Phillies-Giants scouting report

Posted: October 15, 2010

FIRST BASE

Giants: Aubrey Huff. He has been the definition of a journeyman, playing for five different teams the last 5 years, but was both valuable and versatile in his first year in San Francisco. He also excelled in the outfield while leading the team in batting average (.290), home runs (26) and RBI (86). He hit just six homers after July 31, however, and had just one RBI against the Braves in the NLDS. Was 3-for-29 (.150) against the Phillies during the regular season.

Phillies: Ryan Howard. He improved against lefthanded pitching this season, batting .262 compared to a career .226. That did not carry into the first round, though, when he went 0-for-5 against lefties compared to 3-for-6 against righthanders. The Reds held him without an extra-base hit in the first round, but he was MVP of the 2009 NLCS (.333, two home runs, eight RBI in five games against the Dodgers) and is a career .314 hitter in the second round.

ADVANTAGE: Phillies

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SECOND BASE

Giants: Freddy Sanchez. Batted .343 against lefthanded pitching, fifth highest among all NL hitters with at least 100 at-bats against lefties; .267 against righthanders. He ended the regular season as one of San Francisco's hottest hitters, batting .371 in his final 31 games despite missing three of the final six games with a mild right shoulder strain, but was limited to a pair of singles in 16 at-bats (.125) against Atlanta in the playoffs.

Phillies: Chase Utley. His home run in Game 3 of the NLDS was his 10th postseason homer, a franchise record. He also led the team with four RBI. The Phillies must hope it's a sign he's about to get hot, since it's the only extra-base hit he had. Slowed by thumb surgery at midseason, he appeared to be back on track when he went .313-5-24 with a .426 on-base percentage in his last 30 games of the regular season. He's a career .278 hitter in 10 NLCS games.

ADVANTAGE: Even

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SHORTSTOP

Giants: Juan Uribe. Re-signed last winter as a free agent, he had his most productive season in the big leagues, hitting a career-high 24 homers and driving in 85 runs, but has been slumping lately. He went 9-for-38 (.237) in his last 11 games of the regular season and hit just .071 in the NLDS with no extra-base hits and five strikeouts in 14 at-bats. He was a notably better hitter at AT&T Park (.280 with an .813 OPS) than on the road (.215 with a .685 OPS) in 2010.

Phillies: Jimmy Rollins. Nobody expected him to be 100 percent when the playoffs started after he missed nearly half of the season with leg-related injuries. But manager Charlie Manuel hoped that batting him down in the order, combined with Rollins' penchant for rising to the occasion, would make up for that when the postseason started. Instead, J-Roll managed just a single in 11 at-bats for an .091 average. Maybe playing the Giants will ignite the Bay Area native.

ADVANTAGE: Giants

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THIRD BASE

Giants: Pablo Sandoval. He split time with Mike Fontenot in the first round. The Panda quickly became a fan favorite when he finished second in the NL in hitting with a .330 batting average in 2009, his first full year in the majors. But he hit just .227 vs. LHPs and .208 on the road this season. Fontenot, acquired from the Cubs at midseason, hit just .214 against lefties. In the NLDS, they went a combined 2-for-12 (.167) with no RBI.

Phillies: Placido Polanco. He played most of the year with a sore left elbow and also sat out Game 1 of the NLDS with back tightness. So maybe it's not surprising that he batted just .111 after returning to the lineup. Still, he's one of the best situational hitters on the team, which figures to be even more important against the dominant Giants pitching. And the long break between the first and second rounds can only help him.

ADVANTAGE: Phillies

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CATCHER

Giants: Buster Posey. The first rookie catcher in history to bat cleanup in a postseason game, which says something about the impact he had after being called up on May 29. He tailed off offensively at the end of the season, batting just .217 in his last 22 games but still finished with a .305 average and hit .375 in the NLDS. Most impressive was his 3.18 catcher's ERA, second only to Yorvit Torrealba, of St. Louis (3.14), among catchers with at least 75 starts.

Phillies: Carlos Ruiz. He became Senor Octobre last year when he batted .308 in the NLDS, .385 in the NLCS and .333 in the World Series and carried that into the 2010 season when he led the team with a .302 average. He didn't match those lofty numbers in the first round, but it certainly couldn't be considered a fluke if he got hot before the postseason ends. And, even if he doesn't, his work behind the plate makes him one of the team's most important players.

ADVANTAGE: Even

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LEFTFIELD

Giants: Pat Burrell. He had been released by the Tampa Bay Rays when the Giants committed just $300,000 to see if the 33-year-old had anything left. He did. Burrell hit 16 homers after being added to the roster on May 29 and seven of them either tied the score or gave San Francisco a lead. While he hit just .213 against lefthanders for the season, his average after joining the Giants was .257. His .364 on-base percentage was second best on the team.

Phillies: Raul Ibanez. He batted .370 with four homers and 18 RBI in his last 23 games of the regular season. He wasn't able to carry that into the NLDS, going 3-for-12. But his .250 average was comfortably above the team's .212 and his double was one of just four extra-base hits the Phillies had in the first round.

