Power Ranking 20 Batter-Pitchers Matchups We'd Love To See This Postseason

Matt Esposito@@mattaespositoCorrespondent IOctober 18, 2010

Power Ranking 20 Batter-Pitchers Matchups We'd Love To See This Postseason

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 06:  Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches during his no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park on October 6, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.The Phillies defeated the Reds
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Crunch time in the 2010 MLB postseason is here. The San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers are all trying to determine who will square off in the 2010 World Series.

    Showcased on these teams are a handful of baseball's biggest names. So both league championship series could come down to a great deal of individual matchups within each series.

    The intensity is always there because of intriguing standoffs between hitters and pitchers. Here are is a handful of some of the (many) most-anticipated batter-pitcher matchups that fans will love to see down the stretch here in the 2010 MLB postseason.

20. Raul Ibanez Versus C.J. Wilson

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 15: C.J. Wilson #36 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the New York Yankees in Game One of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 15, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Ge
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    When it comes to the lefty arm of C.J. Wilson, left-handed hitter Raul Ibanez cowers in fear. Ibanez has hit just a career 2-for-19 against Wilson. It will be interesting to see if these two square off because Ibanez has always been a formidable hitter against left-handed pitching and has been clutch for the Phillies the past few years. All eyes will be on him to see if he can derail Wilson's typical dominance over him.

    Besides, Wilson has grown into being very fun to watch. Wilson packs heat, but he did lead the AL in walks however, so if he gets sloppy, Ibanez will have to take advantage for once in his career.

19. Alex Rodriguez Versus Roy Oswalt

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 15:  Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees  reacts after he struck out in the second inningagainst the Texas Rangers in Game One of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 15, 2010 in
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Alex Rodriguez quietly put together an All-Star season. It wasn't incredible, but it was typical of his ability. After getting traded to the Phillies, Roy Oswalt returned to a very dominant form.

    A matchup between these two would likely be intense, considering A-Rod's brief ownership over Oswalt in the past. He's hit 3-for-7 against Oswalt with a home run and three RBI. A-Rod has been relatively quiet, so he could use this matchup as an opportunity to put a dent in the Phillies in a potential World Series matchup.

18. Buster Posey Versus Phil Hughes

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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 08:  Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants bats against the Atlanta Braves in game 2 of the NLDS at AT&T Park on October 8, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Expect Buster Posey to be under the microscope if the Giants advance to the World Series.

    Posey goes hard after right-handed starting pitching and has been a pure road hitter throughout most of the season, which will be interesting if he tackles Yankee Stadium.

    Prior to Game 2 of the ALCS, Hughes looked fantastic, so it will be interesting to see if the ALDS Hughes shows up if the Yankees advance to the World Series.

    Posey and Hughes certainly wouldn't be a marquee matchup, but for two young stars, it could be the start of postseason rivalry if their first faceoff turns out to be extremely one-sided.

17. Robinson Cano Versus Neftali Feliz

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 16:  Neftali Feliz #30 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the New York Yankees in Game Two of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 16, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    This has excellent at-bat written all over it. You take the most dominant rookie reliever in the American League and toss him out there against a potential MVP candidate.

    Neftali Feliz has blossomed as the Rangers closer and Robinson Cano is proving that he swings one of the best bats in baseball right now. These two would face off in an epic struggle, depending on the situation.

    For this to be an interesting matchup, it would likely have to come during a save situation in which Cano represents the winning run, considering what would be at stake and what Cano is capable of in just about any clutch situation.

16. Mark Teixeira Versus Tim Lincecum

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 15:  Mark Teixeira #25 of the New York Yankees celebrates after the Yankees recorded the final out of the game in their 6-5 win against the Texas Rangers in Game One of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in A
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    In this battle between hard throwing Tim Lincecum, Mark Teixeira, who has really stepped his game up since the beginning of the year, would definitely be challenged.

    Teixeira has spent most of his year recovering from a slow start, but he could still light things up against the freakish arm of Lincecum. These two have only faced each other twice. The star power here makes the matchup intense, especially because of the way each player has been turning their game around since either the halfway point of the year, or since the playoffs have begun.

15. Cody Ross Versus Cliff Lee

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 17:  Cody Ross #13 of the San Francisco Giants hits a solo home run in the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Two of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 17, 2010 in Philadelphia
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    So when was the last time anyone has cared about Cody Ross? Well, to be honest, the Giants have valued his contributions off the bench this year. And he's been the talk of the town after already hitting three home runs in the NLCS, two off Roy Halladay.

    If the Giants make the World Series, Cody Ross is on the verge of being recognized. Ross has stepped up to the plate against Cliff Lee twice in his career. He struck out once. But his one hit against Lee was a grand slam.

