“Pitching wins championships” is often considered gospel in Major League Baseball. This year’s NLCS might finally prove how true that phrase really is.
The Giants finished third in the majors in starting pitching (3.54 ERA), and the Phillies were fourth (3.55). Each team has a formidable big three, which is a huge reason why both teams are a step away from reaching the World Series.
Not only did the Phillies’ Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt go a collective 13-1 in September, but the trio shined when the lights were the brightest. And the Phillies set a record for least hits allowed in a division series (11) vs. the Reds, the NL’s top offense.
“We have a great pitching staff,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “I’m very confident anytime our starters go out there.”
The Giants’ big three — Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez — is also impressive. But the most celebrated is Lincecum, who has won the last two Cy Youngs Awards.
‘The Freak’ had a dismal August, but bounced back with an exceptional September and a 14-strikeout performance to open the NLDS.