Their combined 3-0 shutout of the Phillies in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series was already the sixth blanking in 21 postseason games this October.Maybe we should start spelling it 0ctober. The six shutouts have very dramatically extended into the postseason what generally has been classified as baseball's Year of the Pitcher. During the 2010 regular season, the pitching fraternity began to dramatically lash back for a decade-and-a-half of abuse by the game's batters. Led by some of the most vigilant, and talented, members of that fraternity, the shutouts in this postseason are already two more than posted in the last three playoffs combined. In 2007-09, there were four shutouts among the total of 90 playoff games.
This fall's six matches the 2006 total in 30 postseason games. And we are only halfway through the competitive LCS, with the World Series still on tap.We have seen renaissance pitching at its finest and most unrelenting. Roy Halladay's no-hitter over Cincinnati in Game 1 of the NL Division Series was the first of three complete-game shutouts. The Phillies' Cole Hamels (Game 3 NLDS) and the Giants' Tim Lincecum (Game 1 of the NLDS over Atlanta) have contributed to as many route-going shutouts as there had been in the previous 192 postseason games. It would have been four had the Rangers' ninth-inning blowup on Monday in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series not led to Cliff Lee stepping aside for Neftali Feliz to finish that 8-0 victory over the Yankees. Also starting a shutout was Texas' C.J. Wilson (Game 2, ALDS at Tampa Bay). Firing blanks at home in postseason games is old hat to the Giants. Not the San Francisco Giants, mind you. But the franchise is good for two home shutouts every century -- the New York Giants did it most recently in 1917, against the Chicago White Sox in the World Series. Getting shut out in a postseason game definitely is not part of the Phillies' DNA. They had gone 49 playoff games since most recently drawing a blank against the Orioles in Game 5 of the 1983 World Series. "We came in the series and everybody built it up as a pitching series," said Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel. "And so far [through] three games, that's what we've seen." The Yankees hadn't gone quite as long between getting shut out in the postseason. The combined two-hitter by Lee and Feliz was their first naught job in 26 games, since Game 3 of the 2006 ALDS against the Tigers.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.