    Hitting .284 against lefties in 2010 the unlikely hero, Ross, could continue to make some big plays.

14. The Yankees Versus Madison Bumgarner

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    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 11:  Starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants pitches in the first inning to the Atlanta Braves during Game Four of the NLDS of the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Turner Field on October 11, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Ph
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The idea of Madison Bumgarner tackling the Yankees might not carry so much in terms of glamor, but with the way he has been pitching recently, it would be interesting to see if his ability could continue to develop if the Giants continue to advance in the playoffs.

    The 21-year-old posted an ERA of 3.00 with 86 strikeouts in 18 starts in 2010. He pitched six quality innings against the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS, in which struck out five, allowing just two runs.

    A young pitcher with his promise starting in the playoffs is another rarity. Giants fans and baseball fans alike would love nothing more to see how he could fare against a perennial postseason powerhouse like the New York Yankees in the World Series.

13. Chase Utley Versus CC Sabathia

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 17:  Chase Utley #26 of the Philadelphia Phillies connects for a long fly ball out to advance the runners against the San Francisco Giants in Game Two of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 17, 201
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Sabathia v. Utley—Something's gotta give. Utley hits .294 against lefties, lefties hit .261 against Sabathia, .238 career

    Something has to give. Chase Utley hits .294 against left-handed pitching. Left-handed hitters batted just .261 against CC Sabathia in 2010, .238 during his career.

    This matchup is driven by these numbers and by how high-profile it would be. Utley has spent most of the year bouncing back from injury and Sabathia is a Cy Young candidate looking to win another championship with the defending champ Yankees.

12. Left-Handed Hitters Versus Jonathan Sanchez

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 17:  Jonathan Sanchez #57 of the San Francisco Giants pitches in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Two of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 17, 2010 in Philadelphia, Penn
    Pool/Getty Images

    The only thing that can hinder Sanchez in his starts is his spotty control. Other than that, he is in most cases torture on left-handed hitting. Lefties hit .181 against him in 2010. It will be up to big-name lefty bats like Robinson Cano, Josh Hamilton, or an improving Curtis Granderson to break the barrier that Sanchez has put up between him and lefty sluggers.

    If Sanchez can get a hold on lineups without walking the house, he can pitch that much deeper into the game. Cano and Hamilton definitely have it in them to crack to his lefty dominance.

11. Curtis Granderson Versus Cole Hamels

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 16:  Curtis Granderson #14 of the New York Yankees bats against the Texas Rangers in Game Two of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 16, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Stephen Dun
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    These two have never faced each other before, making the potential face off much more interesting knowing that Curtis Granderson has really gotten his act together at the plate against southpaw starters.

    Cole Hamels has been mostly dominant against left-handed hitting all year, with their batting average against sitting right below .200. Hamels will hope to prevent a surging Granderson from generating any more offense.

10. Ryan Howard Versus CC Sabathia

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    CINCINNATI - OCTOBER 10: Ryan Howard #6 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits a single against the Cincinnati Reds during Game 3 of the NLDS at Great American Ball Park on October 10, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    If the Phillies meet up with the Bronx Bombers in the World Series, last years NLCS MVP Ryan Howard will surely be looking to make some noise, especially if he has the opportunity to do so against Yankee ace CC Sabathia.

    Howard looks comfortable thus far in the NLCS, with three hits and he is 3-8 lifetime against Sabathia. Ryan Howard is one of those guys who is capable of turning things around and raking against left-handed pitching. In 2010, a .264 batting average and 12 homers against southpaws isn't too shabby.

9. The American League Versus Tim Lincecum

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 16:  Pitcher Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game One of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 16, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Phot
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    With all of the no-hitters tossed this year, and with his shaky regular season outings, Tim Lincecum has been a bit overshadowed by a handful of other pitchers in 2010. He's come back strong in the postseason, especially last time out in his NLCS Game 1 start against Roy Halladay and the Phillies. He went seven strong innings, striking out eight and outpitching his counterpart.

    So how would he fare against American League hitting that rarely gets the opportunity to take a few hacks at him. Seeing the big bats like Josh Hamilton, Vlad Guerrero, Mark Teixeira, A-Rod and Cano line up against him would make for a beatdown from either side. Any Lincecum start in the World Series would be a fun struggle to watch.

8. Cody Ross Versus Cole Hamels

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 16:  Cody Ross #13 of the San Francisco Giants reacts after a fifth inning home run against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game One of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 16, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pe
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    Cody Ross just keeps popping up all over the place here, which is extremely out of the ordinary. In all honestly, his bat this postseason has been, and will continue to be, intriguing.

