Marquee pitching match-ups are what playoff baseball is all about. Men like Curt Schilling and John Smoltz built their legacies in the harsh crucible of October, and now a new set of aces is ready to take center stage and make that sort of impact themselves.

Some, like Texas Rangers ace Cliff Lee, have already established their postseason prowess. For others, like the Giants’ Tim Lincecum and Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay, 2010 will mark a long-awaited playoff debut. The intensity of duels like these put butts in seats, and draw those watching at home up onto their feet to pace the living room. When runs are as scarce as they may be in these contests, every pitch is crucial.

What follows are the five best playoff pitching match-ups of the first round. Baseball connoisseurs, bon appetit.

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