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Phillies, Giants boast top staffs in majors

Giants ace Tim Lincecum was stellar in his playoff debut. (Associated Press)
Giants ace Tim Lincecum was stellar in his playoff debut. (Associated Press)

PHILADELPHIA – When the Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants meet in the National League Championship Series, runs could be awfully scarce.

These teams have perhaps the two best starting rotations in the majors. For the Phillies, it’s Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. For the Giants, it’s Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez.

The Phillies feature three aces who have 11 All-Star games, one Cy Young Award, one NLCS MVP award, one World Series MVP award, one perfect game and one no-hitter on their impressive resumes.

The Giants’ Big Three have combined for four All-Star games and two Cy Young Awards.

Game 1 is Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park. Get set for The Freak vs. Doc.

Lincecum, the two-time reigning N.L. Cy Young winner, is expected to start for the Giants. Halladay, the leading candidate to win his second Cy this year, should get the ball for the Phillies, even though manager Charlie Manuel wouldn’t commit to announcing his starter.

Halladay finished 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA in his first season in Philadel- phia. He led the majors in wins, complete games (nine), shutouts (four) and innings (250 2/3).

Halladay threw a perfect game in May, and nearly matched that in his playoff debut. He tossed the second no-hitter in postseason history in Game 1 of the division series against Cincinnati.

Lincecum had an up-and-down year after emerging as the most dominant pitcher in the league in his first two full seasons. The hard-throwing righty rebounded in September after a career-worst five-start losing streak in August, and finished 16-10 with a 3.43 ERA.

In his playoff debut, Lincecum tossed a two-hitter with 14 strike- outs in San Francisco’s 1-0 win over Atlanta in Game 1 of their series.

The Giants will use Cain in Game 2, but it’s uncertain whether Oswalt or Hamels goes for Philadelphia.

Oswalt had a so-so outing in Game 2 against the Reds while Hamels closed out the series with a shutout.

“We’ve got pitching, and pitching wins,” Giants left fielder Pat Burrell said.

Burrell, a member of the 2008 World Series champion Phillies, could’ve been referring to his former team, too.

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