ADVANTAGE: Even

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CENTERFIELD

Giants: Andres Torres. He was the team's Willie Mac winner, given annually to the most inspirational player on the team. In his 13th professional year, he had a breakout season, adding speed to a slow offense and defense. Batted just .167 in the final month during which he also underwent an appendectomy and went just 2-for-16 (.125) in the NLDS without an extra-base hit or RBI. Switch-hitter batted just .226 against lefthanders during the regular season.

Phillies: Shane Victorino. He batted leadoff during the NLDS, recognition that Jimmy Rollins isn't all the way back from leg injuries that hampered him this year. While he thrived there - his .276 average and .375 OBP were the highest of any spot in the order at which he had significant appearances - he batted just .231 in the NLDS against the Reds. Still, he's had a lot of postseason success and it's important for the Phillies that he get going.

ADVANTAGE: Phillies

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RIGHTFIELD

Giants: Cody Ross. He was claimed on waivers from the Marlins, reportedly to block him from going to the division rival Padres and had just seven RBI in 33 regular-season games after that. Then he drove in the only run in the Giants' 1-0, NLDS Game 1 victory against the Braves. He's very familiar with the Phillies after playing for Florida from 2006-10 but was just 6-for-41 (.146) against them this season with no extra-base hits or RBI.

Phillies: Jayson Werth. Accounted for five of the 14 strikeouts the Phillies had in the NLDS and often looked like he was trying to hit pitches completely out of the park. Usually one of the team's most patient hitters, he also walked just once while batting .167. He's the biggest righthanded power threat the Giants will have to contend with. In the last 2 years, he's a .205 hitter in the NLCS, but has three homers in 10 games.

ADVANTAGE: Phillies

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STARTING PITCHING

Giants: RHP Tim Lincecum, RHP Matt Cain, LHP Jonathan Sanchez, LHP Madison Bumgarner. San Francisco's rotation gave up just three earned runs in four games against the Braves in the NLDS and the first three had an 0.39 earned run average. Lincecum, coming off back-to-back Cy Young Awards, had a 3.80 ERA going into September but reportedly began to take his conditioning more seriously and finished by going 5-1, 1.94 the rest of the regular season. He followed it up with a 14-strikeout, complete-game, two-hit shutout to open the NLDS. Cain's 13-11 regular-season record is misleading. His 3.14 ERA was tied for eighth lowest among NL pitchers with at least 200 innings. The Giants scored three or fewer runs in 16 of his 33 starts. Sanchez also finished strong, going 4-1, 1.03 in his last seven starts. His potential dominance is demonstrated by his 205 strikeouts and 142 hits allowed in 193 1/3 innings. His command issues are highlighted by the fact that he also led the NL with 96 walks. Bumgarner is a terrific rookie who has already thrown 199 innings this year (including minors) after a previous career-high of 141 1/3.

Phillies: RHP Roy Halladay, RHP Roy Oswalt, LHP Cole Hamels, RHP Joe Blanton. Halladay set the tone for the NLDS sweep over Cincinnati with a no-hitter in Game 1, and his matchup against Tim Lincecum in the NLCS opener could be an instant classic. Oswalt gave up four runs, three earned, in five innings of Game 2 and said afterward he felt a little "rusty" after a long layoff. But that's nothing compared to the at least 8 days he'll get between starts this time around. That's why both he and Blanton pitched simulated games this week. Hamels pitched a complete-game shutout in Game 3 of the NLDS, but consider: He had a 3.34 ERA in day games this season (4.27 career) compared to 2.97 at night in 2010 and 3.20 lifetime. Game 3 of the NLCS at AT&T Park will be played in the sunlight. Blanton figures to be back in the rotation for Game 4 after being available - but not used - in relief during the NLCS.

ADVANTAGE: Even

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BULLPEN

Giants: RHP Brian Wilson (closer), RHP Sergio Romo, LHP Javier Lopez, RHP Ramon Ramirez, RHP Santiago Casilla, LHP Jeremy Affeldt, RHP Guillermo Mota. San Francisco's bullpen had a 2.99 ERA this season, second lowest in the league. The relievers ended the regular season with 24 straight scoreless innings but had a 4.00 ERA in the NLDS. Wilson led the majors with 48 saves, struck out 93 in 74 2/3 innings but blew a save opportunity in Game 2, the only game the Giants lost. Romo was one of the Giants' workhorses, appearing in 68 games but was hit hard in the NLDS, giving up three earned runs in just two-thirds of an inning in a pair of appearances. Lopez, acquired from Pittsburgh at the trade deadline, had a 1.42 ERA from Aug. 1 to the end of the season. Ramirez, acquired from Boston, had an 0.67 ERA in 25 games after the trade. Casilla had a 1.95 ERA during the regular season.

Phillies: RHP Brad Lidge (closer), RHP Ryan Madson, RHP Chad Durbin, LHP J.C. Romero, LHP Antonio Bastardo. Phillies relievers logged fewer innings than any NL team during the regular season and that trend continued in the postseason as they were needed for just four innings in the three-game sweep of Cincinnati. Those were four shutout innings, however, and included a save by Lidge, who continued his remarkable turnaround. Set-up man Madson was stellar down the stretch. A key is Romero, the only experienced lefthander in the 'pen. He faced two batters and retired them both in the first round. Durbin and Contreras have been dependable workhorses all season.

ADVANTAGE: Giants

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