Ryan Howard, looking.
Again, on paper, the Phillies starting rotation looks great, more than great. And if starting four could win you the World Series championship, the Phillies would be the leading candidate.
The Phillies get it. It's pitching. Great pitching will beat great hitting. They understand it, they experienced it the hard way and got Cliff Lee. But is that the answer as the experts claim it to be?
Cliff Lee and the starting rotation isn't the answer. It's a big part of it, but it's the entire pitching staff. From starting rotation and the bullpen. Being able to close out the lead and hold the score within close distance to give offense a chance to win it in the end. Which Cliff Lee and the Rangers should know very well.
The 2010 world champions San Francisco Giants deserve their due respect. It's only been a couple of months since baseball came to a close with the Giants winning it all despite everyone writing them off.
From the Braves to the Phillies to the Rangers, the Giants won convincingly. People call it luck and a hot streak. And luck may happen once, but if that luck happens for three straight series, maybe it's talent, not luck.
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