Oct 122010
Giants ace Tim Lincecum

Giants ace Tim Lincecum

October 12 Philadelphia Inquirer:

“Memo to the scoreboard operator at Citizens Bank Park: Bring some reading material for the National League Championship Series, because chances are you won’t be very busy.

San Francisco emerged Monday night as the club that stands in the way of the Phillies‘ quest for a third straight World Series appearance, and the Giants have the pitching to make matters quite uncomfortable.

In another white-knuckle game, the Giants advanced by edging the Atlanta Braves, 3-2, at Turner Field to win the NL division series, three games to one. The game ended with closer Brian Wilson getting Melky Cabrera on a grounder to third with runners on first and second.

“We’ve played them well in the past,” Wilson said of the Phillies. “Now it’s up for grabs. I’ve never been to the postseason, but I like our chances.”

The NLCS begins Saturday with a dream pitching matchup between arguably the two best righthanders in the game – Roy Halladay vs. Tim Lincecum, a skinny, long-haired 175-pounder who has won two NL Cy Young Awards, even though he’s 26 years old.

The loss ended the 29-year managerial career of Bobby Cox, who took Atlanta to the brink of the NLCS despite a roster ravaged by injuries to key players. As the Giants celebrated on the field, Braves fans chanted, “Bobby . . . Bobby,” and the 69-year-old manager waved his cap to the cheering crowd.

“I got a chance to play against him for five years,” said Giants rightfielder Cody Ross, who homered and drove in the go-ahead run with a single in the seventh. “I love coming in here seeing him. I want to congratulate the Braves on a fine season and him on a great career.”

The Giants’ four starters allowed the Braves three runs over 29 innings, and they had to be good because runs are hard to come by for the West Division champions.

The series will return Pat Burrell and Aaron Rowand to Philadelphia, although Rowand is no longer a starter.

But the series will be about pitching, which seems appropriate in the year of the pitcher.

The Giants took two of three from the Phillies in late April in San Francisco, then the Phillies came back and won two of three from the Giants at Citizens Bank Park in mid-August.

Lefthander Jonathan Sanchez was the Giants‘ most effective pitcher against the Phillies, beating them twice by 5-1 and 5-2 scores. Sanchez has been at his best in the last month. In his last eight starts, including Monday’s Game 3 of the NLDS, he has allowed more than one earned run only once.”

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