As if this series hasn't had enough big names on the hill, Cole Hamels will meet Matt Cain tonight in Game 3 of the NLCS in San Francisco. The Phillies overcame their past failures against Jonathan Sanchez to win Game 2, 6-1, and even the series at a game a piece.
Hamels was lights out in his last start against the Cinncinnati Reds in the NLDS. He threw a complete game, five hit shutout — a nice bounce back from a disappointing 2009 postseason in which he had a 7.58 ERA in four starts.
The Giants haven't been able to muster much offense so far against the Phillies, or for much of the postseason for that matter. As a team, they're hitting a pitiful .194 in the LCS and have four extra base hits, including the three home runs by Cody Ross. Giants' manager, Bruce Bochy, has said he may give Pablo Sandoval a start tonight at third base if Juan Uribe is still unable to play because of a wrist injury and replace the struggling Andres Torres with Aaron Rowand in center field. Edgar Renteria would play shortstop.
While the NLCS can't touch the ratings the ALCS has seen, mainly because the Yankees aren't involved, it has bigger names taking the mound night after night. Matt Cain pitched well in his division series start against the Reds — 6.2 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO — but took a no decision. He'll be pitching on ten days rest, the longest layoff of his career.
The Giants will need to get some offense going tonight against Hamels, something they did well during the regular season. Hamels went 0-1 in two starts against San Francisco, surrendering 16 hits in 11 IP to the tune of a 7.36 ERA. However, Hamels looked as dominate against the Reds as he has at any point in the season and if he can contain Cody Ross, aka the Giants' entire offense, he should be able to seal a win tonight for the Phillies.