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Learn From a 23-Year Old? The Phillies Can

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, October 21, 2010 12:02 PM | Comments: 34
Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts

It was hard not to notice the kid with the mask on. He’s outstanding behind the plate, calling a very good game for another youngster standing just about 60 feet from him. Next to it, he’d been struggling before Game 4, but broke out of that shell in a big way.

Buster Posey is youthful and poised – he looks about 18 – yet seems to have it all figured out already. With just 108 regular season games under his belt, and now eight more in the postseason, Posey hasn’t even reach a full year. That’s not stopping him from looking the part of all-star backstop.

Through those eight games, Posey is hitting .344 with an OPS of .838. In each of his first six games, he found a way to reach base – the first five with a hit, the sixth Posey went 0-for-3 with a walk. But in that eighth game, the one where the Giants took a 3-1 advantage, nearly choking out any hope the Phillies had of advancing to a third consecutive World Series, Posey had his coming out party.

The 23-year old went 4-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI in the 6-5 walk-off win. Numbers are nice, but it was something else that caught my eye that even the Phillies can learn from.

After the Game 3 loss, Chase Utley and others were examining footage of themselves in the clubhouse following the 3-0 loss; one in which they were completely shut down by Matt Cain. Maybe now they should be looking at tape of Posey’s ninth inning at-bat against Roy Oswalt, a former all-star and NLCS MVP.

In the at-bat, Oswalt challenged Posey immediately with a 94 mph fastball down the middle. He missed, then fouled off three straight pitches all of similar velocity. A rookie move would be to continue to look fastball, but we’ve established that Posey doesn’t think like one. On the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Posey looked at a changeup that just missed the outside corner, setting up a 1-2 count, still in Oswalt’s favor.

Oswalt then threw a decent slider that caught the outer edge of the plate, which Posey deposited into right field. Only a great sliding stop by Jayson Werth kept it from being the winning RBI hit, but what was so impressive was the way Posey handled himself at the dish.

Go back one inning. The Phillies had Jayson Werth on second base following his RBI double scoring Ryan Howard. Jimmy Rollins, Ben Francisco, and Carlos Ruiz each came up to bat and each failed. Each tried their best to pull the ball into the corner, which was the mistake.

We can over-analyze all day what Charlie Manuel should have had Rollins do in that first at-bat following Werth’s double. The correct move may have been a bunt to push Werth 90 feet, but Manuel has too much confidence in the bat of Rollins. Either way, J-Roll had a chance to make his mark and did not. He was given two straight fastballs on the outer edge. It ended in a pop up.

With one out, Ben Francisco, a fastball-fiend, stepped to the plate against the righty Sergio Romo. Ben Fran tried to pull the ball as he normally does and was undone by three straight sliders from Romo, quickly sitting down. Carlos Ruiz lasted just three pitches as well, two swings and misses and one called strike in between.

Both guys pulled off each slider with more force than the one before.

Buster Posey simply took what was given to him and sent the final pitch he saw from Oswalt into right field. An opposite field hit, a novel concept. It’s a fundamental trait often overlooked, and last night, was so by the Phillies. Posey’s base knock set up a game-winning sac fly by Juan Uribe.

Three straight fundamental breakdowns by Rollins, Francisco, and Ruiz left the Phillies wanting more and staring at a deficit they’ve rarely seen over the past few seasons. Were they the only mistakes of the night? Absolutely not. However, Posey’s poise at the dish made these errors in hitting stand out even more.

That was Mr. Posey’s lesson for the day. Will the Phillies pass the test tonight?

Avatar of Pat Gallen

About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1714 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 bostonkate

    Posey is the real deal. He can PLAY. I think many people can learn from him. He was faaaantastic last night. He’s not so hard on the eyes either.

     
  • Posts: 0 AZ Phills fan

    2 things can happen tonight. One is lose and suffer through the offseason. Second is win tonight somehow and win this in 7. My heart is saying the second while my brain is saying the first.

     
  • Posts: 0 Bart Shart

    The Phils will win tonight. The series will come back to Philly. We will win the final two games for the most exciting series in post-season Phillies baseball.

