The Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants split their season series this year, 3-3.
In order to better preview the NLCS, it is important to look at each of those six games.
Which pitchers dominated? Were the Phillies able to hit Lincecum? Were the Giants able to hit Halladay?
Game 1: Lincecum vs. Halladay. It is a matchup that baseball enthusiasts dream of.
Game 2: Sanchez vs. Oswalt.
Sanchez has earned two wins against the Phillies this year, but how well did he actually pitch?
Here is a breakdown of the six regular season games between the Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants. It should give us a better picture of how the NLCS will play out.
Halladay: 7 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO, 104 pitches
Sanchez: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 6 SO, 107 pitches
The Giants were able to score two runs in the first inning on a Mark DeRosa single.
Yes, Jonathan Sanchez picked up the win, but he only lasted five innings. The Phillies obviously left too many runners on base when Sanchez was pitching.
If Sanchez is that wild in Game 2, he will not last longer than five innings again. The Philadelphia fans will get on him and the Phillies' bats will take advantage.
Roy Halladay did not have his best performance, but he obviously received no run support.
The bigger story here is that the San Francisco bullpen only allowed one hit in the final four innings of the game.
The two starting pitchers in this game were Jamie Moyer and Todd Wellemeyer. So there is not much you can really take away from this game.
However, reliever Chad Durbin gave up two runs in the seventh inning. Renteria and Sandoval both hit RBI singles off Durbin to give the Giants a 6-1 lead, essentially putting the game away.
One thing to keep in mind during this series is that Jimmy Rollins was not playing because of an injury.
At a big ballpark in San Francisco, missing players like Rollins who can manufacture runs can hurt a team.
The only real highlight of this game is that Pablo Sandoval had two RBIs.
The starting pitchers in this game were Cole Hamels and Tim Lincecum. The game went into the 11th inning, so neither pitcher recorded a decision, but Lincecum clearly outperformed Hamels.
Hamels: 6 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 10 SO, 113 pitches
Lincecum: 8.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 11 SO, 106 pitches
Ryan Howard hit a solo homer in the fifth inning against off Lincecum, but that was really the only damage that was done. Hamels got into trouble in the fifth (1 ER) and sixth inning (3 ER), but still managed to strike out 10 batters.
To be fair to Hamels, he has been a completely different pitcher since June. However, Philadelphia fans maybe should get concerned since Cole will be pitching in San Francisco in Game 3.
After Lincecum got into trouble in the ninth, Brian Wilson came into the game and blew his first save of the season. Jayson Werth hit a three-run double to tie the game at 4-4.
The Phillies scored one run in the top of the 10th, but Ryan Madson blew the save in the bottom of the inning. He later broke his toe kicking something in frustration and missed a significant amount of time.
Wilson Valdez hit an RBI double in the top of the 11th and later scored on an error, which gave Philadelphia a two-run lead. The Giants managed to score one in the bottom half of the inning, but the Phillies avoided the sweep by winning in extras.
Key Facts: Lincecum dominated (except for Howard), Hamels struggled, Phillies hit closer Brian Wilson.
Oswalt: 7 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 7 SO, 106 pitches
Roy Oswalt got into some trouble in the first inning, allowing two runs. One of those runs was due to a solo shot from Pat Burrell in his first regular-season game back in Philadelphia.
He settled down after that, though, allowing only one more run in the next six innings.
The Phillies hit Barry Zito well, but that is now irrelevant since he is not on the playoff roster.
This game had major wild-card implications at the time, as Philadelphia took a one-game lead over San Francisco.
A good sign here for Phillies fans is that Roy Oswalt pitched very well against the Giants at Citizens Bank Park. If he can stay out of trouble in the first inning, Oswalt should pitch at least seven innings.
Roy Oswalt will try to stay undefeated at Citizens Bank Park in Game 2 of the NLCS.
Joe Blanton and Matt Cain were the starting pitchers for their respective teams. This game is very interesting as we could see the same matchup in Game 4 of the NLCS. The only difference being that this game was in Philadelphia.
Cain: 6 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO, 93 pitches
Blanton: 6.1 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 SO, 97 pitches
The two pitchers' performances were pretty much dead even in this game. The main difference was the bad defense behind Cain.
Blanton's two earned runs both came on solo homers. The Phillies took advantage of an error made by Mike Fontenot when Carlos Ruiz hit a two-run single in the bottom of the fourth. Later in the inning, Jimmy Rollins hit a three-run home run.
The San Francisco bullpen (Affeidt and Mota) gave up three earned runs in two innings. The Philadelphia bullpen did not allow a runner to reach base in 2.2 IP.
What to take from this game? If there is going to be a high-scoring game in this series, expect it to come in a matchup between Blanton and Cain.
The game will probably be determined by the play of the bullpen.
The Giants hit Cole Hamels again and the Phillies lost to Jonathan Sanchez again. Will there be similar results in the NLCS?
Hamels: 5 IP, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO, 86 pitches
Sanchez: 8 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO, 100 pitches
This Sanchez definitely earned the win as the Phillies struggled against the left-hander. Should Philadelphia fans worry about Hamels' performances against the Giants?
Hamels struggled right from the beginning of the game, allowing three runs in the first inning. The Phillies did not manage to score a run until the ninth inning.
Ryan Howard did not play in this game, but Utley and Ibanez went a combined 1-for-7 in the game.
Brian Wilson earned a save by recording one out as the Giants avoided the sweep.
So, what can fans take away from this series?
1. Lincecum pitched well against the Phillies.
2. Sanchez earned two wins, although he was not exactly great in the first win.
3. Cole Hamels struggled big-time.
4. The Phillies did damage to San Francisco's bullpen.
The NLCS should consist of multiple close games, maybe one that goes into extras.
The bullpen is pretty much even, with a slight edge to the Giants.
The starting pitching is excellent, with a slight edge to the Phillies.
However, Philadelphia has a better offense and plays much better defense.
Not to mention, much more experience.
Prediction: Philadelphia in five games (Game 1 is the key)