NLCS Game 5 Preview: Phillies at Giants

A quick preview of Game 5 of the National League Championship Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the San Francisco Giants.

• The Phillies have won six straight Game 5s, the longest streak in postseason history. The Giants have won five straight Game 5s, tied for the second-longest such streak.

• The last two times the Phillies have been down 3-1 in a best-of-seven series, they've won Game 5.

• The Phillies are 4-0 in Game 5s on the road. Their four-game win streak is tied for the second-longest in postseason history.

• On the other hand, the Giants have won four straight home Game 5s. That’s tied for the third-longest streak in postseason history. With a win, they'll tie the Pittsburgh Pirates (from 1909-92) for the second-longest streak. The longest is six, by the New York Yankees from 1976-2001.

Roy Halladay 2010 Season

Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum will take the mound Thursday in a rematch of Game 1. Halladay has pitched twice at AT&T Park in his career, and he’s allowed 10 runs in 12 1/3 innings in those two games.

And this season, the Giants have given him problems. His 5.79 ERA against San Francisco is easily his worst against any team he faced more than once this year.

Cody Ross, who was 3-16 with 0 HR career in the regular season vs Halladay, hit two home runs against him in Game 1. Pat Burrell (.381 in 21 at-bats) and Edgar Renteria (.364 in 11 at-bats) have hit Halladay well in their careers.

At age 26, Lincecum could become the third-youngest Giants pitcher to win the clinching game of a postseason series. It’s a fun list: The top two are Madison Bumgarner (2010 NLDS) and Christy Mathewson (1905 WS).

Most Strikeouts
First Three Career Postseason Games

FROM ELIAS SPORTS BUREAU: Lincecum has 22 strikeouts in his first two postseason games, tying Bob Gibson for the most strikeouts in a player’s first two career postseason games. The record for most strikeouts in a player’s first three postseason games is 31, also by Gibson.

Lincecum will need to be careful in the middle of the Phillies order. Placido Polanco (.333 in nine at-bats), Ryan Howard (.318, three HR in 22 at-bats) and Jayson Werth (.364, two HR in 11 at-bats) have all had success against the Giants starter.

In fact, six of Howard’s seven career hits against Lincecum (three doubles and three home runs) have gone for extra bases!

And Phils manager Charlie Manuel made a move in Game 4, replacing the lefty-hitting Raul Ibanez with right-hander Ben Francisco. Looking ahead to Game 5, who plays left field will be anybody's guess. Ibanez is just 1-for-12 with five strikeouts in his career against Lincecum, but Francisco has never faced him.

• Jeff Nelson will be the home plate umpire in Game 5. Tim Lincecum has never pitched with Nelson calling balls and strikes, and Halladay is 2-2 in four career starts with a 2.83 ERA.

• For Phillies fans, here’s something to hang your hats on. October 21st has been a good day in Phillies history:

1980 - The Phillies win their first World Series, beating the Royals in Game 6.

1993 - Curt Schilling pitches a shutout, with the Phillies down 3-games-to-1 in the World Series to the Blue Jays. The Phillies win 2-0 to force a Game 6.

2009 - The Phillies clinch the NLCS by beating the Dodgers, 10-4, in Game 5.