     
  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    Buster Posey on his postgame interview answered questions like a mature ten year vet. Very poised, quite unusual.

     
  • Posts: 0 Phillistein

    LOL Bostonkate?

    Not for nothin but – but he looks like he’s 14.

    Please tell me you don’t teach at the high school level.

    I’m kidding

    I’M KIDDING!!!!!

    From a baseball perspective – the kid seems like the real deal.

     
  • Posts: 0 mary

    They need some youth here these guys look like they just don’t care and want the season over.What is wrong with chase he usually comes up big in the postseason but looks like a guy past his prime.

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Mary, you bet they care! This is their passion, their lives. But this is a “no drama” team –they’ve been through it time and time again. They try to keep their cool in the face of adversity… kinda like Barack!

    However, my heart and my mind say that we’re done. My heart would normally say that we still have a chance of winning it in 7, but I invested too much soul into last night’s game… I’m drained.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Manny…

    MANNY…!!!! (slap slap)

    Get a hold of yourself, man.

    PHILS IN 7!!!!!!!

     
  • Posts: 0 ray

    You guys really think we’re gonna lose this series? Give me a break!!!!!!!!!! We have a flair for the dramatics. Get me to the plate boys!!! Rollins game winning hit off of jonathan broxton. I’m tired of 5 game series wins, we need something more special. Hamels wins game 7 and when does the world series start?

     
  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    We need your karma Manny, we need everyone if we’re going to pull this off. YA GOTTA BELIEVE!

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Eff Game 7 and the World Series for right now. Right now we just have to deal with tonight.

     
  • Roy Halladay: “I know what I have to do”. GoDoc!!!!!

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    When did he say that?

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    What?? what? /slaps himself

    GAME 7 b*tches!!

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    I’ll just try not to invest too many emotions into tonight’s game… last night was just brutal. Mental hernia.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    If they win tonight
    It goes back to philly
    And I dont think Cain will pitch another gem so we have that going for us too.

    Itsstill only 20% chance they win the series
    but its a chance.
    And I like the phils chances down 3-1 more than I like the yankees down 3-2

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Just pretend the Phillies are some other NL team and watch the game for the pure love of baseball. No emotions attached.

    uhhhhh…right.

     
  • Posts: 0 jt

    raul back in the lineup…not happy about that i think francisco is a better choice.

     
  • Posts: 0 jeff of Nova

    Chuck LOL…. not sure that will ever happen here

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    RAUUUUUUUUUUUUL gives me some hope, for whatever reason.

     
  • Posts: 0 bostonkate

    Easier said than done, chuck.

     
  • Posts: 0 SAM

    I heard today on ESPN that Halladay really wanted to pitch in last night’s game. Of course, as we see, brilliant Charlie overruled him. Halladay would have been going up against a rookie mediorce pitcher at best. Had he pitched, there was no way the Giants would get six runs especially when the umpire was calling strikes in Halladays zone. No need to worry about some quirky umpire who made him bring his pitches up to get strikes. With a win last night … could have thrown Blanton in for four innings (that’s all he’s worth) and Hendricks in for another four. If were lucky, Lidge could finish it. Also, if we lost tonight, not the end of the world because we would be going back to Philly. Hey, Halladay could even pitch a game 7 if needed. But, since smart ass Charlie decided against that move, the Giants are now in their stadium with a chance to take the series. Of course, the fans will be fired up, the Giants will be fired up and Lincecum (thier best pitcher) will no doubt be pumped. Because of inept Charlie … it’s now a do or die situation and all the pressure is on Halladay. Halladay will have to be near perfect, if not perfect because they way our offense has been going … he’ll probably get little or no help against Lincecum. If God likes baseball … I hope he’s a Phillies fan because we need a miracle … no thanks to Charlie.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    It’s a damn good thing that SAM is a Charlie Manuel fan.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    Second guessing is to easy.
    Before the game I thought Blanton should have started and I stick by that.
    But if he starts blanton why take him out after 63 pitches?
    The whole thing is keeping it with what got you there. Then he does something he wouldnt have ever done before that. the handling of the pitching staff last night was a complete disgrace top to bottom.
    But hey Lidge and Romero will be fresh tonight. But oswalt took the loss in relief. WTF is that?

