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Prediction: Mismatched starters favor San Francisco Giants over Atlanta Braves in NLDS

Tim Lincecum

Tim Lincecum Photo Credit: Getty Images

Atlanta Braves
2nd, NL East (91-71)
Most recent postseason: Lost to Houston 3-1, 2005 NLDS

San Francisco Giants
1st, NL West (92-70)
Most recent postseason: Lost to Florida 3-1, 2003 NLDS
   
The Braves and Giants both clinched playoff berths on the final day of the regular season, and the similarities don’t end there. Both teams have a comparable run differential (S.F. is plus 114, Atlanta is plus 109) and are built on solid pitching (the Giants’ team ERA is 3.36, the Braves’ 3.56) rather than hitting (the Braves bat .258, the Giants .257). Circumstance gives the edge to San Francisco, as Atlanta will be forced to save its top two starting pitchers — Tim Hudson (2.83 ERA) and Tommy Hanson (3.33 ERA) — for Games 2 and 3 due to recent usage. That allows the Giants to give the ball to a well-rested Tim Lincecum (3.43 ERA, 231 Ks) in Game 1 against the pedestrian Derek Lowe (4.00 ERA). San Francisco also matches up well in Games 2 and 3, in which they’ll start Matt Cain (3.14 ERA) and Jonathan Sanchez (3.07 ERA).
Giants in 5

NLDS: Atlanta vs. San Francisco
Game 1: Tomorrow, Atlanta (RHP Derek Lowe, 16-12, 4.00) at San Francisco (RHP Tim Lincecum, 16-10, 3.43), 9:30 p.m. TBS
Game 2: Fri., Atlanta (RHP Tommy Hanson, 10-11, 3.33) at San Francisco (RHP Matt Cain, 13-11, 3.14), 9:30 p.m. TBS
Game 3: Sun., San Francisco (LHP Jonathan Sanchez, 13-9, 3.07) at Atlanta (RHP Tim Hudson, 17-9, 2.83), 4:30 p.m. TBS
Game 4: Mon., San Francisco (LHP Barry Zito, 9-14, 4.15) at Atlanta (TBA), 8:30 p.m.* TBS
Game 5: Wed., Atlanta (TBA) at San Francisco (TBA), 9:30 p.m.* TBS
* if necessary

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