    Fun fact: nobody has hit more career home runs against Hamels than Ross. Ross has launched a home run off of Cole Hamels four times. With three already in this NLCS, Ross could ride this hot streak right into a matchup against Hamels where he could be feeling right at home. 

7. Derek Jeter Versus Roy Halladay

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 16:  Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees reacts against the Texas Rangers in Game Two of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 16, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Get
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Let's face it, it hasn't been Derek Jeter's year. A perfect recovery from a down year on his part would be to put some kind of a dent in Roy Halladay's numbers in this potential World Series matchup. Jeter has been the postseason leader in the Yankees' organization for years now, so it would be only fitting if he could make some moves against the unstoppable Roy Halladay in a crucial situation.

    Jeter has only hit .234 against Halladay, dating back to his days with the Toronto Blue Jays. It seems as though Halladay has always had Jeter backed into a corner, but it would be even more legendary of Jeter can break free of it during the 2010 World Series if each team makes it.

6. The Phillies Versus Cliff Lee

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    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 12:  Pitcher Cliff Lee #33 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during Game 5 of the ALDS at Tropicana Field on October 12, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    For the sake of the drama, each time Cliff Lee would take the field in a Phillies vs. Rangers series would be fantastic. Nothing would be more colossal than Lee returning to the home of the team that let him go and making a statement at his old stomping grounds in Philadelphia.

    On that same token, Phillie fans would love nothing more for than for their team to win the World Series in four games, and picking up the series win against Lee. This would make for a compelling story of the Phillies and Rangers square off in the big series.

5. Buster Posey Versus Mariano Rivera

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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 13:  Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants watches his teammates warm up during a workout session in preparation for the National League Championship Series at AT&T Park on October 13, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Ph
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    If the Giants and Yankees meet up in the World Series, there's no telling who will end up needing to come up with the big hit. It would be a safe assumption that Buster Posey would end up getting in on some of that clutch hitting action.

    Imagine if Buster Posey squared off against Mariano Rivera.

    You'd have one of the best young players of his generation going heads up against the best and oldest relief pitcher of his generation. If Posey could come up with clutch hits late in a game against Rivera, he would certainly be tagged for entering baseball manhood.

4. Josh Hamilton Versus C.C. Sabathia

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 15:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers rounds the bases on his 3-run home run in the bottom of the first inning against the New York Yankees in Game One of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    There isn't any reason not to be enticed by a plate appearance involving Josh Hamilton and CC Sabathia. Sabathia suppresses left-handed hitting while Hamilton has cranked against just about everyone. Hamilton hit .359 in 2010, leading the AL and has fared well in unfavorable pitching matchups, hitting .271 against lefties and .308 against southpaw starters.

    Hamilton can do it all for the Rangers and Sabathia is leading arm in the Yankees rotation. That says it all about what could become of these two battling each other.

3. Robinson Cano Versus Cliff Lee

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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 08:  Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Yankees warms up prior to game three, to take place on October 9, of the America League Division Series against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium on October 8, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New
    Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    Speaking of hitters that can do it all; Robinson Cano. Cliff Lee takes on the Yankees for the first time this postseason tonight, and out of anyone in the lineup, he could be fearing Cano. Cano evens the playing field by hitting .285 against lefties, and he's found success there throughout his career.

    The kicker is that in his career, Cliff Lee has held Cano to .214 hitting.

    This is just another one of those high-profile at bat situations that will undoubtedly get the most attention.

2. Josh Hamilton Versus Roy Halladay

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 16:  Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants in Game One of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 16, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylv
    Pool/Getty Images

    At this point, these rankings are all about the best players that the remainder of the playoffs have to offer. Josh Hamilton and Roy Halladay certainly fit that caliber of players.

    No need to reiterate on Hamilton's ability, but he'd be facing a pitcher in Halladay who has tossed a pair of no-hitters during the calendar year, a pitcher who tossed 250 innings in the regular season, and probably the most dominant arm out there.

    This batter and pitcher matchup is simply star-studded.

1. Robinson Cano Versus Roy Halladay

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    BOSTON - OCTOBER 2:  Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Yankees smiles after hitting a solo home run in the third inning during the first game of a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park October 2, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by J
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Last but not least, we have arguably the best of the best hitting against the best of the best pitching this postseason. Cano has already gone deep at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, so he'll threaten Roy Halladay's big reputation in this potential World Series pairing.

    Cano hits well against lefties, but he hits even more effectively against right-handed pitching, representing the biggest offensive weapon in the Yankee lineup. Cano has a pair of home runs in his career off of Halladay, but other than that he's been quiet.

    Halladay will need to bring his most potent game to the table if he takes on Cano and the Yankees.

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