    You have to win one game at a time. win tonight then we talk about Saturday and so on.
    One step at a time guys. And I like having the 3 aces all on reg rest.
    Although is Oswalt on reg rest technicaly now?
    Again
    WTF is that about?

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Sometimes these starters can go in for an inning or two if its their scheduled “side day”. I would guess that’s why Oswalt was in. Eff it man, if Roy tells Charlie its his side day and lemme go in for an inning or two, let him go in and throw 30 pitches. Its sure better than giving the ball to Kendrick or Romero. We have problems when the game gets shortened because our pen is not that good. I have no problem with what Charlie did.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 VTphan

    Halladay has proven that he is capable of both perfection and near perfection on a regular basis. He goes into tonight fired by both his last matchup with Lincecum and the ‘do or die’ consequences of tonight’s game. He came to Philly for nights like tonight.

    Last night was emotionally exhausting, but inspiring. Remember early in the season? Win after win? Where did that lead us? A gutting slump. Remember May? June? Much of July? The sick knot in your stomach at the start of each game? Where did that lead us? To here. This team performs better in a pressure cooker – and last night was a reminder that the pressure is building.

    I’m ready for tonight!

     
  • Posts: 0 Phillistein

    Shoulda, woulda, coulda!!!!!!

    Handling of pitchers was a disgrace.

    But…but…..but…Halladay REALLY wanted to pitch.

    Uh…yeah. Somebody should tell Roy that if he had only given up two runs the other day the series would be tied.

    Well, since you guys have what? 100 years of combined managerial experience then I guess you speak the gospel.

    (cue eye rolling).

    Damn you Cholly – YOU made Durbin come in and give up two walks and two doubles. You made Utley bat like he was 5 minutes removed from a colonoscopy. You tackled Vic and kept him from going to 2nd.

    Puhleeze…..

    The beauty of baseball is that we all get to comment. Having said that – some people in here are starting to sound like Mets fans.

    Phillies in 7

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    Oswalt hadnt pitched in relief since 2002.
    Why would you try something new? In a must win game in NLCS.
    Again the reason you start Blanton is go with what got you there. That didnt get us there.

    Moot though. I have a bigger issue with pulling blanton early than using oswalt. Niether made sense.

    It is what it is now. Gotta win tonight.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    Are there still Mets fans?

     
  • Posts: 0 Dan

    Optimism is one thing, but if this team was capable of coming back down 1-3 don’t you think they would have done it in the WS last year?

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    @ Dan
    They had one competant pitcher last year.
    they have 3 this year.

    That they made it to game 6 of the WS last year showed a ton of heart.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    And as far as Charlie goes hes my favorite person probably ever in sports.
    He cant manage a pitching staff very well. He needs Dubee or someone to help him. If Dubee cant then hire someone who can. Like Davey handles all the base running.

     
  • Posts: 0 Phillistein

    Whereas I think he could have made other moves I think Cholly’s handling of the pitching situation was entirely rational. But because they didn’t work out everyone gets to 2nd guess.

    He pitches Halladay on short rest and it means that Oswalt and Hamels would have to start on short rest too. Personally, when I saw Oswalt I was like “Ok cool, he’s probably now going to limit throwing on the sidelines between his starts” Didn’t bother me. Didn’t work out but – didn’t bother me either.

    That’s baseball!!!! Sometimes it just doesn’t work.

    In 1960 the Bronx Bombers outscored the Pirates 55–27 in the Series, outhit them 91–60, outbatted them .338 to .256,….and lost!!!

    Cy Young lost 316 times

    In 2008 The Phillies pitching satff was Cole Hamels and…….and…….and….they won the World Series.

    Sometimes………………………..

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Why would I try something new? There is a reason why starters are starters and relievers are relievers and thats because, by and large, starters are better pitchers. Thats why, in panic time, managers will go to their stud starters to pitch relief. I need three outs… Oswalt or Romero???? Hmmmm…lemme think a sec.

    The Dipsy

     
 
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