To put the significance of this pitching matchup in context, consider the following. According to
With that established, one of these two teams has to win this game, be it by beating one of these two dominating aces, or by outlasting them and getting to the relievers that follow them. Predicting a single baseball game, particularly one featuring two such closely matched starting pitchers, is a fool's errand, but that doesn't stop us from trying to find areas where one team might have the edge over the other.
In a way this matchup is representative of this entire series. For all of the hype about the Phillies H2O starters, both teams have deep and extremely talented starting rotations.
In that department, there is no comparison. The Phillies have far and away the superior lineup one-through-eight. The Giants' best hitters are
The gap between the two offenses will likely become even more significant if this game is passed to the bullpens. The Giants had the superior pen over the course of the entire 2010 season, but in the Division Series, San Francisco's bearded bullpen blew two saves against a similarly weak Braves attack, with set-up man
Still, the real story of this game will be the performances of the two starters. Halladay has allowed two hits and walked one in 18 scoreless innings over his last two starts. Lincecum has struck out 34 men in 24 innings while and allowing just two runs over his last three starts. That these two men will face each other not just tonight, but likely again in Game 5 of this series, is a gift from the baseball gods. Enjoy it.