Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Giants - Braves 2010 NLDS preview

If the old saying "Good pitching beats good hitting" holds true then the San Francisco Giants should win the world series.

But they play the games for a reason.

The Giants bring their historically good staff into the first round of the playoffs to face the Atlanta Braves staff which isn't too bad itself.  In fact, the Giants led all of baseball with a 3.36 ERA and the Braves were the third best with a 3.56 ERA.  The most impressive stat coming in to the series though is the fact that the Giants entire pitching staff, not just the starters, has allowed 2 runs or less in 15 of their last 19 games.

The hitting is surprisingly close.  Giants hitters own a .257 season average while the Braves hold a .258 season average.  Also, in perhaps the shocker of the playoffs, the Giants have outhomered the Braves 162-139.  However the Braves hold the edge in runs scored 738-697 seeing as how the Giants are the lowest scoring playoff team from the National league.

In order for the Giants to win this series their pitching needs to keep up it's amazing pace.  If they can continue their run of 2 runs or less then they have this series in the bag.  (Atlanta owns a 5-39 record when scoring 2 runs or less)  The offenses are so closely matched with the Braves having scored 4.6 runs per game this season to the Giants 4.3 runs per game.  This series may come down to which team hits the clutch homerun.

Over the past 2 days there has been a lot of speculation over who will and who won't make the postseason roster.  Most of that speculation has focused of 3 guys:  Barry Zito, Aaron Rowand, and Edgar Renteria.  I really expect all 3 guys to make the roster.  Rowand rakes against Derek Lowe (11-23 .481) and Tim Hudson (8-21 .381) in fact, he has the best numbers against those 2 guys on the team.  So expect to see a lot of Rowand in this series.  Renteria makes the team because realistically he is the only guy other than Juan Uribe who can play shortstop.

That leaves Barry Zito.

Zito has been both brilliant and horrible this season.  He choked his chances of starting in this first series away on Saturday against San Diego.  But I can't even imagine a scenario in which a guy who threw 199 .1 innings for your team doesn't make the postseason roster.  He is one of the few guys on the team with postseason experience, in fact he is the ONLY starter with postseason experince.

But having said all of that, I still believe there is a chance that Zito is left off the postseason roster.

 t's going to be series with a lot of 2-1 and 1-0 games.   Both of these teams have trouble scoring runs (the Braves lost two games out of their last 3 to the Phillies who had absolutely nothing to play for).  But the Giants are just a little bit better at keeping the other team from scoring.

Giants in 4.

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