Well, that’s it. It’s over. The Great Campaign of 2010, thought by many to end with a shiny Commissioner’s Trophy, is finished, wrecked by the Cinderella Giants.
It’s been over 48 hours since Ryan Howard stared at Brian Wilson’s offering that caught the outer edge of the plate, and like him, we are all still a bit catatonic, unable to comprehend what just happened. I suppose that’s why I didn’t write a recap of Game Six. There was no sense in writing about something that I didn’t grasp, and to try would have been an act of futility. It’s much different than 2009, where the season didn’t end with the looming question of Where did it all go wrong? It felt like the Phillies made it to a World Series in which they likely didn’t belong, with a less talented rotation, a questionable bullpen and an offense that had its share of problems.
There are gutsy postseason players, and then there’s Roy Halladay, whose performance in Game Five of the National League Championship Series – all on a balky groin – helped push the Phillies past the Giants and the series back to Philadelphia.
His outing, which saw him give up two earned over six, never had the look and feel of a typical Doc start (that is to say, he didn’t dominate the hitters), but was good enough to keep the Giants’ bats at bay, while the offense put up just enough runs to avoid the series loss.
According to Todd Zolecki, Doc felt the pull in the second inning, but was able to gut it out the rest of the way. It certainly explains his lack of velocity, command, and perennial dominance that is normally on display during one of his starts.
But The Ace gutted it out over six innings and ended with a flourish, as he struck out two in the sixth inning to stymie a Giants rally.
The Phillies’ offense, which showed signs of life during Game Four, came alive in the third inning against Tim Lincecum, wen they strung together three hits to score three runs, with the big blows coming on a two-run error from Aubrey Huff, followed by an RBI single from Placido Polanco to make it a 3-1 Phillies lead. Jayson Werth added a huge insurance run in the top of the ninth when he blasted a solo shot over the high wall in right field.
The Giants would add another run to the line of Halladay, but were held in check for the rest of the night by the Phillies bullpen, who tossed three shutout innings, including a pair of perfect frames from Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge.
One night after a heartbreaking loss that pushed their backs up against a wall, the Phillies once again rallied behind Halladay to keep baseball alive for at least one more game, while simultaneously illustrating just how great of a pitcher Roy Halladay is. He battled for the final five innings with an injury and a lack of control and velocity, yet still had enough to keep the Phillies alive. It’s a sight to behold.
The series returns to Philadelphia on Saturday, when Roy Oswalt, who allowed one run over eight innings in Game Two, will match up again with Jonathan Sanchez, who was wildly effective over seven innings, where he allowed two runs on five hits and three walks.
Roy Halladay (W, 1-1) allowed two runs on six hits and two walks. He struck out five.
Placido Polanco went 1 for 3 with an RBI.
Jayson Werth went 1 for 4 with a homer (2) and an RBI.
Raul Ibanez went 2 for 4 with a run.
Brad Lidge (S, 1) struck out one in a perfect ninth inning.
Tim Lincecum (L, 1-1) allowed three runs (two earned) in seven innings on four hits and a walk. He struck out seven.
Andres Torres went 2 for 3 with a run.
Pat Burrell with 1 for 4 with a double (2) and a run.
Cody Ross went 1 for 4 with a double (2) and an RBI.
One of the challenges of being a baseball writer is having to keep things fresh over a 162 game season, especially when it comes to forming some sort of narrative about the team on a day-to-day basis. At a certain point, the games tend to blend into one another and there is only so many ways to describe Doc’s great outing or Cole’s poor run support or Werth’s struggles with runners in scoring position.
It’s all we can do to keep things original, but it admittedly becomes difficult when it’s the same thing every day. The players are not immune to that either, as they usually get asked the same questions after every game and respond with the same answers.
Point is, sometimes it gets really difficult to find new ways to say the same thing over and over again, something that apparently doesn’t bother one writer for the San Jose Mercury News, who took it upon himself to cast Philadelphians in the same pall as every other writer before him.
In his column, Bruce Newman rehashes the tired old stories about Philadelphia, including Santa Claus, J.D. Drew, Michael Irvin, the taser kid, and the vomit kid – all the old standards. Not to be outdone, Newman finds some new ways to put down the city.
Cole Hamels was unable to replicate his NLDS performance, as the Philadelphia Phillies fell to the San Francisco Giants in Game Three of the National League Championship Series as the N.L. West Division champs take a 2-1 lead in the best of seven series.
The Phillies were rendered punchless by Giants starter Matt Cain, who held them scoreless over seven innings. Despite putting a handful of runners on in the early goings, the Phillies were unable to get that one big hit to get them on the board.
The Giants fared better against Hamels, who allowed a pair of two out RBI singles in the bottom of the fifth off the bats of Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff to give San Fran the 2-0 lead. They would add another run in the bottom of the sixth when Freddy Sanchez’s two out liner was misplayed by Chase Utley, which allowed Aaron Rowand to score from second base.
It was all the offense the Giants would need, as a pair of relievers combined with Cain to shutout the Phillies in a playoff game for the first time since 1985 to give them a 2-1 series edge heading into Game Four on Wednesda.y
The Phillies will turn to Joe Blanton, who last started a game on September 29. He will face off against Madison Bumgarner, who allowed two runs in six innings in the NLDS versus the Braves.
Cole Hamels (L, 0-1) allowed three earned runs on five hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out eight.
Matt Cain (W, 1-0) allowed no runs on two hits in seven innings. He walked three and struck out five.
Cody Ross went 1 for 3 with an RBI.
Aubrey Huff went 1 for 3 with an RBI.
Behind a stellar start from Roy Oswalt and a clutch double from Jimmy Rollins, the Philadelphia Phillies evened up the National League Division Series, as they downed the San Francisco Giants, 6-1, to bounce back from their Game One loss.
Oswalt held the Giants in check over eight innings, as he struck out nine while allowing three hits and one earned run. He was dominant from the start and didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning, while never allowing more than two hitters to reach base in an inning.
His counterpart, Jonathan Sanchez, was not so lucky, despite only allowing two earned runs over his six-plus innings. He lacked command early on, as he ran up a high pitch count in the first inning thanks to three walks, one with the bases loaded that gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead.
After Cody Ross his a solo homer in the fifth to break up Roy Oswalt’s no-hitter, the Phillies came right back in the bottom of the frame to retake the lead behind a sacrifice fly from Placido Polanco.
It was all Phillies the rest of the way, as the offense sealed the win in the bottom of the eighth, thanks to a two-out, based loaded double from Jimmy Rollins to give the Phillies a 6-1 lead. Oswalt would also single to leadoff the inning, and would later come around to score on a single from Polanco.
The Phillies take their World Series hopes on the road to San Francisco, where they will send Cole Hamels (1-0, 0.00) to the mound to face off against Matt Cain (0-0, 0.00).
Roy Oswalt (W, 2-0) allowed one run on three hits in eight innings. He walked three and struck out nine.
Shane Victorino went 2 for 4 with a double (1) and a run.
Placido Polanco went 1 for 3 with a run and two RBIs.
Ryan Howard went 2 for 3 with a double (2) and two walks.
Jimmy Rollins went 2 for 3 with a double (1) and fours RBIs.
Jonathan Sanchez (L, o-1) allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits in six plus innings. He walked three and struck out seven.
Cody Ross went 1 for 3 with a homer (3) and an RBI.
On Saturday, round about Eight-ish in the evening, the Philadelphia Phillies will welcome the San Francisco Giants to town, in what will be one of the most memorable National League Championship Series in recent memory for any number of reasons: The Phils are two-time defending N.L. champs and looking to become the first team since the 1942-44 St. Louis Cardinals to go to three straight World Series, the Giants feature some exciting young players that will get a shot on the big stage, The Battle of the Beards (Werth v Wilson)…
Oh, and it will feature some of the best damn pitching this side of Everywheresville, USA.
Props go to All Star Twitterer ItsStephGrace.
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